My rating: 4 of 5 stars
I originally picked this book up because I saw it at Hin Market and remembered that everyone had been raving about it. I think it was all that raving that made me expect a little too much of it. At any rate, I will also put a disclaimer that I also read this while sick, so may be a little more irate than usual.
Here's my first impression:
COVID read #1: Six Crimson Cranes - 4/5 stars. I liked it, but I don't think it was worth how much it's been hyped up, prob because it has been overhyped. I think it was also jarring to have this lush Chinese setting and going but wait, I read this tale in a different mythology— Anna Tan (@natzers) June 25, 2022
Six Crimson Cranes is an East Asian (I have been told that the names are more Japanese than Chinese, so idk, East Asian it shall be) retelling of an old European fairy tale--the plot seems closer to the German The Six Swans than what originally pinged my radar (the Irish Children of Lir), but if anyone's counting, it's definitely of that typology. Evil stepmother turns Shiori's six brothers into birds (cranes in this case) and curses Shiori and casts her out of the castle. The curse is two-fold. First, there's a magical bowl on her head so that no one can recognise who she is and second, if she talks or makes any sounds, her brothers will die.
Lim adds dragons and demons into this magical fairytale - not only is magic outlawed in Kiata, it's entirely gone because Shiori's ancestors sealed it into the holy mountain in order to bind the demons, guarded by priestesses. Except...Shiori has magic. And so does her stepmother. So. Holy war it is.
Six Crimson Cranes is Shiori's coming of age story, of how she changes from being pretty much a spoilt princess into someone of strength and honour through the hardships of her curse. It's also a love story, where she falls in love with the very place (and person) she once declared barbaric. She learns to look beyond outward appearances, to read unspoken words, to give second chances, and most of all, to put her people above herself as a true princess of the land.
It's overall an entertaining read, though I wouldn't rave about it. As you can tell, it hasn't made a big enough impression on me to actually...remember enough to write an in-depth review.
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