Hodder & Stoughton | 29 August 2023 | 432 pgs
Source: Purchased 

This is a spin-off prequel of the Six Crimson Cranes duology and having read them and enjoyed Elizabeth Lim's writing, I can now say that I'm a fan of her. 

The setting of this story was different from the SCC duology but still there was a connection between a few characters. This is a story about two sisters who are polar opposite of each other yet their love for each other is boundless. Channi's world is turned upside down after the birth of her sister, who was born with a light in her chest. To save their mother's life, their father offers Channi as a sacrifice to the Demon Witch instead of Vanna, the beautiful and radiant newborn. In the midst of the chase, Channi is bitten by the Serpent King and thus her blood is poisoned. Angma, the Demon Witch then cast a curse on Channi with a serpent's face and vowed to get Vanna on her seventeenth birthday. While both girls are safe at the moment, Channi is no longer the same since she is now viewed as a monster. Despite Channi's appearance, Vanna is the only person who trust her and love her as who she is; alongside with Ukar, a snake whom Channi has become friends with (he's my favourite character among all). 

When Vanna is approaching seventeen and is to be married off in a vulgar contest, Channi sees herself as Vanna's protector but the biggest threat lies in the inner light in Vanna's chest; for this will unleash a battle not only with Angma who's been eyeing for it since Vanna's birth but also the rightful owner of that radiant light. 

I enjoyed this story and was impressed by Elizabeth Lim's writing and her storytelling once again. Her descriptive writing, her intriguing cast of characters and the plot drew me in as always. And in this book it also evoked an emotion in me as the author deftly weaves a story not only about loyalty and courage but also about sisterhood and unconditional love. Channi's narrative was engaging and I rooted for her from the beginning till the end. Her determination and her perseverance, as well as her love for Vanna never fail to amaze me and that last few chapters even had me teary-eyed. I'm sure fans of the SCC duology will appreciate this prequel and for readers who have not read any of this series, I think it'd be a good start to begin with this book. 

Finally, I want to thank Lark for going through this fantastical journey with me (read her review here). Reading is fun, but it's a lone pleasure/experience to the reader herself and that's why we've buddy reads! Here's to another great (buddy) reading year, Lark! 

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4 Responses
  1. Lark Says:

    Awesome review, Melody! Thanks for reading this one with me. It was a lot of fun. :D

  2. Melody Says:

    Thanks, Lark! I'm glad we read this book together. It sure was a lot of fun! :)

  3. I really want to read Six Crimson Cranes duology and now this too. I am so glad you and Lark enjoyed this prequel!

  4. Melody Says:

    Wendy - I loved this series and I hope you'll enjoy reading them as much as I did when you get to them, Wendy.

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