Six Crimson Cranes #2

This is the second book in a duology, there may be spoilers for book one, so read at your own peril. If you would like to read my review for book one, click here.

The Dragon’s Promise by Elizabeth Lim

Publication Date: August 30, 2022

Summary from NetGalley:

Princess Shiori made a deathbed promise to return the dragon’s pearl to its rightful owner, but keeping that promise is more dangerous than she ever imagined.

She must journey to the kingdom of dragons, navigate political intrigue among humans and dragons alike, fend off thieves who covet the pearl for themselves and will go to any lengths to get it, all while cultivating the appearance of a perfect princess to dissuade those who would see her burned at the stake for the magic that runs in her blood.

The pearl itself is no ordinary cargo; it thrums with malevolent power, jumping to Shiori’s aid one minute, and betraying her the next—threatening to shatter her family and sever the thread of fate that binds her to her true love. It will take every ounce of strength Shiori can muster to defend the life and the love she’s fought so hard to win.

ARC provided by Random House via NetGalley for an honest review.

Confession:

I really enjoyed this sequel to one of my favorite reads from 2021. It made me very happy that we got to see more of Seryu, although I would have liked more of him and the dragon world. But I am getting a bit ahead of myself. This sequel has all of the heart, romance and action that the first book does, and I loved the mythology and the stories that the author related here. But there was a little bit of a lack of cohesiveness in the plot which made it slow in parts and even a bit confusing at times.

Shiori shows so much growth in her character in this book. She really gains in confidence while maintaining her witty banter with her family and with Kiki. I loved some of the scenes that she remembers about her family that kept her going when things seemed bleak. Her relationship with Takkan also grows ever stronger in this book, and I loved that they had each others backs no matter what.

Seryu still remains one of my favorite characters and I just loved him in this book. He gives up quite a lot for Shiori, which I never felt like she appreciates fully. But their dynamic and friendship is strained during their time in the dragon kingdom. I wish there had been a better ending to their story.

I really enjoyed some of the new characters that we met. Elang is a half dragon, half human that just captivated me with his sorrow at not belonging in either world. Gen is a young sorcerer that is trapped in the Ai’long and Shiori helps to escape. I really hope that these two get a spin off book, as they both have very interesting stories and personalities that I would love to see developed.

I think my main issue was with the slight incohesiveness of the story as a whole. There was a lot going on, with many plot lines, which were on one level connected, but many of them could have been dropped and would not have been missed in the overall scheme of things. This plot issue did drag things down at times, especially in the middle. The ending also seemed a bit rushed and it was a bittersweet one as well. The ending does fit very well with the world and the mythology that the author had crafted but it might have been nice to see a happier one.

I really enjoyed this second in this marvelous duology. The author does a fantastic job of world building and her writing will often leave you breathless. Even with the few issues with the plot, this is still a great story that I think many will enjoy.

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