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!
Abuse (various different types throughout the novel), bullying, burns, poisoning, kidnapping.
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 NetGalley 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.
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 review 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.
The overall story is wonderful, and the magic 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 review 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!
Over to you
Thanks for taking the time to check out my review for Six Crimson Cranes by Elizabeth Lim! Six Crimson Cranes is out next week on the 8th of July 2021!
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