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.
*this review is spoiler free
I’ve been wanting to read this book ever since I saw and fell in love with that gorgeous cover. Both the US and UK covers are simply exquisite (cover artists are Tran Nguyen and Kelly Chong respectively).
When I started reading this, I had one wish: that the story was pretty as the book covers. And I was right, for I really loved reading this book.
Six Crimson Cranes follows sixteen-year-old Shiori after she is cursed and cast out of her home by her stepmother Raikama. She wakes up in the middle of nowhere with no money and unable so speak, for every word she says means one of her brothers will die. Anyone else would’ve given up but Shiori makes the best out of almost nothing and quickly adapts. She has a lot of character development; you can really see how she grows from a spoilt, naive princess to the clever, brave, resourceful person she is at the end of the story.
I was not familiar with The Wild Swans, the fairytale this book was based on, so I had no idea where the fast-paced plot would take me. The story was effortlessly magical. There are talking dragons who sometimes take a human shape (I have a a soft spot for slightly flirty, mischievous people and Seryu was such a perfect character), demons, a lovely slowburn romance and a delightful origami bird sidekick that is alive.
A few things I wished were done better: all of the brothers seemed interchangeable with each other, and I kept forgetting their names (perhaps that’s on me). The book throws in several plot twists in the last quarter but I can’t stop feeling that the last few chapters were rushed. However it neatly ties up all the plot points and sets the story up for a sequel that I am very excited to read!
My rating: ★★★★✩ (4 stars)
I have an announcement! My second blogiversary is coming up next month and I decided to do a special Q & A post! Drop any and all questions you have for me in the comments. If you wish to remain anonymous, drop your questions on this Google form!