Review: Six Crimson Cranes

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.

My first read of 2023! And my first review of the year!

Six Crimson Cranes has been on my TBR for sometime now and has made it onto both my Winter TBR in 2021 and my Spring TBR in 2022; it also made it onto my 5 Books I Meant to Read in 2022 list. It was definitely worth the wait!

I thought I was going to enjoy this book, but I did not realise how much I was going to love it. I am the type of reading that goes into a novel with very little information. I read the synopsis when I bought it nearly two years ago, but since then I had completely forgotten about the concept of the novel.

The novel follows Shiori who the princess of Kiata. Shiori has magic running through her veins, however in her kingdom, magic has long been forbidden. The story opens with Shiori on her way to her betrothal ceremony when her magical paper crane Kiki flies off into the lake. Shiori dives off after her and Shiori is close to death when Seryu gives him a piece of his dragon peal and saves her. Shiori is overcome by wonderment at coming face to face with a dragon, and is desperate for somebody to believe her. She begins meeting with Seryu and strengthening her magic, but this catches the attention of her stepmother. A series of events leads to her stepmother Raikama, placing a curse on Shiori and her brothers. Her brothers are turned into Cranes and Shiori has a walnut bowl placed on her head that dulls the use of her magic. Shiori is also unable to utter a single word – for every word she utters, a brother will die.

There is an undeniable bond between Shiori and her brothers. Each of them were willing to sacrifice for the other and it was great to read about royal siblings who weren’t competing to take the throne, but were rather working together in order to break their curse. Throughout the novel, it never falters and they draw on each others strength to keep going, and to keep fighting.

As part of the quest to break the curse, Shiori ends up in the northern regions of Kiata. She actually ends up working in her former betrothed’s, Takkan’s, palace. Takkan was one of the sweetest characters in the novel. The two of them originally meet, because Takkan has taken it upon himself to search for the missing Princes and Princess, but because of the walnut bowl upon Shiori’s head, he could not recognise her for the princess that she was. The two of them grow close and it was such a sweet slow burn romance, that could also count as a sort of second-chance romance too!

I was not expecting dragons. And maybe I should have when I already own the second novel The Dragon’s Promise – it should have been a huge giveaway to expect dragons in this novel, but alas I did not. I really enjoyed the dragon aspect, and I am really looking forward to learning more about the dragons and the dragon’s world in the sequel.

Speaking of the sequel, the ending to this story was the most jaw dropping ending. It has been so long since I read the ending to a novel and could not lift my jaw off of the floor. It was remarkable! I don’t want to give it all away, but the ending has made me instantly reach for the second novel and I truly cannot wait to read this one as well!

This novel to me just proves that sometimes the cover buys are really worth it!!

Have you read this novel? What did you think of it?

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