I received this book via Netgalley, the publisher Knopf Books for Young Readers. This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of this review.The Dragon's Promise by Elizabeth Lim
Series: Six Crimson Cranes #2
Published by Knopf Books for Young Readers on 2022-08-30
Length: 490 pages
Reviewing eARC from Netgalley, the publisher Knopf Books for Young Readers
Reading Challenges: #NGEW2022, 2022 Finishing the Series Reading Challenge, 2022 New Release Challenge, COYER 2022
From the New York Times Bestselling author of Six Crimson Cranes comes the thrilling next adventure! A journey to the kingdom of dragons, a star-crossed love, and a cursed pearl with the power to mend the world or break it... Fans of Shadow and Bone will devour this soaring fantasy.
Princess Shiori made a deathbed promise to return the dragon's pearl to its rightful owner, but keeping that promise is more dangerous than she ever imagined.
She must journey to the kingdom of dragons, navigate political intrigue among humans and dragons alike, fend off thieves who covet the pearl for themselves and will go to any lengths to get it, all while cultivating the appearance of a perfect princess to dissuade those who would see her burned at the stake for the magic that runs in her blood.
The pearl itself is no ordinary cargo; it thrums with malevolent power, jumping to Shiori's aid one minute, and betraying her the next—threatening to shatter her family and sever the thread of fate that binds her to her true love. It will take every ounce of strength Shiori can muster to defend the life and the love she's fought so hard to win.
The Dragon’s Promise by Elizabeth Lim is the finale to Six Crimson Cranes and one of my most anticipated books this year. I adored Six Crimson Cranes and really couldn’t wait to dive into Shiori’s story. However, I don’t know if it was my anticipation or the writing itself that caused my lower rating. In The Dragon’s Promise, Shiori and her brothers are home, and Raikama’s death weighs heavy on them all, especially Shiori. With the promise to return the pearl to its rightful owner, Shiori sets off with Seryu to the dragon’s kingdom, leaving all she loves behind and not knowing if she will return. The story follows her adventures in the underwater realm and the peril she faces with the demons in the mountain.
I love Shiori, and I still do. She is such a strong character. Her love and loyalty to her brothers and the growing love between her and Takkan is beautiful. Her growth over the series is truly evident here in all that she faces to protect Kiata. I love her magic and Kiki, her paper crane. Kiki is fantastic, and basically the inner voice of Shiori. Despite loving Shiori, the story itself struggled.
While I love all the characters and the world Lim has created for them, I did not enjoy this story. There was a lot of rehashing and repetition that occurred. Shiori’s trip to the dragon kingdom is roughly half the book, and as it was alluded to in book one, I expected a majority of the plot to take place here. However, it was disjoined. The events in the dragon kingdom do not bear much weight to what is happening in Kiata. The story with Bandur was truncated and at the same time drug out. Multiple chapters end the same way with little forward progression in the story. As a result, I found myself asking if Shiori’s story could have been down in a longer standalone book instead of a duology.
Overall The Dragon’s Promise was not my favorite read of the year. Despite that, I did enjoy parts. I loved Takkan and Shiori’s continued relationship, her brothers are amazing, and how the story wraps up is beautifully written (like brought me to tears). If you enjoy Asian folktales and legends, I highly recommend it. Lim has seamlessly crafted her own story weaving in threads from Asian culture. The Dragon’s Promise is a beautifully written, slower-paced novel about one girl’s heart and soul and where they belong.