Escape Velocity

A curated Collection of Fantasy and Science Fiction Media

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Six Crimson Cranes is a retelling of the fairy tale "The Wild Swans" by Hans Christian Andersen, set in an East Asian fantasy world. The story follows Shiori, a stubborn princess. She and her six brothers have been cursed by their stepmother. Together with her animated paper bird Kiki, Shiori must learn to work hard and learn humility, in order to break the curse.

I bought this book because of the stunning covers of this series. I have the Kelly Chong version of this novel and let me tell you: she’s a real beauty.

Unfortunately the actual story just wasn’t quite for me. Six Crimson Cranes is a retelling of the fairy tale The Wild Swans by Hans Christian Andersen. It follows the original fairy tale pretty directly, although it is set in an East Asian fantasy world.

I think my main issue with the book is that, while it is about 450 pages long, it never really seems to go much deeper than a fairy tale would. The main character Shiori is a stubborn spoiled princess who learns to work hard and respect others. She has magical powers, which is a Big Deal, except she never really uses them, and the story would have been no different if she hadn’t had those powers.

Her brothers never get much development because there are 6 of them (and also they spend half the story as birds, so there’s that). The main love interest is nice and brave but not much more, and also there’s a dragon we are led to believe will be an important character, but he won’t actually be relevant until the sequel. The dialogue is a little clunky and unrealistic, and the descriptions are often lacking, which meant I spent a good amount of time wondering where certain characters were, or how they got from one place to another.

I really liked the East Asian setting, but I didn’t feel like it was developed well enough to really intrigue me.

The ending also didn’t quite satisfy me, which ultimately led me to give this book 3 stars instead of 3.5. The main villain was someone I didn’t even remember being part of the story and I’m still not sure how Shiori ended up breaking the curse.

Overall, I certainly didn’t have a bad time reading this book. I definitely think this is suitable for younger readers. I think this is classified as Young Adult, but I personally think it’s most suited to teen readers.

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