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.
I bought this book last year as I fell in love with the cover. When I learned that it was loosely inspired by The Wild Swans by Hans Christian Andersen, I was even more excited! I bought this last year and kept putting it off as I didn’t feel in the right mood to enjoy a fairytale retelling book. However I was in the mood for it last week as I read it and absolutely adored it! I actually read it in one day because I simply could not put this book down. I gave this book 5 stars because clearly I loved it since I devoured in so quickly.
While this was a fairytale inspired book, it was very much a fantasy novel. The world in this book was so vast and gorgeous, I just felt immersed in this world. The book had a map and I love a book with a map, it really helped to get my bearings and to really understand the journey ahead.
I felt bad for Shiori at the start as she really did not want to take part in their betrothal ceremony. She just wanted to spend time with her brothers who had grown up and didn’t spend as much time with her as when they were children. I really enjoyed the creepiness of Raikama, she was definitely hiding something and I wanted to know what.
I really enjoyed the characters in this book. Shiori really had quite the character arc and really grew into a capable person who would be able to lead. My favourite character was Kiki who was the sassy sidekick who was sarcastic and just brought so much comic relief. I grew very attached to this paper crane! I also really liked Seryu because they just didn’t care that Shiori was a princess, they were royalty too and didn’t care for mortal royals.
I loved the relationships in this book! I loved the relationship between Shiori and their brothers, it was so lovely and they were so protective of each other. I loved Takkan and Shiori bonding throughout the book. I especially loved the relationship between Shiori and Megari! I’d have loved more of these two together. I absolutely hated Zairena! Her existence made me so angry. I also thought she was far too comfortable in a home in which she was a guest. Congratulations to the author for making me feel such rage towards a character.
While this was inspired by a fairytale, this book took so many twists and turns that it became it’s own sort of fairytale. I didn’t know what was going to happen next. I saw one of the twists coming but I think we were meant to.
The beginning of this book hooked me, I just wanted to know what happened next. The middle I felt was a little slow but I also think that mah be due to my dislike of one of the characters. The ending was perfection and I cried. Of course I cried! This felt like a mixture of a bunch of fairytale that I didn’t know (plus one that I did). I absolutely love fairytale inspired books and I am so happy to have read this book. I am so excited to read the next book in the series.