From the New York Times bestselling author of SIX CRIMSON CRANES comes a tale of two sisters—one as beautiful as the other is monstrous—who must fight to save each other when a betrothal contest gone wrong unleashes an evil that could sever their bond forever.
One sister must fall for the other to rise.
Channi was not born a monster. But when her own father offers her in sacrifice to the Demon Witch, she is forever changed. Cursed with a serpent’s face, Channi is the exact opposite of her beautiful sister, Vanna—the only person in the village who looks at Channi and doesn’t see a monster. The only person she loves and trusts.
Now seventeen, Vanna is to be married off in a vulgar contest that will enrich the coffers of the village leaders. Only Channi, who’s had to rely on her strength and cunning all these years, can defend her sister against the cruelest of the suitors. But in doing so, she becomes the target of his wrath—launching a grisly battle royale, a quest over land and sea, a romance between sworn enemies, and a choice that will strain Channi’s heart to its breaking point.
Weaving together elements of The Selection and Ember in the Ashes with classic tales like Beauty and the Beast, Helen of Troy, and Asian folklore, Elizabeth Lim is at the absolute top of her game in this thrilling yet heart-wrenching fantasy that explores the dark side of beauty and the deepest bonds of sisterhood.
“A promise is not a kiss in the wind, to be thrown about without care. It is a piece of yourself that is given away and will not return until your pledge is fulfilled.
I am using the exact same quote that I used in A Dragon’s Promise as that story is not a continuity but rather the birth of what will happen many years after in the Six Crimson Crane Duology.
Thank you Hodder & Stoughton for sending me this advanced reading copy through Netgalley! This has no influence whatsoever on my review.
WARNING: don’t read this review if you haven’t read that duology already or you’ll have spoilers!
At the end of A Dragon’s Promise, I wrote: “What I also loved in this sequel was that we got to see her mother in law not as a villain but as someone who loved Shiori deeply and had made great sacrifices to protect her and her brothers. I was all misty eyes learning about her youth and what she went through. Knowing that she was finally loved was a balm for the heart.”
Well I was so happy when I realized that we would now have more or her mother in law’s story!
Because Her Radiant Curse is her story, Channi’s story.
How she got the face of a monster “thanks” to her awful father at a tender age, how she promised her dying mother that she’ll always protect her sister Vanna and how their fate will unfold, ending up on Channi being heartbroken and trying to heal by having a new family with seven orphaned children.
That story is centered around two main elements:
- The curse that afflicted Channi but also in a twisted way Vanna’s curse
Channi was an amazing character and what was done to her, how she suffered as a little girl, trying to carve her ugliness out of her face really broke my heart. I was so mad at her father for sacrificing her to the witch!
But at the same time, that curse is also what made Channi what she’ll be: a very strong and competent young woman. Channi also was a very compassionate person and even If the villagers and the kids treated her poorly, she’d never hurt them.
Knowing what happened to her in the Six Crimson Cranes duology only made me want to hug her extra hard and change her future! Elisabeth Lim did a number on my poor heart here!
All the story will see Channi determined to protect Vanna from her fate, protect her from the witch and maybe, hopefully, break her own curse in the process.
- Sisterhood and the deep love these two siblings have for each other.
And in that way, it truly is connected to Six Crimson Cranes duology as my review at that time mentioned:
“Family is also a big theme in that story and this is something that I loved reading about seeing how tight the family bonds were between Shiori and her six brothers. “
Vanna and Channi’s love was so heartwarming to read about!
I don’t know if Elisabeth Lim has siblings but everything was in the small moments: the comb of each other’s hair to sleep, the press of both cheeks together, the gift of a wild orchid on every birthday and also in the sacrifices they’ll make for each other!
Once again, Elisabeth Lim’s writing is enchanting! I read that story like I would watch a vivid painting! Between lush jungles, sandy shores, fighting arenas, ships “powered” by dragon, going from humble huts through temples and palaces, the story is flying by, sweeping you off your feet. There is never a dull moment and all along we hope against all hope for another ending.
Elisabeth Lim has created a story filled with magic and action that will make you forget the world for a few hours, wishing that you could help Channi break her curse, save her sister and finally have peace.
Thanks for reading.