Book Review

Book Review: Six Crimson Cranes (Six Crimson Cranes #1) by Elizabeth Lim

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

BOOK SUMMARY:

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.

STUNNING.

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

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Book Review

Book Review: Unravel the Dusk (The Blood of the Stars #2) by Elizabeth Lim

Rating: ☆☆☆ 1/2
Audience: YA Fantasy
Length: 368 pages
Author: Elizabeth Lim
Publisher: Knopf
Release Date: July 7th, 2020
Image & Other Reviews on: Goodreads

BOOK SUMMARY:

The thrilling sequel to SPIN THE DAWN, a magical series steeped in Chinese culture.

Maia Tamarin’s journey to sew the dresses of the sun, the moon and the stars has taken a grievous toll. She returns to a kingdom on the brink of war. The boy she loves is gone, and she is forced to don the dress of the sun and assume the place of the emperor’s bride-to-be to keep the peace.

But the war raging around Maia is nothing compared to the battle within. Ever since she was touched by the demon Bandur, she has been changing . . . glancing in the mirror to see her own eyes glowing red, losing control of her magic, her body, her mind. It’s only a matter of time before Maia loses herself completely, but she will stop at nothing to find Edan, protect her family, and bring lasting peace to her country.

YA fantasy readers will love the sizzling forbidden romance, mystery, and intrigue of UNRAVEL THE DUSK.

MISSING.

*sigh*

A second book that didn’t have the same flare as the first.

*deeper sigh*

First off, WHERE WAS EDAN? Practically all aspects of his character were taken out here. He occasionally stopped by to confess his love and give Maia a kiss, and that was about it. I really would have loved more of him.

The demon aspects were kind of creepy and kinda cool. I can’t remember reading a YA fantasy that really had a character dive into the realm of demons and almost become on themselves. The lore of it all was interesting and kept me reading when I struggled to pick it up.

Speed and writing were great. It’s a short book and things kept moving. I liked the pace, but lost the overall emotional connection. This was definitely a different and darker stroke from Spin the Dawn. The ending wasn’t anything I didn’t see coming.

Overall audience notes:

  • Young adult fantasy
  • Language: none
  • Romance: kisses; a closed door scene with on detail
  • Violence: physical, animal attacks, weapons, depictions of war/battles

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Book Review

Book Review: Spin the Dawn (The Blood of the Stars #1) by Elizabeth Lim

Rating: ☆☆☆☆ 1/2
Audience: YA fantasy + romance
Length: 392 pages
Author: Elizabeth Lim
Publisher: Knopf Books for Young Readers
Release Date: July 9th, 2019
Image & Other Reviews on: Goodreads

BOOK SUMMARY:

Project Runway meets Mulan in this sweeping YA fantasy about a young girl who poses as a boy to compete for the role of imperial tailor and embarks on an impossible journey to sew three magic dresses, from the sun, the moon, and the stars.

Maia Tamarin dreams of becoming the greatest tailor in the land, but as a girl, the best she can hope for is to marry well. When a royal messenger summons her ailing father, once a tailor of renown, to court, Maia poses as a boy and takes his place. She knows her life is forfeit if her secret is discovered, but she’ll take that risk to achieve her dream and save her family from ruin. There’s just one catch: Maia is one of twelve tailors vying for the job.

Backstabbing and lies run rampant as the tailors compete in challenges to prove their artistry and skill. Maia’s task is further complicated when she draws the attention of the court magician, Edan, whose piercing eyes seem to see straight through her disguise.

And nothing could have prepared her for the final challenge: to sew three magic gowns for the emperor’s reluctant bride-to-be, from the laughter of the sun, the tears of the moon, and the blood of stars. With this impossible task before her, she embarks on a journey to the far reaches of the kingdom, seeking the sun, the moon, and the stars, and finding more than she ever could have imagined.

Steeped in Chinese culture, sizzling with forbidden romance, and shimmering with magic, this young adult fantasy is pitch-perfect for fans of Sarah J. Maas or Renée Ahdieh.

THE MASH-UP I DIDN’T KNOW I NEEDED.

Ohhhhh I’m so happy I picked up this debut! Mulan? Project Runway? TOGETHER?

IT WORKED SO WELL. I got all of the Mulan vibes (my favorite Disney movie, by the way) from Maia’s actions and decisions. Then add in the competition to be the best tailor where there were even unconventional materials challenges?! Yessssss. The vibes this book gave off alone gave it a star. This was exactly what the synopsis gave me.

Maia and Edan were absolutely precious too. I had seen on multiple reviews that the banter is on point, and I’m here to put my vote in that THEY’RE RIGHT. It’s witty, sassy, and so stinkin’ cute. I really liked the way their relationship developed. I was surprised by a few bits of information about Edan that reminded me of other books and I was cool with it. I liked those additions and thought it gave another layer to who Edan is.

The adventure that these two went on was magical and enchanting. I was surprised that this was able to take only one book. I think it could have expanded into more if it wanted and still been captivating. Since this plot kind of wrapped up I’m curious where the next story will take us.

This is one of those typical YA fantasy books that WORKS. It’s why I love and read the genre regularly. The writing is delightful, the romance is on point, and the story is full of magic. I loved the world-building and the way the magic is set-up. Maia is such an easy character to love. I appreciate her loyalty to her family and how everything circles back to them. She’s brave, but also able to accept help. I can’t wait to see what she does next.

Overall audience notes:

  • Young adult fantasy
  • Language: none
  • Romance: some kisses, make-outs, one or two fade to black, barely any detail love scenes
  • Violence: magic, fire, physical, arrows

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