My rating: 4 of 5 stars
I suppose it must be said that the mysterious origins of the Nameless Queen in Six Crimson Cranes and The Dragon's Promise was intriguing enough that I requested Her Radiant Curse when I saw it on NetGalley, even though I've been telling myself to stop picking up ARCs when I have no time to write reviews.
Here is the story of the two sisters, one beautiful and one hideous, and how their very existence changed the world. It is, thankfully, not one of sibling rivalry and resentment because of the disparity of how they're treated, but one where the two sisters love each other so much that they would give up their own lives for the other.
It is a story that deals a lot with the idea of beauty - how one is treated because of how they look, the expectations and burdens of both beauty and ugliness. Whilst the focus is on Channi as the protagonist, it is also about Vanna and how the beautiful sister has to always act in acceptable ways because everyone expects it of her. It brings to mind Isabela Madrigal from Encanto.
There are beautiful and touching moments in Her Radiant Curse and I think that the relationships in the book are the core of what kept me reading, from Channi and Vanna's special bond, to Channi's close friendship with Ukar and her tumultuous alliance (frenemyship? lol) with Hokzuh. Unfortunately, for it being written in first person from Channi's POV, I did not really like Channi very much at all - which, I suppose, is the reason for this rather detached review.
I will have to say the ending was great though.
Note: I received a digital ARC of this book from Hodder & Stoughton via NetGalley. Opinions expressed in this review are completely my own.
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