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Her Radiant Curse

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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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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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