Cover Image: Her Radiant Curse

Her Radiant Curse

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Member Reviews

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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Elizabeth Lim has an amazing talent for atmospheric, fantastical world-building full of unique Asian-inspired mythology and magic and Her Radiant Curse is no exception. Full of demons and curses and dragons, it's sure to be a perfect addition to the rest of her mythos, especially since it acts as a prequel to Six Crimson Cranes.

Channi grows up as the devoted older sister to the beautiful Vanna, whose mysterious light attracts the attention and marriage proposals of leaders the world over. As a child, she was offered as a sacrifice to the Demon Witch and now she lives with the face of a snake and poison blood. It's been a curse Channi's entire life, but when Vanna is set to be married off to the highest bidder, she might be the only one who can save her. Her, and the half-demon half-dragon prince that she finds along the way.

There are two key things that make this book so amazing. The first is how much thought Lim, as usual, has put into the mythology and world-building. She continues to build onto her previous stories and the world that she has created in such a unique way, and it's fun picking out the pieces of inspiration from different Asian mythologies that she has used in her books. The second amazing strength in this book is, of course, the relationship between Channi and Vanna. They are so utterly dedicated to each other, while the romantic relationships (while sweet and interesting and intriguing) play a secondary role in the story.

The only downside I found in the book was that, admittedly, I didn't realize at first that this was a prequel to Six Crimson Cranes and I do feel I missed out on a few things by not having read that first. Parts of the conclusion in this story felt incomplete without the context of the other story to fill in the gaps, sadly. Otherwise it was a solid one-off and very much an enjoyable read.

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Her Radiant Curse is the latest novel set in the world Elizabeth Lim created and taking place roughly a decade before the events in Six Crimson Cranes. While it’s a stand-alone novel, it’s also a prequel as it tells the back story of who I found one of the most intriguing and complex side characters in the duology. I was absolutely excited to find she was going to get her own novel because despite her minor role, she’s nuanced and complex.

Having read nearly all of Lim’s works, I’m definitely familiar with her lyrical writing and prose; it’s no surprise that overall, I enjoyed reading Channi’s story and was quickly wrapped back in. We’re taken to other parts of Lor’yan we haven’t come across so far that further develops the world: Sundau, Shenlani, and Tai’yanan to name a few were all interesting to read about.

But if I took all of my reviews for the books in the Lor’yan world, took some sentences, change names around and added additional relevant context, I don’t think anyone would really notice the difference all that much. The formula for Her Radiant Curse at its core follows the same as the others: competition or curse (or both, in this instance), a journey, a super awesome animal sidekick that seems to shine more than the main character at times, and a dash of romance.

There’s nothing wrong with following a formula; I did enjoy this, after all. However, I think I was reading this one for a bit of sentimental value and finding all the Easter Eggs in connection to the Six Crimson Cranes duology. (I absolutely love Easter Eggs in books because it’s like a game while reading and that brings the gamer in me joy.) When looking much deeper and thinking about it from a more stand-alone perspective, the novel ended up falling a little short for me, and I felt a little disconnected sometimes.

We know early on Channi and her sister Vanna have a strong relationship, though if you’ve read Six Crimson Cranes you’ll know this is a fundamental part to Channi’s story. Vanna’s the only one who looks past Channi’s exterior and doesn’t see a demon like everyone else does. Aside from her snake companions, she’s also the only one Channi loves and trusts, and she’ll do anything for her little sister (and vice versa).

We get to see bits of this relationship throughout the book, but I wished Lim focused on this more, as it’s also a core part of her character. Vanna seems to have less page time than the antagonist and even their father seems to have more characterization. It’s almost like their relationship is there for the sake of the plot and Vanna is really just a very shiny, golden trinket until near the end. And honestly, by the time we got to that point, it felt a bit anticlimactic as heart-wrenching as it was. With that being said, though, I think Lim examines the power of beauty really well throughout Her Radiant Curse, which I won’t get into because of spoilers.

While this one can be read alone and has a good setup for those who haven’t read the duology yet, I definitely suggest reading both Six Crimson Cranes and The Dragon’s Promise before reading this one. You’ll know exactly how the story will play out, but I feel it adds much more depth to Channi’s story than read alone. Overall, it was good to read another novel from the same universe, and I’m excited to see what Lim’s next novel will be like.

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When I saw there was another book coming out connected to six crimson cranes I knew that I had to pick this one up. I would say that you could read the story on its own prior to reading six crimson cranes. It was its own story and just had a couple of nods to the original series. It was fun being able to pickup on those things and see the origin story of the character.
The setting of the story was a lot of fun as usual. I always enjoy when we get to explore multiple places within the world. I felt like it helped I had some prior knowledge of the world and the dragons from the rest of the series. Some of the things could have been explained a little better for someone who hasn’t read the rest of the books.
I appreciate Channi’s devotion and loyalty to her sister. I wish we could have gotten to see a little more of their relationship. I found myself a bit annoyed by Vanna for most of the book. I didn’t feel any connection to her as a character. I enjoyed the other side characters a lot more.
Overall I really enjoyed the plot of the story. I enjoyed learning the backstory of this character a lot more in depth. We got little peeks here and there about her in the original series. It was a lot of fun! I would recommend if you enjoyed the original books!

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Her Radiant Curse is a solid adventure story with good characters and character development, excellent fights and flights, kick-ass sisters watching out for each other, and a satisfying end. Magic, witches, and talking animals help bring down patriarchal establishments and help the women of the book forge new paths. This is a prequel to two other books by Lim, but can be read before or after them, and stands alone just fine.

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Her Radiant Curse is amazing and captivating companion novel to Six Crimson Cranes that tells the story of Channari before she became the Raikama, the Nameless Queen of Kiata.

Her Radiant Curse should be read before the Six Crimson Crane duology but one can easily read this as standalone or after the duology. As I read Her Radiant Curse after I had read all the books in this world, I knew the ending and my anticipation was all about ‘how’ – how Channari got her name Raikama, how she got connected with the dragon’s pearl, how she got her sister’s face, how she has such close connection to snakes, and how she married to be The Nameless Queen of Kiata.

Her Radiant Curse also connects Six Crimson Crane duology very well giving us more insight to Raikama’s character, what shaped her to be the queen she was in the was in Six Crimson Crane, and also why she needed to return the pearl.

Plot is riveting and action-packed mixed with legends and magic. From characters to legends, thrilling battles, compelling marriage trials, and more than one villain keep readers hooked to the story even though we know the end from the duology.

I loved the concept of two sisters one beautiful and the other cursed with a snake face– one is adored and admired by the world while the other is shunned and has to live with the cruelty of the world- gives it element of beauty and beast. Even with their different look and how that changes their lives love, loyalty and trust between sisters remains at the core.

Themes and layers of loyalty, sibling love, betrayal, belongingness, inner beauty, curse, vengeance, and loss make the book emotional and touching read. Writing is as engrossing, beautiful, fairy tale style as other books by the author with fast pace and first-person narraive from Channari’s (Channi) perspective.

Channi is kick-ass, strong, impulsive and singled-focused heroine who is determined to watch over her sister, Vanna, and save her from Angma, the demon witch, who cursed her with snake face and is going to come for Vanna when turns seventeen.

It was heartbreaking to read how her snake face changed her life, how terrible she felt when people repulsed and shrieked looking at her face. I hated her father who was responsible for her curse in first place and yet he made Channi feel like she was the monster and responsible for everything wrong in their life. He kept her hidden, made her wear a mask, and shattered her spirit. She kept her vulnerable side hidden behind stony and cold exterior.

Vanna was Channi’s only family who loved her regardless of how she looked. She was the source of Channi’s happiness, her weakness, and her purpose to live.

At first, I didn’t like Vanna. She sounded vain and selfish who has lived a sheltered life and only seen and received good from the world. Sometimes it felt she was deliberately ignoring the cruelty of their father towards Channi. I had doubted if the situation was reversed she wouldn’t risk her life for Channi but I liked how that changed in last 30% of the book.

She loved Channi as much as Channi loved her. In fact, being separated from Channi changed not just her power but her as well. It was amazing how her doubts shattered when Angma attacked and how she was the stronger one between two after that.

I liked Hokzuh. He didn’t give a reason to trust him often and yet I was rooting for him. His story is touching and I hated King Meguh for what he did to him. I knew the end would not be good between him and Channi and yet I adored their moments together. Their growing friendship, trust, and plausible love was heartwarming to read. I didn’t like what happened to him in the end. Tbh it wasn’t his fault, it was Angma’s doing and for that one thing, I didn’t like Channi’s decision she made in sorrow and anger.

The presence of dragons, witches, and demons makes the plot exciting and mesmerizing. I enjoyed visiting Sundau Island again. It looked bleak in The Dragons Promise but here it has the character of its own, especially the forest. I loved how magic, minor demons, and humans lived together. Visiting other islands of Tambu isles and knowing a little more about them was interesting and also made the plot adventurous.

The Legend of the creator Niur and God Gadda and how he created Tambu Isles and Sundau the first island, the history of snakes and dragons, the legend of Hanum’nya, and why snakes don’t trust dragons was fascinating.

Twists and turns weren’t that surprising except for the climax and everything that happened after it. I anticipated the attack in the climax but it surprised me how that changed Vanna, literally. Their return home and final battle was exciting but I hated how that changed the future of all characters even though I knew it coming from the beginning.

End is tragic and heartwrenching which makes this book different from all other books in this world. There is no happily ever after. “Her Radiant Curse” title made much more sense at this point. My only complaint is, I felt bad for Hokzuh in the end how he was made a villain when it wasn’t entirely his fault. It just felt sad how Channi and Hokzuh’s fate was entwined in the beginning and then they unraveled and drifted apart.

Overall, Her Radiant Curse is captivating, enchanting, action-packed, and bittersweet YA Fantasy with fairytale-style writing and beautiful sibling bond.

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5 Reasons to Read

Sisters

I am a sucker for sister stories! I'm very close to my sisters and sister in laws. I wouldn't be able to get through life without their love and support. Vanna and Channi's relationship was one of the highlights of this one for me. Channi will do anything to keep her sister safe and to ensure she gets to be the one to choose her path.

Deadly Contests

Oh man this contest was intense! What would you do if you had 11 kings and princes vowing for your sister's hand in marriage but you know that none of them are actually right for her? Of course you'd throw your hat in the ring and fight for her! That's exactly what Channi does for Vanna. She just doesn't know that her opponent just so happens to be a dragon!

Dragons & Snakes Oh My!

Channi was cursed by a snake when she was a child and now when people see her face they see a monster. There were so many different animals in this one from dragons to snakes. So many snakes. I am not usually a lover of snakes in any way but after reading this one I'd totally let them back me up in a fight! Let's not forget the Dragon Channi ends up on a journey with.

Dark Mythologies

I loved the mythology we saw in Six Crimson Cranes and this one did not disappoint. Elizabeth Lim does an incredible job of intertwining myths into her stories. Of course this is a great prequel and I can't wait to see what Elizabeth does next!

Villainous Demon Witches

If these beautiful covers don't do anything for you then check these books out for the villainous witches! Angma doesn't hold back when it comes to getting what she wants. She will ensure one sister will fall so she can rise.

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Thank you NetGalley and publisher for this ARC publication for an honest review.

I am a fan of Elizabeth Lim and enjoyed the previous two books in this series. This is the prequel, and it absolutely owns my heart. I almost wish this book was available to read before the other two because I have such a deeper insight into the characters, and I am seeing the other two books in a whole different light. This is the origin story of Shiori's stepmother, Raikama who began life as Channi.

This book is so emotionally charged: tragedy, curses, unconditional love, utter heartbreak. The author did a masterful job weaving the hidden pieces of the puzzle that connect all three stories.

This story was as beautiful as it was tragic. And while I knew how the tale was going to go, I still was secretly hoping that something would change... (Oh, Hokzuh! You and Channi deserved so much more than the cruel world gave you!!)

5 stars

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Her Radiant Curse is a story about sister love. They're so different in literally everything but none love them as fierce as they do each other.

Infused with witchcraft, curse, magical forest, TIGER AND SNAKES, Her Radiant Curse is highly suitable for anyone liking light fantasy tale. It didn't have that high stakes conflicts or super complicated plot to follow. It's entertaining enough. With sprinkles of romance, this book is an enjoyable standalone.

My 16yo self would definitely love this book.

My two cents:
- I don't particularly loving this book bcs it just didn't standout. However, I didn't have anything particular to hate either. It falls into an okayish story for me. I didn't cheer for the characters, but I don't hate them, too. (I actually prefer when they're able to give me strong emotion to go through the story.)

- A slight problem I encountered is.... How everything made to be a comfortable coincides for Channari to ease her adventure. Everything's just being toned down. It might not be a problem for other readers, but it's just not my favourite.

FAQ:
- IS IT FANTASY BEGINNER FRIENDLY? YES
- IS IT BEGINNER FRIENDLY? I THINK SO!!!
- DO I NEED TO READ THE OTHER BOOKS BEFORE READING THIS ONE? NO NEED!!!! It's a nice standalone fantasy. Actually, this book is a start to Elizabeth Lim universe. Give it a go ✨

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Lovely and touching. A smidgeon too long in parts but I will absolutely be back for another if it gets written. Cried at least once and laughed multiple times. Solid!

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I have to admit, I was nervous to read this one. I LOVED Six Crimson Cranes, but was then painfully disappointed by The Dragon's Promise, so I wasn't sure what to expect with Her Radiant Curse. I would say I was somewhere in the middle! It definitely wasn't my favorite, but it did have so much of what I enjoyed about Six Crimson Cranes (and also a little of what I didn't in Dragon's Promise). Overall, it was beautiful and the magic was fascinating. It was great to see this character (who'd been a part of Shiori's life in such a profound way) have her backstory explained more and to see what led to the events in SCC. Overall, I would recommend!

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Her Radiant Curse is a beautiful and vividly written fantasy. It drew me in to its intricate world and fascinating characters almost immediately. Love, friendship, hatred, adventure, despair, and so much magic. Channi is my favorite type of character: deep, loyal, a bit broken and fierce. I loved every moment of the story of these sisters. Now I need to reread Six Crimson Cranes to see that story in a different light. Wonderful.

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(3.5/5 stars) Elizabeth Lim's writing has always been so beautiful and lyrical! I was looking forward to this release back in the Six Crimson Cranes universe, but this time a spin-off prequel about Channi (who eventually becomes Shiori's stepmother, Raikama). Starting out with another BEAUTIFUL cover, this book pulled me in! Asian mythology is so lush and vibrant, and I was excited to jump back into the SCC world. Lim delivers a strong standalone that is easy to read (though if you're not big on YA might be a bit frustrating). We love a story of the strength of sisterly love.

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steeped in a lush asain mythology. this was able to be read as a standalone even though its a prequal

fans of ‘six crimson cranes’ will really enjoy being back in this world and seeing it expanded. and readers who have not read the series will come to love ELs storytelling and magic.

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I've enjoyed Elizabeth Lim's books before, which is why I chose this one, and it didn't disappoint me at all.

The protagonist, Channi, was cursed by a witch, bitten by the Serpent King and lost her mother on the same day. Also, on the same day, she swore to protect her younger sister, Vanna, at all costs. This book is about sibling bonds, the one that is beautiful and painful.

The sisterhood bond between Channi and Vanna was expressed in a very heartwarming way. The love and affection Channi has for Vanna was so beautiful. I love the author's writing style so much.

There are many things I love in this book. One of them is Channi's ability to talk to snakes. Ukar, the Serpent, was Channi's closest friend, and I really enjoyed his sense of humour. His deep and caring friendship with Channi was truly heartwarming.

The dragon's unexpected arrival surprised me. But I loved every scene where he was present. The fight between Channi and the dragon was so descriptive and awesome. The constant turns in the plot kept me hooked till the end.

Everything in this book was outstanding, from the plot and characters to the twists, magic, and the way everything came together at the end. Filled with action and magic, this is a perfect fantasy novel with a wealth of emotions in play.

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I really base my reviews on how much I enjoy reading, so i’m giving this 5 stars. We get to know more about “Raikama” or “Channi”. It’s such a wonderful read. Elizabeth’s writing will forever feel like a fairy tale. So excited for more of her books!

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I really enjoyed this spin-off of Six Crimson Cranes. I enjoyed the characters and their relationships as well as the lore and development of the story. Even though I knew how the story would end, I was not expecting the journey to take the twists and turns that it did.

Definitely recommend!

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