Book Review: Six Crimson Cranes by Elizabeth Lim
Six Crimson Cranes by Elizabeth Lim
Series Number: 1
Published: 8th July 2021
Page Count: 464
Shiori'anma, the only princess of Kiata, has a secret. Forbidden runs in her veins. And 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. A sorceress in her own right, Raikama 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 uncovers a dark conspiracy to seize the throne. Only Shiori can set the kingdom to rights, but to do so she must place her trust in a paper bird, a mercurial dragon, and 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.
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Some books are as magical as their covers and Six Crimson Cranes is the perfect example of one such book. Read on to find out what I thought about Elizabeth Lim’s new book set in the same universe as her The Blood of Stars duology. Six Crimson Cranes is out next week on the 8th of July 2021!

This book was provided for free by NetGalley in exchange for an honest review. Many thanks to and Hodder & Stoughton for the opportunity to this book.

Trigger Warnings

Abuse (various different types throughout the novel), bullying, burns, poisoning, kidnapping.


First Impressions

Although this is another book that has a stunning cover (beyond stunning, to be honest) I actually didn’t originally find it by its cover. Six Crimson Cranes first came to my attention On Twitter where it was being offered by a publisher and unfortunately I was outside the country being offered. I was very much interested in the premise though and popped it on my TBR, so when it came up on I had that moment of deja vu and low and behold, yep it was the same book 🙂

Forbidden magic, exiled character, politics, and a journey to save the throne? My find of fantasy! I also love mythology and I’m interested in reading more books with Asian influences too.

Book Review: Six Crimson Cranes by Elizabeth Lim


Six Crimson Cranes is “a reimagining of Hans Christian Andersen’s ‘The Wild Swans’ (a translation is available here) blended with East Asian folktale and legend” explains Lim. I’ve seen Six Crimson Cranes referred to as a retelling of a Grimm fairy tale (and Waterstones actually has it listed as that) so I wanted to start this off with the correct information in that regard.

I went into this novel with no previous knowledge of ‘The Wild Swans’ fairytale or Lim’s previous duology. Six Crimson Cranes is set in the same universe as The Blood of Stars duology, and I can confirm that not having read that duology did not impact my reading of this novel at all. Maybe I would have recognised a few things, names or places if I had, but I certainly didn’t feel like anything was missing, let’s put it that way. I purposefully didn’t read the fairytale because I prefer not to know what is going to happen in a story, and when you know the fairytale that gives you a pretty good idea of what is going to happen i.e. in a Sleeping Beauty reimagining the princess will inevitably fall asleep at some point or Red Riding Hood will find herself meeting a wolf. If things like that didn’t happen then they wouldn’t really be fairytale reimaginings after all; they’d be original stories.

Six Crimson Cranes was a beautiful story filled with evocative language and Lim uses food as a tool to connect people and memories, especially regarding family, throughout the novel. Food is its own language, and when princess Shiori is unable to speak it becomes a way for her to express herself and take back some control when she’s banished and alone. It features in so many scenes and is used to bring people together, to make them happy and also to hurt them. I’ve read essays by other people about the language and importance of food in fiction (Lord of the Rings by J.R.R. Tolkien and The Famous Five by Enid Blyton are two that I recall being mentioned) but this is the first time I have seen it represented so vividly for myself.

Book Review: Six Crimson Cranes by Elizabeth Lim - My book review for Six Crimson Cranes by Elizabeth Lim, a new fantasy book about an exiled princess with forbidden magic.


The overall story is wonderful, and the system is beautiful with delightful twists as the story unfolds. Unfortunately, like Girl, Serpent, Thorn by Melissa Bashardoust I found the story a little predictable and that is a bit of a turn off for me. I also came out of Six Crimson Cranes feeling a little deflated, and I’m still finding it hard to put my finger on why exactly that is. Even writing this I struggled to put down on paper what I actually thought about this one. This book was magical, it was fun and lovely but it didn’t grab me by the heart and make me fall in love with it. This one just didn’t quite do it for me, however, I will definitely be checking out the second book as I’m intrigued to see how Shiori’s story continues!

Elizabeth Lim
Meet the Author

Elizabeth Lim

Elizabeth Lim 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 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 loves classic film scores, books with a good romance, food (she currently has a soft spot for arepas and Ethiopian food), the color turquoise, overcast skies, English muffins, cycling, and baking. She lives in New York City with her husband.

You can find out more about her work over at her website. You can browse her books on Goodreads. Or connect with her on social media; she’s on Twitter, Instagram and Facebook!

Books by Elizabeth Lim

Interested in more books by Elizabeth Lim? Check out a selection of titles in my store.

Over to you

Thanks for taking the time to check out my for Six Crimson Cranes by Elizabeth Lim! Six Crimson Cranes is out next week on the 8th of July 2021!

Have you read any of Elizabeth Lim’s books?

Do you like the sound of Six Crimson Cranes?

I’d love to hear your thoughts in the comments <3

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    1. Author

      I know, right?! I am so in love with it. This is the UK version, but the US one is so beautiful as well!

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