Hello friends!! Today’s post is a very special one, at least for me, I’m bringing to you my blog tour stop of Six Crimson Cranes by Elizabeth Lim which was one of my most anticipated releases of this year, and it definitely did live up to my expectations! It comes out tomorrow (6th July) so I hope you’re excited! Thank you to TBR and Beyond Tours for organising the blog tour as well as selecting me to participate, you can click the tour banner below to view the schedule and follow along!
SIX CRIMSON CRANES by Elizabeth Lim
Genre(s): Fantasy | Age: YA
Series: Six Crimson Cranes #1
Published: 6 June 2021 | Read: 9 june 2021
No. of Pages: 464
Shiori, the only princess of Kiata, has a secret. Forbidden magic runs through her veins. Normally she conceals it well, but on the morning of her betrothal ceremony, Shiori loses control. At first, her mistake seems like a stroke of luck, forestalling the wedding she never wanted, but it also catches the attention of Raikama, her stepmother.
Raikama has dark magic of her own, and she banishes the young princess, turning her brothers into cranes, and warning Shiori that she must speak of it to no one: for with every word that escapes her lips, one of her brothers will die.
Penniless, voiceless, and alone, Shiori searches for her brothers, and, on her journey, uncovers a conspiracy to overtake the throne—a conspiracy more twisted and deceitful, more cunning and complex, than even Raikama’s betrayal. Only Shiori can set the kingdom to rights, but to do so she must place her trust in the very boy she fought so hard not to marry. And she must embrace the magic she’s been taught all her life to contain—no matter what it costs her.
Click here to view Trigger Warnings ↴Death, Demons, Abuse/Punishment, Burns, Kidnapping/Confinement
Thank you to Hodder and Stoughton and Netgalley for an ARC of Six Crimson Cranes in exchange for a sincere review, as well as TBR and Beyond Tours for organising the blog tour and interview.
MINI REVIEWSix Crimson Cranes was such an enchanting story, filled with magic, family and hope that truly brought a smile to my face. The first of a new YA fantasy duology by Elizabeth Lim, it follows Shiori, the only princess of Kiata, a Chinese and Japanese inspired world, among her six brothers, a cheery young woman, however with a strong aversion to her betrothed, so much that on the day of her betrothal ceremony, she loses control of forbidden magic she has, causing her and her brothers to be cursed. Shiori is banished, and warned not to utter a word, or one of her six brothers who had been turned into cranes would die. As she journeys to break the curse, she then uncovers and even greater conspiracy to take back power. dramatic music plays
I’ve only read one other of Lim’s novels: Spin the Dawn which is pitched as “Project Runway meets Mulan”. However, between Spin the Dawn and Six Crimson Cranes I could draw so many similarities, and one of them being how the main character is crafted, something which Lim greatly excels and has my respect for.
Ironic, wasn’t it, that I—a girl who always wanted to make her own choice—now for nothing more than to surrender to fate?
Similar to Maia from Spin the Dawn, Shiori is an innocent girl, with no exposure to the vices of the world. Being the only daughter with six elder brothers, she starts off rather childish, misbehaving and ruining plans of the kingdom with regards to the arranged marriage as an alliance. She is quite impulsive at times, but in her you could see her love for her brothers especially radiate.That pure love for her family was one of the reasons why Shiori’s character arc was so resonant. With the curse of her brothers turning into cranes, her vow of silence, a bowl concealing her face and many other obstacles thrown in her path, it is easy to see how someone as self-centred at first as Shiori would give up easily. And yet she doesn’t. She constantly reminds herself of her family, and lets that motivate her, as well as ingrain in her that notion of always choosing hope even in the dark. Through the span of Six Crimson Cranes, Shiori grows into such an empathetic, reflective and loving young woman and her journey was fleshed out with so much emotion and heart.
Apart from establishing this complex, ever-growing main character that is Shiori, Elizabeth Lim also throws in many more delightful characters (of which many have caused my heart to go wild). Kiki, the paper bird was a great source of both wisdom and dry humour, as well as grounding and redmining Shiori of her purpose. Shiori’s brothers with their differing personalities yet tight-knitted spirit and love for their sister, reminded me of why we need more of this familial love in YA books (though I was terrified for their survival throughout the book, ugh feelings). Takkan, was quite the subversion of expectations and I loved the gentle, hopeful nature he brought to Six Crimson Cranes, as well as his contribution to the spin on the ‘arranged marriage” trope. And oh Seryu, how could I not grow fond of him? One of the most striking elements of Six Crimson Cranes for me would be the retelling aspect. Six Crimson Cranes draws inspiration from the German fairytale: The Wild Swans, whereby a young woman must sew six shirts from a painful nettle plant in order to save her brothers from a curse. Six Crimson Cranes managed to twist that fairytale beautifully into its storyline, and weave it into something even more dramatic, grandiose and just an epic subversion of expectations. Through her lyrical, lilting prose, Elizabeth Lim paces the story extremely well, something that I thought was a vast improvement from that of Spin the Dawn. Though there were definitely some parts that were a tad bit too coincidental or lucky to believe, I felt that the storyline which was packed with magic, dragons, curses and quests, as well as several myths, some of which I find familiar and would guess at them being Chinese inspired, was incredible!
We were seven, and seven was a number of strength. An uneven number that could not fold unto itself, large enough to withstand many threats, yet small enough to stay devoted.
Overall, Six Crimson Cranes was such a heartfelt tale of cranes, of curses, and also of family and of hope! Would definitely recommend this YA fantastical retelling by Elizabeth Lim that comes out tomorrow!
Find the light that makes you lantern shine.
rating // ★★★★
Six Crimson Cranes is one of my (and I’m sure many others’) most anticipated releases for this year! What inspired Six Crimson Cranes and how was the journey writing it?
Thank you! Six Crimson Cranes was inspired by the Hans Christian Andersen fairytale, The Wild Swans, which has always been one of my favorites. I haven’t seen too many retellings of it, and I knew after I wrote Spin the Dawn that I wanted to work on another fairytale reimagining – based on The Wild Swans! The journey writing it has been a whirlwind. I actually started off by writing a prequel about Shiori’s stepmother before delving into Shiori’s story, which really helped flesh out her character, but once I started writing SCC, I couldn’t stop. Shiori is such a bold and strong character that she really flew off the pages at most times, and that helped me tackle most of the plotting challenges I faced while working on the book.
What has been your favourite part about writing Six Crimson Cranes? Do you have any scenes or quotes that’s special to you?There’s a scene toward the end of the book where Shiori goes to the Winter Festival and comes this close to revealing her true identity to the love interest (but can’t because she’s taken a vow of silence). It’s a beautiful scene, and full of tension and drama, and I love it! There’s also lots of lanterns in the scene, which harken to one of my favorite quotes in the book: “Find the light that makes your lantern shine.”
Shiori, Kiki, Takkan, Seryu, the brothers were all wonderful to read about and all have a place in my heart, and I’m eager for more of them before book 2! What would be more of their favourite foods, apart from Shiori’s incredible soup?
Hah! Shiori’s soup is inspired by a fish soup my grandmother used to make for me when I was a kid. Some of their other favorite dishes? Hmm…I’d say lots of braised beancurd, roasted sweet potatoes, red-braised pork stew, and skewered grilled meats with peanut sauce! Now I’m hungry!
What are some of your favourite books?
This is such a tough question! I’d probably fill the page with favorites, so I’ll go with a couple reads that I’ve really enjoyed recently. I loved Circe by Madeleine Miller, Gods of Jade and Shadow by Silvia Moreno-Garcia, and I’m almost done with reading Legendborn by Tracy Deonn and am loving it!
For me, Six Crimson Cranes was a beautiful story filled with family, adventure and hope. What do you hope readers get out of the story?
Honestly, I hope readers just find an escape through Shiori’s story. I didn’t intend any deep messages or lessons through the book, though Shiori does go through quite a journey that makes her character mature. My greatest hope would be that readers add the book to their shelf of favorite fantasies and read it again and again!
Lastly, share with us how you would describe your book’s aesthetic or plot line in emojis! (drawing inspiration from many bloggers who have included this question in their interviews hehe)
ABOUT THE AUTHOR
Elizabeth Lim is the author of the critically-acclaimed and bestselling The Blood of Stars duology (Spin the Dawn and Unravel the Dusk), the New York Times bestseller So This is Love, and the USA Today bestseller Reflection. Forthcoming books include the Six Crimson Cranes duology, expected summer 2021 and summer 2022, respectively.
Elizabeth grew up on a hearty staple of fairy tales, myths, and songs. Her passion for storytelling began around age 10, when she started writing fanfics for Sailor Moon, Sweet Valley, and Star Wars, and posted them online to discover, “Wow, people actually read my stuff. And that’s kinda cool!” But after one of her teachers told her she had “too much voice” in her essays, Elizabeth took a break from creative writing to focus on not flunking English. Over the years, Elizabeth became a film and video game composer, and even went so far as to get a doctorate in music composition. But she always missed writing, and she turned to penning stories when she needed a breather from grad school. One day, she decided to write and finish a novel—for kicks, at first, then things became serious—and she hasn’t looked back since.
Elizabeth graduated from Harvard College with an A.B. in music and a secondary in East Asian Studies, and she completed her graduate degrees (MM, DMA) at The Juilliard School. She grew up in Northern California and Tokyo, Japan, and now resides in New York with her husband and two daughters.