Book Review: Six Crimson Cranes by Elizabeth Lim

The bottom of the lake tasted like mud, salt, and regret. The water was so thick it was agony keeping my eyes open, but thank the great gods I did. Otherwise, I would have missed the dragon.


A princess in exile, a shapeshifting dragon, six enchanted cranes, and an unspeakable curse… Drawing from ‘The Wild Swans’ and East Asian folklore, this breathtakingly original fantasy from the author of Spin the Dawn is perfect for fans of Leigh Bardugo or Tomi Adeyemi.

Shiori’anma, 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.

A sorceress in her own right, Raikama banishes the young princess, turning her brothers into cranes. She warns 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 forswear–no matter what the cost.

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I wasn’t listening to Kiki’s warning. Fear is just a game, I repeated to myself, over and over. You win by playing.

My Thoughts

I loved every page of this heartwarming tale. Six Crimson Cranes is a reminder of the power of family love and the whims of magic. I cannot wait to get my hands on book two.

Six Crimson Cranes feels familiar, pulling from common fairy tale tropes such as an evil stepmother, curses, and dragons, but at the same time is sometimes new. Some might find the plot predictable, but that doesn’t take away from how fun this story is. From Shiori’s complex relationship with her stepmother, and the enchanting magic system, to the DRAGONS there is so much to enjoy. Lim’s world-building is one of a kind and is easily one of my favorite things about Six Crimson Cranes. I couldn’t help but feel as if I was reading a Ghibli film.

My only complaint about this book is one of the most likable characters, Seryu, gets the least amount of time in the book. I spent many pages awaiting for him to return because I wanted more details of this budding love triangle. I hope it is fully explored in book two.

Should You Read Six Crimson Cranes?

YES! I loved this book so much, I know my review does not do it justice. Six Crimson Cranes is a magically fun YA you need to add to your collection as soon as possible.

Have you read Six Crimson Cranes? Do you want to?

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