Biblioshelf Musings – Six Crimson Cranes by Elizabeth Lim

Hello Bibliofriends!

This week’s Biblioshelf Musings is Six Crimson Cranes by Elizabeth Lim. Sometimes you start a novel and know immediately that you are going to absolutely love and devour it – Six Crimson Cranes was one of those books! It completely transported me into a world of utter magic and fairytale.

Thank you to the publishers Hodder and Stoughton and the author Elizabeth Lim for providing me with a complimentary e-ARC of this book through NetGalley in exchange for an honest review. I didn’t manage to finish reading the whole e-ARC before it was archived but I was so thrilled when an exclusive edition of Six Crimson Cranes arrived in my July Fairyloot box – it has the most beautifully detailed cover and the sprayed edges feature the six cranes and Kiki the origami crane! It’s a work of art and I love it so much!

Book: Six Crimson Cranes by Elizabeth Lim
Genre: Fantasy / YA
Publication Date: 8th July 2021
Publisher: Hodder and Stoughton
Pages: 454
Rating: 📚📚📚📚

Synopsis (from Goodreads)

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.

Peniless, 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.

My Musings

Elizabeth Lim’s voice and storytelling style conjured up a whole world in my head which I found fascinating. From the mountains, forests, rivers and seas, from Iro to Gindara and the dragon realms and islands in between there was always a new landscape to get completely immersed and lost in. It’s definitely one I’m adding to my bucket list of fictional worlds that I need to travel to.

I enjoyed that this was more than just your average retelling of The Wild Swans. I’m more familiar with the Grimm version (The Twelve Brothers) but I enjoyed the way that the author stayed true to the Anderson fairytale by weaving it into a stunning narrative then filling it up with extra characters and additional plot points. There was plenty of action, drama and complicated obstacles for the characters to overcome. The whole narrative exuded a magical quality, almost like lots of little moments from my favourite Disney movies all weaved together like golden threads intermittently throughout.

Shiori’s character initially came across to me as quite childish and naïve, everything she was supposed to be as a Princess living a fairly sheltered life – but then following the curse and the hardships she faced, her character was given the space to grow and mature. By the end of the novel I was championing her due to how much she had evolved through all of her trials and tribulations. Kiki, the sentient origami crane was so adorable that I had to have a go at creating some of my own!

Seryu the dragon shapeshifter was so fascinating and I’m excited to hopefully explore a bit more of the Ai’Long Realm in the next book. Takkan’s role in the story brought a little bit of romance which I was completely here for, but I’m being a little sceptical of a potential love triangle appearing in the sequel… I could be barking up the complete wrong tree though so I guess I’ll have to wait for book 2 to find out!

Several years ago, I remember reading a Chinese proverb about how an invisible thread connects those who are destined to meet regardless of time, place or circumstance. As a big believer of fate and divine intervention etc. I was so taken by this idea and here, in Six Crimson Cranes, Elizabeth Lim incorporated it so beautifully into her storyline that it made me love this book even more. All of the magical elements and events relating to the threads of fate and Shiori’s weaving of the starstroke were so vivid that it definitely appealed to all of my reading tastebuds!

Just on a personal note, I found the ending to be slightly drawn with regards to one particular character. I appreciate that it was setting up for a sequel but I was way more interested in the outcome of the narrative between Raikama’s and Zairena’s characters because I found them so intriguing and hope we get to see them later in the series.

Overall, Six Crimson Cranes is one of my new favourite fairytale retellings. Elizabeth Lim’s story manages to exude mysticism, drama and folklore from every page. Stunning!

Find out more about this book here:

NetGalley | Publisher Website | Amazon | Waterstones | | Goodreads | Author’s Twitter: @LizLim | Author’s Website

Connect with me here:

Twitter | Goodreads | Book Sloth: @thebiblioshelf | Email:

#Friday56 – Twelve: Poems Inspired by the Brothers Grimm Fairy Tale

Happy FriYAY Bibliofriends!

This week’s Friday 56 comes from Twelve: Poems Inspired by the Brothers Grimm Fairy Tale by Andrea Blythe which I received as an eARC from NetGalley in exchange for an honest review. Thanks to Andrea Blythe and Interstellar Flight Press for the copy. It was a bewitching, fresh retelling of a classical Brother Grimm story of the Twelve Princesses.

Hosted by Freda’s Voice, the Friday 56 is a weekly bookish prompt. It’s quite easy to do and could cover no end of different books and genres so seems great if you’re looking for a quick snippet to discover something new!


*Grab a book, any book.
*Turn to page 56 or 56% in your eReader (If you have to improvise, that’s ok.)
*Find any sentence, (or few, just don’t spoil it)
*Post it.
*Add your (url) post here in Linky. Add the post url, not your blog url.
*It’s that simple.

The Black Fox could steal anything – jewels hidden inside castle keeps, entire towers full of gold or the tower itself, kisses and secrets and lives.

This is such a wonderfully short and sweet read. If you’re a fan of fairytales and modern retellings which give the protagonists their own identity and voice then there’s sure to be a lit for you to like in Twelve. If you want to find out more about Twelve: Poems Inspired by the Brothers Grimm Fairytale then you can check out my full review here.

Amazon | Interstellar Flight Press| Author’s Website | Twitter | NetGalley

Are you a fairytale fanatic? What’s your favourite fairy tale retelling? As always, drop me a comment to chat!

T xx

Connect with me here:

Twitter | Goodreads | Book Sloth: @thebiblioshelf |Email:

Biblioshelf Musings – Twelve: Poems Inspired by The Brothers Grimm Fairytale

Aloha Bibliofriends,

Fairytales have always had a special place in my heart. I love reading and analysing them so much so that my university dissertation was based on the tale of Sleeping Beauty and a whole section of my bookshelves are dedicated to fairytale theory books from the likes of Jack Zipes, Bruno Bettelheim and Marina Warner. When I came across Twelve: Poems Inspired by The Brothers Grimm Fairytale by Andrea Blythe as an eARC on NetGalley I was immediately captivated and wanted to read it. Thank you to Interstellar Flight Press, Andrea Blythe and NetGalley for providing me with a copy of the book in exchange for an honest review.

Book: Twelve: Poems Inspired by The Brothers Grimm Fairytale by Andrea Blythe
Genre: Fairytales / Poetry
Publication Date: September 7th 2020
Publisher: Interstellar Flight Press
Pages: 64
Rating: 📚📚📚📚

Synopsis (from Goodreads)

Twelve is a poetic retelling of the Brothers Grimm fairytale “The Twelve Dancing Princesses.” Bewitching and beguiling, this short series of linked poems takes the reader to the underground realm and back, following the stories of twelve princesses and their life after the magic shoes.

My Musings

To me, fairytales are the original story. With elements of folklore and oral-storytelling passed on from generation to generation until they are finally written down and published for anyone to read, it’s no wonder that each of these amazing stories have different variations and attributes linking to a myriad of cultures across our planet. Modern-day retellings often seek to gender-bend or feminise these tales, questioning the traditional roles of the obedient princesses who require a loving stereotypical marriage as their happily ever after.

In Twelve, Andrea Blythe manages to pull off a modern retelling in spectacular fashion whilst retaining the elements of fairytales and storytelling which all of its fans love. Taking each sister one by one, Blythe dedicates each of the Twelve Princesses with their own unique voice and identity giving fresh substance and purpose to the once subservient, archaic damsels-in-distress in search of their prince.

As characters of their own, we see the ringleader whose decision it was to condemn their failed suitors to death; the sister whose stubbornness and obstinance defied punishment and carried on her dancing regardless of the King’s ruling; the wannabe-baker who despite being told to stay out of the kitchen ends up finding more than one passion in the pantry; the Belle-like book-lover who managed to camouflage herself amidst the stacks.

Twelve was not quite poetry in the form I was anticipating and represents more of a prose-style narrative, however the writing was lyrically beautiful just the same. Language and imagery contribute to a huge part of my enjoyment in a book and, for something shorter than what I’m used to reading, Blythe brought this in spades! The haunting imagery of the Third Sister’s tale is sure to resonate with any bibliophile who has ever been lost and caught up in their own little bookish world.

The Author’s Note at the end seeks to clarify Blythe’s inspiration for writing these wonderful poems. It gives credence to the fact that she is well-versed in the genre and this tale in particular. It was interesting to read her motivations for writing Twelve and take on board her own viewpoint in bringing these stories to life.

Favourite Quotes:

Her blood spit within her veins like dragon fire.

The library became her realm. She slept on the nests of old discarded pamphlets and nourished herself on the pages she consumed.

She might read you and find in your flesh the story that shapes you.

Any small fraction of magic could have settled itself under her skin.

Why Should I Read This?

For the bewitching storytelling.
For a fresh uplift on a classical fairytale.
For the diverse representations and identities of the Twelve Princesses.

Any reader with a passion for fairytales is sure to find something to enjoy in this short and sweet collection of poems based on tale of The Twelve Princesses from The Brothers Grimm.

Find out more about this book here:

Amazon | Interstellar Flight Press| Author’s Website | Twitter | NetGalley

Connect with me here:

Twitter | Goodreads | Book Sloth: @thebiblioshelf |Email: