Friday Friyay: 'Six Crimson Cranes' by Elizabeth Lim
Shiori'anma, 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.
A sorceress in her own right, Raikama banishes the young princess, turning her brothers into cranes. She warns Shiori that she must speak of it to no one: for with every word that escapes her lips, one of her brothers will die.
Penniless, voiceless, and alone, Shiori searches for her brothers, and uncovers a dark conspiracy to seize the throne. Only Shiori can set the kingdom to rights, but to do so she must place her trust in a paper bird, a mercurial dragon, and the very boy she fought so hard not to marry. And she must embrace the magic she's been taught all her life to forswear--no matter what the cost.
Weaving together elements of The Wild Swans, Cinderella, the legend of Chang E, and the Tale of the Bamboo Cutter, Elizabeth Lim has crafted a fantasy like no other, and one that will stay with readers long after they've turned the last page.
Book Beginnings is at home on Rose City Reader, hosted by Gilion Dumas, and Friday 56 at Freda's Voice, hosted by Freda. I'll also be joining the Book Blog Hop, hosted by Billy over at Ramblings of a Coffee Addicted Writer.BB:
'The bottom of the lake tasted like mud, salt, and regret. The water was so thick it was agony to keep my eyes open, but thank the great gods I did. Otherwise, I would have missed the dragon.' p.1
I mean, give me everything right in the first line! Gods, DRAGONS, someone somehow at the bottom of a lake. I'm so excited to read this book, it just hits all the spots straightaway.F56:
'Nervously, I placed the scraps of paper on my lap, four in total. All my enchantments since Kiki had been short-lived.' p.56
Yesssss, magic and enchantments! Also, I love that Lim combines her magic with, what strikes me as, origami. Bringing together different cultural influences is always a bonus, since this is a Japanese adaptation of 'The Six Swans' fairytale from Germany, collected by the Brothers Grimm.
This week's question was suggested by the lovely Julie at Jade Sky/Stepping Stones Book Reviews:
Have you ever gotten a book signed by the author?
Yes, but only ever in person, as in, I've never ordered a signed copy online. Usually I like to get it signed in the moment because I have had a conversation with the author or attended a talk where they spoke. I might order signed copies online at some point, but usually I have already bought a copy and am happy with that! Time for my favourite signing story!
When I lived in Shanghai I was lucky enough to attend the LitFest in 2019, the glorious pre-pandemic days. I attended Sema Kaygusuz' talk on her short story collection The Well of Trapped Words, translated from Turkish by Maureen Freely, and about fairy tales and writing in general. I was fascinated by her comments on philosophy and what had inspired her, so when I got a chance to talk to her after the talk, I asked her if she could give me some recommendations on what to read. If you skip to the second photo in the Insta carousel below, you can see the list she kindly wrote out to me! It was a beautiful moment and those writers are definitely on my reading list. (If the image doesn't load, apologies!)
So that's me for this week! Feel free to drop by my Insta and say Hi, I'm always looking for more bookbloggers to follow there!