Cover Image: Her Radiant Curse

Her Radiant Curse

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Her Radiant Curse by Elizabeth Lim

432 Pages
Publisher: Random House Children’s, Knopf Books for Young Readers
Release Date: August 29, 2023

Fiction, Sci Fi, Fantasy, Teens, Young Adult, Prequel, Asian

Channari and Vanna are sisters. When Vanna was born, her father brought Channari into the forest as a sacrifice to Angma, the Demon Witch, to save his wife’s life. The Serpent King tries to protect her from Angma. As a last act, he bites her ankle turning her blood to poison. His last words are to find Hokzuh later in life because he will help her. When her father returns to the forest, he sees Channari is still alive but has been cursed. Vanna grows up and is known as the golden one because her chest glows. Kings and leaders from all the worlds come for her hand and things become heated. Now Channari needs to find out who or what Hokzuh is to protect her sister.

The book has a steady pace, the characters are well developed and it is written in the first person point of view. This is the prequel to the Six Crimson Cranes and explains a lot of the back story. I love the strength of the sisters’ relationship for each other. The book is full of so many emotions. If you like Asian folklore, you will enjoy this one. Once you are finished, make sure you read the next two books.

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Elizabeth Lim knows how to spin a fairytale, she stands out as one of my favorite fairytale authors. I loved her writing what I thought was a standalone, and it sort of is! It’s a prequel to Six Crimson Cranes and I really really loved it. There’s not a whole lot I can say in detail that isn’t a spoiler but I will say I loved the sister relationship and Channi in particular so much. More dragon lore, more demons and deceptions! It was an excellent read, I hope Elizabeth Lim does more stand-alone type stories more in the future, I think she really shines in a more contained story. Though, she shines anyway so what do I know!

Thank you to NetGalley and Random House Children's/Knopf Books for Young Readers for the eARC in exchange for an honest review.

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I almost forgot how engaging and compelling a storyteller the author is.
Coming into the book as a fan of the series, I wanted to hate Channari (being a fan of the Six of Cranes series - where she is written as one of the morally grey characters that cursed the protagonist), BUT my love for grey/flawed characters won over. This book is "her hero/villain story that gave me a better understanding of why Channari did what she did and made me appreciate this prequel much more than I expected.

Character development was spot-on for Channari. The author fully articulated the difficulty of Channari's life and the choices she faced in trying to save her family, especially her sister. It was impossible not to love Channari in this book! I am ashamed of my previous reaction to reading the sequel since learning Channari's life story, who won me over with her perseverance and resolve to protect those she loves and holds dear. She also empathizes with many other characters in the story, and ultimately, it broke my heart to see how much she had to give up to be where she was in the succeeding books. Channari had to do what she did with the life that was "fated" to her. It was not an easy path, but she dealt it all with grace, dignity, and bravery beyond any characters I encountered. Her determination to rise at impossible moments is beyond comprehension - an admirable trait that would determine her and her sister's lives.

The story's vivid imagery and exciting characters enhanced my reading experience. Every leaf and dragon scale described was I was holding on to that leaf or touching those scales that I could not help but relate to them. The plot to rescue Channari's sister and her family is captivating because these "predicaments" never seem to end! Just when I thought things were looking up, something grave happened, so I stayed put.

Overall, Her Radiant Curse is a fantastic journey with Channari and the wonder of magic. The author's world-building was beautiful and written in great detail, with so much love and emotion that it felt like the author lived through these lands. The story had many spine-tingling twists and non-stop suspense, and the "new developments" made the book an unputdownable page-turner from start to finish. If this doesn't convince you to read this book, let the heart-warming theme of sisterly love bring you to pick up this book!

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After her father makes a desperate attempt to save her mother from death, Channi is cursed with a face of scales while her sister is born with radiance and beauty known the world over. Vanna has suitors vying for her hand but all she wants is to be in a safe place so her beloved sister can come with her, when a place is secured Vanna leaves and Channi is tricked right back into the hands of the Demon Witch that cursed her to begin with. “One sister must fall for the other to rise” and Channi will do everything to make sure her baby sister survives.

This was a beautiful prequel to the Six Crimson Cranes duology and I absolutely loved getting to know the sisters and know their full story since we only get a snippet in the duology that follows! Sooooo good!

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Her Radiant Curse by Elizabeth Lim

This was a beautifully woven story with notes of classic tales like Beauty and the Beast, Cinderella, and more modern YA books too!

It took my favorite story elements and blended them into a richly layered tale of strength, sacrifice, and becoming as we follow Channi on her journey to save her sister Vanna from the clutches of demons and dragons alike.

Channi was a really interesting character in Six Crimson Cranes as the “evil” stepmother and so it was fascinating to take a peek into her back story and see how she became that woman.

My heart broke for Channi as she loses the things she loves time and time again. Her bravery and strength were so moving.

The plot was fast paced and engaging. The dialogue was seamless and the characters were immaculately written.

I really really enjoyed this book! It was an amazing addition to the Six Crimson Cranes series.

Thank you to @elimpix @netgalley for an eARC of this book. All thoughts are my own.

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I really liked Six Crimson Cranes by Elizabeth Lim, so when I saw she had a new book I definitely wanted to check it out. I won't bother repeating the summary as its on the main book page and in countless other reviews. Readers who are already fans of this author will find more to like here. This story features more great sibling relationships, magic, expansive and beautifully-developed world building and an intriguing premise. It was a little slow at times but overall, another good story from Lim.

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Channi first makes her appearance in Lim's duology, Six Crimson Cranes. Following in its footsteps, Her Radiant Curse spins a lush tale steeped in beautiful world-building and Asian mythology. I don't think you will have to have read anything else by Lim to enjoy this one. While it is connected to Six Crimson Cranes, it is a prequel and a standalone. Perfect for testing out the waters!

The sisterly love and friendships depicted in this book were so special, the magic system is well-developed, and the action sequences were fun. Channi and Vanna's bond is the main crux of the story, and it was so touching to see how these two girls are willing to do anything for the other, and how their relationship is shaped from childhood into adulthood.

This did not quite get five stars from me because the plot wasn't woven together as tightly as I expected. I absolutely devoured Six Crimson Cranes, even the soft 'fluffier' scenes really added to and developed that story more, and Her Radiant Curse did not quite live up to that. I think the abundance of travel sequences took some of the sense of urgency out of this for me, which is why I have given it four instead of five stars.

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"Her Radiant Curse" by Elizabeth Lim is a mesmerizing addition to the world of fantasy literature. Lim's storytelling prowess is on full display as she weaves a tale of magic, curses, and courage. The characters are richly developed, and readers will quickly find themselves emotionally invested in their journeys. Lim's prose is elegant and evocative, painting vivid pictures of the enchanting world she has created. The plot is engaging and filled with unexpected twists, keeping readers on the edge of their seats. While the pacing occasionally slows, it ultimately adds depth to the narrative. "Her Radiant Curse" is a four-star gem that showcases Lim's talent for crafting captivating tales.

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Cursed by a demon witch, Channi is tied to the snakes in her village. Though her sister, Vanna, is draws royalty from far and wide as suitors because of her beauty, Channi has the face of a serpent. Yet the bond between sisters is still strong. When it is time for Vanna to be married, Channi must dedicate herself to defending her sister even if it means putting herself into harm's way.
The background of this story was extremely well thought out. It is very apparent that the author put a lot of time researching and planning the narrative of the story. This made it much more enoyable to read.
I did feel like the pacing was a little slow. It took me about a month to read, which is a lot longer than I would typically take for a book of this length. Over the course of the story, it did not feel like as much happened as there could have been. Maybe some more action or intrigue could have made it a faster paced read.
I think for fans of books like Daughter of the Moon Goddess and A Magic Steeped in Poison this is a great option. Her Radiant Curse draws the same connections to actual legends and retells them in a new way. If you like that style of story, definitely give it a try.

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This book was given to me for free in exchange for an honest review. Thank you to the author, publisher, and NetGalley!

It took me a little while to get into it at first but after a couple of chapters the folk-fairytale writing style and plot really grew on me and I couldn’t stop reading!

Characters are well developed and the story is really nice. I also kind of appreciated that in places where I could tell the author could go into more detail, she didn’t always feel the need. While I know this will have a sequel - and ok ok with it! - it was nice to see someone write without feeling the need to stretch a plot over many many books just to make it a franchise (or at least that’s how it felt to me).

Xingying is the daughter of the moon goddess who is forced to flee from her home to the celestial kingdom, where she hopes to win the emperor’s favor in order to free her mother from her prison - the moon. Along the way she meets the crown Prince Liwei and the forge a close connection. She joins the celestial army and goes through many an adventure and I’m very happy more adventures are to come since there were some loose ends left at the end.

The whole book feels like the most magical Asian lore and honestly, my only complaint is that I think there could be more spice (if only! I never thought a look and a touch would get me so flustered in a book!) I also did end up liking the writing style - I appreciate when text has an underlying rhythm and flows almost like poetry - it gives the reading a pace of its own.

Anyway, when something works it works. This is a good book! - I recommend it.

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"Butterflies celebrate all love, Channi, because every love is precious. And mine for you, above all. That love is forever."

MY HEART. I'm going to preface this with the fact that I haven't read SIX CRIMSON CRANES, and I don't know if that had any impact on my reception of this novel or not. That said, I absolutely loved HER RADIANT CURSE. It was extremely unexpected, but in the best way possible. This was an emotional book steeped in lore, love, and adventure. I couldn't get enough of Channi and Ukar, her snake companion.

I alternated between audio and the e-book, and I was impressed by Mirai's voice performance. She truly brought the characters to life. While I have plenty more to say, this is a book best read without spoilers. I'm looking forward to going back and reading SIX CRIMSON CRANES soon.

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Imagine my surprise when Elizabeth Lim announces another upcoming book in the Six Crimson Cranes universe! You already know that I needed that book in my hands asap. And gladly, I was able to receive an early digital copy for review.

Her Radiant Curse brings everything back full circle. Before I go into any explanation, I will warn any readers who doesn’t want any spoilers for Her Radiant Curse to avoid this review. It’s hard to explain my thoughts regarding Her Radiant Curse without letting out a few details that can be spoilers. So avoid reading any further if you don’t want any spoilers.

Now, let’s talk about feelings regarding Her Radiant Curse:

-we finally get the full story regarding Channi (I have been waiting for her story ever since the truth was revealed in Six Crimson Cranes).

-didn’t expect to feel so much for Channi because I didn’t like her in Six Crimson Cranes universe. But reading her story, I can now realize how much she truly cared for those children. She just wanted to protect herself at all costs. She knew how magic can tear families apart.

-may get some hate for this, but I didn’t like Channi sister at all. I found her very selfish. She never cared to ask what Channi wanted. She always expected her to follow her. That’s not life for anyone.

-it's kind of funny how everything comes full circle. Channi always had a bigger role in fate than she expected. She never wanted to, but unexpectedly, she was going to play into a bigger hand.

-love Channi's determination to always protect those she loves the most. It was her best quality. It may frustrate you because you want her to find something for herself rather than protect her sister. But she cherishes her sister so much that she is always willing to protect her.

-thought we were going to have love interests in this book, but it’s more of a fantasy read.

-wasn’t into snakes in the beginning, and now I want a pet snake. They always had Channi's back.

Besides me ranting about my feelings regarding Her Radiant Curse, I will say that I did enjoy reading this book. It truly kept me entertained from the beginning. I couldn’t stop at all. I needed to know what Channi was going to do to stop her sister's demise.

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My Rating: 3.5/5 Stars

My Review:

I received a digital ARC of this book from the publisher via TBR and Beyond Tours in exchange for an honest review and place on this blog tour – thanks!

This was my first Elizabeth Lim novel and I must say, it certainly lived up to the hype! Lim has such an easy to follow prose, that keeps the story moving without rushing through the smallest details. I found myself easily enthralled in this story, in Channi and Vanna. I couldn’t put it down!

There were some elements of the story that were a bit confusing, mainly of the anthropomorphic dragon who I did not realize had human like features at the beginning and had a hard time picturing throughout the story. I do wish that the cover reflected more of Channi’s snake face, as the descriptions of it definitely did not match that.

This book was certainly a mash of many different story elements and they all worked so well together. I am glad that it chose to focus on the relationship between the sisters, as that was what drew my attention to this book in the first place. There are some romantic subplots. but the love between the sisters is at the heart of this story and it hurt my soul sometimes, in the best way imaginable.

The reason this book does not get the full four stars is definitely because of the ending, which I won’t get into in this spoiler free review. I just feel a bit icky about it, if I am being honest. And I thought that Channi deserved so much more than the constraints of this story allowed for her.

I believe this book will attract YA and non YA audiences all at once. It is a fantasy that is easy to fall into and whose light prose leaves very little room for confusion. Pick this one up if you’re in the mood for fantasy, but don’t have the energy for pages upon pages of world building and political intrigue.

Her Radiant Curse releases August 28th, 2023

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Channi is cursed at a very young age when her father tried to sacrifice her in exchange for her mother. But the witch demon he left her to wanted her younger sister instead.
Channi's father claims that the younger sister is blessed by the gods because she glows and he hopes to use that to set up an advantageous marriage.
Nothing goes according to anyone's plan except maybe the witch demon who is still after Channi's sister. Channi has to do everything in her power to save her.

I really enjoyed this prequel to the Six Crimson Cranes duology and I look forward to finishing the series.
It was a little slow and repetitive in 0laces but I loved the characters and the story telling

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I requested this arc without realizing that it was a prequel to six crimson cranes so when I realized I read the duology. I was immediately drawn to the story of Channi. This book gave me a lot of understanding as there were quite a few questions I was left with after finishing the duology. This book is heartbreaking but also fun and exciting.

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“That’s what sisters are for. My joys are your joys and your miseries are my miseries.”

Her Radiant Curse is the direct prequel to Six Crimson Cranes and we finally get the backstory of the infamous step mother that turns Shiori's brothers into cranes in the duology. Reading more and more of her backstory was so intriguing to me, as I needed to know how such a powerful woman became the step mother of 7 children in a land with no magic.

We open in the past - with two sisters, one born beautiful and the other with the face of a snake after her father tries to sacrifice her to the Demon Witch to save her mother during childbirth. As these two grow closer, only her sister is kind to her and Channi knows she will do anything for Vanna, even die for her. In fact - she knows she must, it was foretold that one sister must fall for the other to rise. Knowing that the demon witch is coming on her 17th birthday Channi spends all her days training to kill her and free the two of them of this curse.

What follows is a battle royale of suiters coming for Vanna and once again only Channi to defend her. On this beautiful and dangerous journey of self love, the bonds between family and the magic that connects the two along with so many fun easter eggs and call backs to the original duology - proving again that Lim's books have no monsters - just those with tragic backstories.

rep// Asian cast & setting

cw// physical & mental abuse, child sacrifice, violence, kidnapping, self harm

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I hadn't heard of Elizabeth Lim prior to receiving Her Radiant Curse as an ARC, but was intrigued by the gorgeous cover art and the book description. Once I started reading I was immediately drawn into the story. Channi is such a great character, not only because of her loyalty to her sister and her determination, but also her struggles and her loneliness.

One thing I did not realize until after reading was that this is a prequel to Lim's earlier work, Six Crimson Cranes so you may want to read that first. I have not read Six Crimson Cranes, and don't feel that I missed out on anything, but wanted to give the heads up.

Channi is just a little child when she is sacrificed to the Demon Witch Angma in a desperate bid by her father to save her mother's life. Angma, however, is furious at being denied Vanna, Channi's radiant newborn sister, curses Channi with a serpent face as revenge and promises to return for Vanna's life once she turns seventeen. Fast forward and Channi has grown up an outcast, mocked and tormented by all because of her serpent features, and forced by her father to live mostly in hiding. Vanna is her only human friend, and the bond that the two sisters share weaves throughout the book. Channi spends her time searching for any sign of Angma, and training herself to be able to fight the Demon Witch and protect her sister. But one thing she cannot protect Vanna from is the press of suitors who have come from all over the region to try to win her hand. And when the cruelest suitor of all looks likely to be triumphant, Channi has to fight to protect her sister from this new threat.

Weaving together inspiration from Perrault, Homer, and Chinese fairy tales, Her Radiant Curse is a rollicking fantastical adventure, with evil queens, witches, dragons, and monsters. But it is above all a story of love and family, and the lengths one will go to protect those they are devoted to.

Thanks to NetGalley for the digital ARC.

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Thank you to Netgalley, Random House Children’s, and Elizabeth Lim for an e-arc of this book in exchange for my honest thoughts.

I was obsessed with Six Crimson Cranes; it was a book that kept me engaged the whole way through and I fell in love with Elizabeth’s writing. And Her Radiant Curse doesn’t disappoint. It’s a prequel to Six Crimson Cranes, taking place several years earlier.

Elizabeth Lim knows how to write characters that you care about while also building a world that is complex and intriguing.

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Honestly, this was BRILLIANT. I don’t think I have the words to describe how much I loved it but it was so incredibly well done.

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Elizabeth Lim's Her Radiant Curse can be considered the prequel to the authors Six Crimson Cranes duology or a spin-off if you so choose. But you don't have to have read Six Crimson Cranes to enjoy this series based on Asian mythology. Channeri was not born a monster. But when her own father offered her in sacrifice to the tiger witch Angma, she's forever changed. Cursed with a serpent's face, Channi is the exact opposite of her beautiful sister Vanna, born with light surrounding her, and the only person in the village who looks at Channi and doesn’t see a monster. The only person she trusts. The only person she would die for.

For 16 years, Channi, along with her faithful snake companion Ukari, who is immune to Channi's toxic blood, have trained for the day when Angma returns. Ukari and his brothers and sisters are the only real family Channi has. Channi is all but looked down upon by everyone in her village, including her own father. Only her sister sees that Channi will do anything to protect her sister. Vanna's father Adah decides on a Selection day to see which powerful leader will make his daughter grant her wish by leaving Sundau forever, while also trying to make sure that Channi goes with her.

Now seventeen, the day that Channi is supposed to hand over her sister, Vanna is to be auctioned off in a vulgar betrothal contest that will enrich the coffers of the village leaders. Only Channi, who’s had to rely on her strength and cunning all these years, can defend her sister against the cruelest of the suitors. But in doing so, she becomes the target of a series of vicious gladiatorial fights, a quest over land and sea, an alliance with a diabolical dragon who wants something in return for his help, and a choice that will strain Channi's heart to its breaking point.

*Thoughts* Having read the authors Six Crimson Cranes, and knowing a little bit about the history of Channi, I was eager to find out the real truth about how she ended up the step-mother in Six Crimson Cranes. There is magic and dragons, betrayal and trust, islands and jungles and snakes and tigers. The author poignantly shows two sisters who are set up to compete and resent each other by their father, and their village, only to bond and lift up each other despite societal expectations. In the previous duology, Channi was considered to be the villain until her daughter discovered the real truth. I loved Ukari, a snake and Channi's most loyal, and sarcastic, companion. There is a minor romantic angle to this story that is quickly smothered after a series of devastating events which I won't spoil.

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