Shiori is the emperor’s only daughter, raised in the beautiful Kingdom of Kiata, where magic is forbidden. The only problem is that she discovered that she has magical powers. This has both intrigued and frightened her. What will her father do if he finds out?
Shiori is set to marry next year when she turns 17. She is less than enthused about marriage since she has no desire to marry or leave her six brothers. Shiori and her siblings are very close, and she realizes that as they get older, they will all have separate duties and won’t be able to spend as much time together as they did growing up. Her marriage has been arranged for years, and she has no interest in getting to know her betrothed, Takkan.
Problems begin to arise when a paper crane that Shiori folded comes to life and exposes itself in front of her brother, Hasho, right before her betrothal ceremony. Shiori decides to chase after her paper friend and ends up in a lake where she comes across a dragon! After nearly drowning in the lake and missing the betrothal ceremony, she decides to be honest about seeing the dragon though none of her six brothers believe her. They think this was all an excuse to escape the ceremony.
Later, Shiori discovers that her stepmother, Raikama, has magic and is determined to tell her father immediately. Before she has the chance, Raikama casts Shiori and her brothers out of the kingdom. Her brothers are turned into cranes, and Shiori is told that one brother will die for every word that passes her lips. Separated from her brothers, Shiori doesn’t lose hope and is determined to reunite with them and expose her stepmother for the sorceress she is.
I ran across this book the other day on Goodreads and decided to add it to my TBR list, and I’m so glad I did. This book was amazing. It picks up from the very beginning and never loses steam. There wasn’t a dull moment.
As the story unfolds and clues are given about the magic that some people may or may not have, I started questioning everyone’s motives. Why was Raikama so quick to banish Shiori and her brothers? Why not kill then? Who else has magic? Did the Emporer know that his wife is a sorceress? How many secrets are in the kingdom that Shiori loved so much? Who can she truly trust? I won’t go into detail b/c I don’t want to give the story away. As you read the book, you may want to remember my title for this review.
The world-building was great. The descriptions made everything seem so vivid, and the author did an excellent job with character development. Shiori matured so much during the span of the novel. But even with the changes, she still held on to the qualities I liked most- her stubbornness and bravery.
As I’ve stated in previous posts, Raybearer has been my number one read for 2021, but now I’m not so sure. This book may have taken the top spot. These characters are still on my mind days after finishing. I highly recommend checking this one out if you’re a fan of YA Fantasy. You won’t be disappointed.
Discussion – Spoiler Alert
I became so frustrated with how Shiori would always run off and get herself into trouble. Time and time again, she runs headfirst into dangerous situations that always get her in a horrible position. Like when she followed Raikama through the garden; when she left the cave after her brothers told her to stay; when she was determined to use Zairena’s spinning wheel. Like girl, can we please think things through??!!
One thing I did love was the romance that blossomed between her and Takkan. She was so determined not to get married that she never took the time to know him. After bumping into him and seeing how he always had her back, she softened up, which had me smiling the entire time. I love how their relationship developed. I love how he never gave up on her and didn’t treat her differently because of the bowl on her head.
I’m hoping that she can get back to her family in part two without too much time passing. Is it just me, or do you think Seryu likes her? I’m hoping this doesn’t turn into some love triangle. I want Shiori and Takkan to work out. I also felt that Seryu is hiding something. There are times during this novel when I felt like he knew way more than he let on.
What would you like to see in part 2?