Rating: ☆☆☆☆ 1/2
Audience: YA Fantasy
Length: 464 pages
Author: Elizabeth Lim
Publisher: Knopf Books
Release Date: July 6th, 2021
Image & Other Reviews on: Goodreads
A princess in exile, the boy she left at the altar, six enchanted cranes, and a dragon from the deepest sea.
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.
Peniless, 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.
From the author of Spin the Dawn comes a breathtakingly original fantasy inspired by East Asian folklore and perfect for fans of Leigh Bardugo or Tomi Adeyemi.
I looooved this y’all!!!! I think it could easily be my new favorite of Lim’s.
It was extremely well written. I flew through this. And for a fantasy that’s not an easy feat. The writing style is engaging and smooth. I was caught up from the first few chapters because who doesn’t love someone running away from their arranged marriage?
There definitely was a subtle romance that I adored. It was so dang sweet!! Perfectly fit the story and didn’t feel forced. The progression matched the expectations and I can’t wait to see it blossom in the next book.
While there is a little romance, the bigger focus is on the sibling relationship of Shiori and all of her brothers. I liked the approach to their dynamics and how the fought and loved well. There was incorporation of many fairytales that I can recognize the tiny additions. It was neat to look up the many different ones and see how they were used.
I love the complicated morally gray step-mother. What started off as an obvious evil step-mother plot became much more nuanced and layered. She played a much bigger roll than I initially thought. It’s always great having a villain who gives is as complex as the rest of the cast.
Overall audience notes:
- YA Fantasy
- Language: none
- Romance: almost kisses
- Violence: physical altercations, magical weaponry, poison, curses, loss of loved ones