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A spellbinding read

Dive into a world of curses, dragons and enchantment in this captivating young adult fantasy series.

Immerse yourself in the world of a princess in exile, her six enchanted companions, and a curse too dire to utter. In this stunning and immersive young adult fantasy, which unfolds in a richly East-Asian inspired universe, Elizabeth Lim weaves a spellbinding narrative that will transport you to a realm unlike any other.

Drawing inspiration from the timeless Grimm Brothers’ The Six Swans, Elizabeth’s Six Crimson Cranes is an enchanting duology that will enthral you with its tale of arranged marriages, mythical dragons and the relentless pursuit of breaking curses.


Six Crimson Cranes

The moment I read the first sentence, I was spellbound. Every page of this captivating title beckons you to read further.

The story begins with the protagonist Shiori’anma (Shiori), who is the only princess of a land called Kiata, trapped in an unwanted arranged marriage.

As the youngest among her six brothers, she radiates carefree joy and unyielding determination.

Yet, beneath her spirited exterior lies a closely guarded secret. Shiori possesses a forbidden magic, one she usually conceals with meticulous precision.

In the beginning of the narrative, Shiori accidentally befriends a small dragon (Seryu) after she attempts to rescue her magically-created paper bird (Kiki) from the Sacred Lake. Seryu knows Shiori is magical and agrees to teach her ways to nurture it.

However, on the morning of her impending betrothal ceremony, the reins on her powers slip.

Initially, Shiori finds solace in the belief that her accidental display has postponed her arranged marriage. But it doesn’t take long for her to grasp the irrevocable transformation her world has undergone.

Exposing her powers to everyone, she escapes the marriage she despises and unwittingly makes a formidable enemy of her own stepmother.

Banished and forced to eke out a meagre existence as a beggar on the unforgiving streets, Shiori must keep her magic concealed at all costs. Her stepmother’s curse has turned her brothers into cranes, their lives hanging in the balance.

Her only hope lies in reclaiming her kingdom and defeating her malevolent stepmother. But her journey is far from over. A deathbed promise gifts her a precious dragon’s pearl, setting her on a path filled with unimaginable adventures.

Along the way, she encounters unexpected allies, embraces her own magical potential, travels a realm inhabited by majestic dragons and even discovers a star-crossed love.


Author’s writing style

Elizabeth’s writing exhibits a unique blend of simplicity and breath-taking intricacy and her deep affection for fairy tales radiates throughout her work, giving a smooth, reader-friendly rhythm that imparts just the right amount of detail.

In Six Crimson Cranes, Elizabeth adeptly balances complexity with accessibility, a hallmark of all beloved fairy tales. This particular style grants her the freedom to seamlessly interweave magic and mythology without the need for exhaustive explanations.

The absence of stringent rules in this fairy tale reinforces the whimsical essence of the magic, enabling readers to fully immerse themselves in the tale and wholeheartedly invest in its unfolding plot.

The brisk tempo of draws inspiration from timeless fairy tales, seamlessly harmonising with the novel’s expansive narrative. Rather than meticulously tracing Shiori’s every journey, the narrative frequently employs swift time jumps, resulting in a relentless narrative momentum.

This approach ensures that the story remains free of any unnecessary detours, delivering all the pivotal moments in a thrilling, pulse-pounding fashion that makes it utterly “unputdownable”.

I highly recommend Six Crimson Cranes solely for the emotions it evokes when you read through it.

The author’s writing has an enchanting quality that draws you in effortlessly, and Shiori’s journey is filled with numerous unexpected twists and captivating moments to keep you thoroughly engaged.

What’s more is that I find each character will make its way to into a special place in your heart as they navigate the enchanting, East-Asian-inspired world meticulously crafted by Elizabeth Lim.

I’m currently in the middle of finishing the second book in the duology, The Dragon’s Promise, and it is most certainly as enthralling as the first one. – Izah Azahari

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