Shiori, 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. Raikama has dark magic of her own, and she banishes the young princess, turning her brothers into cranes, and warning 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, on her journey, uncovers a conspiracy to overtake the throne—a conspiracy more twisted and deceitful, more cunning and complex, than even Raikama’s betrayal. Only Shiori can set the kingdom to rights, but to do so she must place her trust in the very boy she fought so hard not to marry. And she must embrace the magic she’s been taught all her life to contain—no matter what it costs her.
This cover knocked me off my feet. I mean, LOOK AT IT. It’s just downright gorgeous. I know I shouldn’t judge books by their covers, but dang, this one is amazing. And I did enjoy Spin The Dawn, so I was curious to see what this author was going to be writing next. And a book about a princess with hidden magic, who is cursed voiceless and who’s brothers are cursed to turn into cranes, sounds like something I would enjoy!
Oh, I loved this book so much. So, so much. Lim is a masterful storyteller, and the way this one is woven is just brilliant.
I’m starting off talking about Shiori, because I love her so dang much. She was a heck of a main character. Incredibly bold, fierce, and ready to take on the world if that is required of her. She’s funny and stubborn and has so much grit. She’s also cursed not to speak for most of the book. She still has her thoughts, but I honestly think it’s an amazing feat to have a character that is this vivid, and this amazing, and have her dialogue be nothing for most of the book.
Shiori was not the only amazing character in this book. There is the sweetest love interest, one who loves to tell stories. Really, all the side characters were brilliant. There’s also a so many siblings, and that means a ton of sibling shenanigans, which was amazing. The familial relationships were also top notch. I can’t say more than that to avoid spoilers, but just know that the role family plays is a big one, and the ties between them were strong and wonderful.
There is even a little magic paper bird named Kiki who is adorable and I love her.
This book’s humor was something else that I loved. It’s not a funny book, because it’s about a cursed princess trying to make sure her brothers stay alive, but the way humor was slipped in there was amazing. In the rebellious little sister and the sarcastic magic paper bird, just amazing.
The way this story was told was another highlight for me. I was not expecting it to go in the direction it did, multiple times. But truly, it is top notch storytelling. It’s vivid, and shocking, and thrilling, and all around spectacular.
I don’t want to say too much because I don’t want to give anything away. But this world, it is one that is so vast. There are dragons and demons and magic plants. There are hidden plots and danger lurking behind the corner. Shiori ventures to places she doesn’t expect, and so many different things are thrown her way. She has to deal with being cursed and trying to save her brothers and trying to stay alive.
Just, this is a brilliantly told book, with brilliant characters, and a brilliant world. It went in directions I was not expecting, and I ended up loving it because of exactly that.
If it’s not obvious, I loved this book. It is amazingly written and told, I fell completely in love with Shiori, and just everything about it as spectacular.