Six Crimson Cranes is a delightful adaptation of "The Wild Swans"; while retaining all of the tropes and major plot elements of the fairy tale, Lim also makes the story her own both in the way she fleshes out the details and in her East Asian folklore-inspired fantasy setting.
As mentioned in the introduction to this Enchanted Garden book pick, "The Wild Swans" is an example of the fairy tale type "The Brothers Who Were Turned Into Birds" or "The Maiden Who Seeks Her Brothers." The brothers in Lim's take on this tale type are turned into cranes, and it is up to their sister to save them.
Lim limits us to the perspective of the maiden--the princess Shiori--which allows us an excellent vantage from which to observe her character growth over the course of Six Crimson Cranes. This also helps to retain a strong sense of Shiori's agency, even as she is effectively cursed to silence throughout the majority of the book.
I will save delving into more details of analysis and comparison of Six Crimson Cranes to the fairy tale which inspired it for my discussion with Mary later this month. For now, my spoiler-free thoughts are thus: This is a highly entertaining, well-written fairy-tale novel that I recommend to anyone interested either in fairy-tale retellings or in YA fantasy more generally. Lim combines a more broadly Western fairy-tale type with East Asian folklore beautifully. I very much look forward to reading the sequel The Dragon's Promise, which just came out at the end of August.
Elizabeth Wilcox. Writer, Avid Role-Player, Amateur Mixologist. Survivor.