Six Crimson Cranes Review

November 14, 2021

Six Crimson Cranes by Elizabeth Lim is the epic result of H.C. Andersen’s Wild Swans mixed with Asian mythology. The story packs quite a few genres and everything from fantasy and romance to mythology and action. It’s not the first time we’re following a stubborn rebel princess, but it might be the first time she can’t throw around sassy comments. 

It’s no secret that I love mythology. Greek, Nordic, Asian – I crave it all. A book just gets a bit more depth when there is a touch of ancient culture involved. In Six Crimson Cranes, we follow Shiori, a princess whos only wish is to keep exploring the world with her six older brothers. Unfortunately, they are all growing up and Shiori is promised to a prominent man from a neighbour region. A near-death experience (and an encounter with a dragon) sends Shiori and her brothers on a journey full of magic and strange encounters. The big twist? The siblings are cursed by their cold and mysterious stepmother. The princes, now soaring the sky as cranes have to reunite with Shiori – who must stay silent for her brothers to stay alive. It’s all quite a chaotic mess!

The characters are quite loveable. You can feel a strong bond between the royal siblings very clearly. It makes you root for them but it also becomes extra annoying when they make bad decisions. The “bad guys” (make of that what you will) are also interesting and far from your typical villains. It really seems like there are multiple layers in everyone! On top of this, magical creatures make their appearances, influencing both the weather and Shiori’s success along the way.

The romance is also exactly how I prefer it. It sneaks up on you a little at a time throughout the story instead of overshadowing everything. Fantasy books often get smothered by angst (hello Clare and Maas) so this is a big plus for me. The heroine isn’t too proud to get help but doesn’t depend on a swoon-worthy guy to reach her goal. A+ to Elizabeth Lim for choosing independence and strength.

While everything sounds lovely so far, there are a few hiccups. The book has some nice plot twists but unfortunately they are hinted at quite early and aren’t very surprising. The story also has an uneven pace. Sometimes we get actionpacked scenes followed by a long stretch of Shiori’s everyday life. It makes the flow seem a bit off – and creates a  repetitive pattern in many scenes.

I don’t want to spoil too much of the magic for you but I will end this review on a positive note. Shiori possess magic, which is unheard of in her country. However, she doesn’t just master it overnight. In fact, she doesn’t understand it, have no one to teach her and tries her best to hide it. I really like that there is a long learning curve for Shiori instead of the 2 minutes until perfection effect (what’s up Percy Jackson?).

I’m looking very much forward to seeing how this duology ends in book two, The Dragon’s Promise. I hope a publication date of “2022” means spring rather than winter. Either way, it’s going to be a long, long wait!

Page count: 454
Goodreads rating: 4.3/5


Have you read this book? Let me know how you felt about it and what your rating would be. Remember, you can always find me on these social media below for a bookish chat:

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