Author: Elizabeth Lim
From the New York Times Bestselling author of Six Crimson Cranes comes a thrilling new 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, Takkan. 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 is the concluding novel in the Six Crimson Cranes duology. The story picks up right where the last novel left off as Shiori’anma (Shiori), the youngest daughter of the Emperor of Kiata, is on her way to the Realm of Dragons, Ai’long, where she promised Seyru, the favored grandson of the Dragon King, she would return the pearl to his grandfather, Nazayun, yet also promised to return it to the wraith.
In Ai’long, Shiori faces many new challenges and dangers. Lim does a great job of world-building with the new setting and characters as Shiori navigates this unfamiliar place. There is a lot in this part of the story, so I hope there is a spin-off where readers can further explore Ai’long and its inhabitants. Through this journey, Seyru and Shiori’s relationship is further explored. In the first novel, Seyru does a lot for Shiori and continues this trend in this novel. While Shiori’s character seems like she would be appreciative of this, I wish there was a little more to this part of the story. There were many moments in Ai’long where I wish this was its own novel as there was enough material there to keep the reader interested.
Along with Ai’long, the story takes Shiori back to Kiata and to another new location. The demon king, Bandur, continues to loom in the background. During these moments, there continued to be dangers and character development. Kiki, the paper crane who came to life, along with Shiori’s brothers were excellent side characters in this story and it was nice to continue to explore their relationships with Shiori. Along with the family and friendships, the romance between Takkan, the prince from a kingdom near Kiata, was sweet. They face many obstacles in their relationships, yet they work together to overcome them.
Along with more exploration of the characters above, there is also more information given for Raikama, a sorceress and Shiori’s stepmother. Shiori and Raikama shared a strained relationship in the first novel, so it was interesting to learn more about Raikama’s past and how the previous events have shaped Shiori. While Bandur became the main center, the original evil at the very beginning of the duology was Raikama. The transition for Raikama being the only threat to Bandur’s presence emerging was a nicely done transition.
Overall, this was a great duology that weaved together fairy tales and mythology. While I love the story, I do wish that this were a trilogy where Ai’long was book two and the rest of the novel was book three. For me, this would have allowed for more exploration of everything and to help some parts of the pacing from seeming rushed. The characters all go through a lot in this duology, and I loved the themes of family and self-discovery that were carried throughout. Although there were some elements that were not perfect for me, I did love my reading experience and look forward to reading more from the author in the future!
**I give a special thank you to Netgalley and the publisher for the opportunity to read this entertaining novel. The opinions expressed in this review are completely my own.**