Six Crimson Cranes Readalong: Day 1!

Gorgeous photo by @cait_reads2024

Hello Fairy Friends!  
How is everyone today? I hope you are all very excited for our Six Crimson Cranes readalong. I know I am, so let’s get started! 
It’s day 1 and we will be reading chapter, 1 to the end of chapter 8. Get comfy and be ready to be transported to a beautiful, magical land! When you’ve finished reading this section, please join me back here in the comments to chat all about it! 

Please be warned, the following section will include spoilers for Six Crimson Cranes by Elizabeth Lim, from chapter 1 to chapter 8. Please only read on if you’ve finished this section!


What a start! Shiori is drowning in a lake and things are not looking good for her until… she comes across a dragon!
Jumping back in time, we are suddenly following Shiori and her brother Hasho along the palace corridors to her betrothal ceremony, something she doesn’t seem too thrilled about! But what is she hiding up her sleeve? Literally. 
We are introduced to Kiki the flying paper bird. With Kiki flying out of reach we briefly meet her father, stepmother and her betrothed, the son of Lord Bushian, all ready for the dreaded ceremony! 
But Shiori has other ideas, Kiki needs to be found before her magical secret is exposed, a forbidden magical secret. With the Shiori chasing her across the palace, we discover how she ended up in that lake!  
But who saved her? Was it really the dragon? Shiori must explain to her very angry father why she missed her betrothal ceremony. What do we think of Shiori’s dad? And what does her stepmother know about the dragons? 

Everyone seems very strict with her! I wouldn’t be happy if I had to sit inside all day sewing while everyone is at the summer festival… At least she got to go any enjoy some of it.

At the festival, we find out it was a dragon called Seryu who saved her from the lake! He saved her with a piece of pearl and now they are connected, do we trust him? Not only that, but he is helping Shiori with her magic. Something tells me she’s not the only one in that palace with magic powers…

With Seryu gone and not returning till spring, it turns out Raikama is magic too! What just happened there?! Her stepmother had revealed her true self and put a curse on Shiori and her brothers, this is not looking good!

Shiori has been stranded on an island all alone with a bowl on her head that makes her unrecognisable, even to her own family. Why has her stepmother done this to her?
If that wasn’t enough!! Her brothers, who have been turned into cranes, will die if she speaks! Thank goodness she still has Kiki and she can communicate with her thoughts.

What a way to end our first day of the readalong, a lot just happened and I cannot wait to keep reading!

What did we all think?

Let me know your thoughts on the first few chapters of Six Crimson Cranes, and I’ll be back again tomorrow to talk more about it!



48 thoughts on “Six Crimson Cranes Readalong: Day 1!

  1. Hi everyone!

    Okay, so, thoughts… I actually am pretty invested in the plot so far, and the setting is great (and making me super hungry!). The magic seems cool and I love the big family dynamic. I also love Seryu to pieces, and can’t wait to get back to him. Looking at the art on the reverse of the dust jacket I see there’s another guy (her betrothed, maybe?), and so I’m sensing a love triangle might be in the books future.

    I don’t mind love triangles but honestly… in what world would you not pick the adorable green haired dragon boy with horns? Geez. ?

    Anyway, those are my positives. But does anyone else feel like the characters are written a bit young? I realise 16 isn’t exactly old, but they Shiori and Seryu strike me as seeming more in the realms of like 12-14 year olds in their behaviour. I really like them both, and I wouldnt have a problem if the book was about characters that age, I am also really struggling to reconcile the way they both act with the age that they are actually described, especially in Shiori’s case. ^^;

    Well, I suppose she probably has had a pretty sheltered life so maybe thats why. And it does leave a lot of room for her to grow. Regardless, I’m looking forward to continuing!

    1. I’m thinking it has to do with how sheltered they are, too! They’re both royalty and have been coddled their whole lives, especially Shiori.

      It’ll be interesting to see if they experience character development that “ages” them!

    2. I agree, it was enchanting but pretty young. I wasn’t expecting the characters and overall style to be quite that juvenile. Also, a lot of telling instead of showing. I found the pace to be very quick and a lot of things I actually wanted to be dragged out more. That being said, cool concept, snarky sarcastic characters, and magical realm are all good things!

    3. Ohhh ohh. I think the other guy in the illustration would have to be the lord’s son she was going to be betrothed to!

  2. Wow, it started with such a great start! I couldn’t put the book down. I love Kiki; she has the same sassy vibe we all want in character ? But this book has so much potential. Also, why do all good books have such good food references? Now I am craving a red bean bao bun! I knew her stepmother was evil; you can sense it from her. I can’t wait to read the following few chapters.

  3. This book is so easy to read! The pages just flow by, and I am enjoying falling into a new world that softly.
    I’m intrigued by Seryu right now, I mean, he is a DRAGON! And I think he will also be able to communicate with Shiori through their connection – although I don’t like taking away a characters ability to speak and then making them speak through their minds. But I’m curious to see where this all goes.
    I liked that Shiori’s brothers tried to prevent her being alone in a room with Raikama, even though at first they didn’t fully believe her. That’s what older brothers are for – I have two of those myself ^^

  4. Amazing read so far! I’m so on edge. Can’t tell if the step mother is being hard on her for a hidden reason or she is just mean ?

    1. I agree!

      She made a comment about hoping Shiori would see more than just the surface and being disappointed that she jumped to the conclusion that Raikama is a demon.

      Still, the harsh response isn’t doing Raikama any favors…

  5. Hi Grace, hi everyone~
    I’m super excited for this readalong, six crimson cranes is one of my most anticipated releases of 2021!

    So far I’m loving Shiori, she’s witty and full of life. True, she’s also a little childish, but I suppose that will be part of her character development.

    I’m intrigued by Raikama…is she really evil?and what exactly is she?
    I have a feeling there’s a lot more going on than just “she’s the evil stepmother”.

    Can’t wait to keep reading!

  6. I’m really enjoying the plot so far (love the dragon and kiki) but the part I struggled with was Shiori feeling a lot younger than her age. She’s supposed to be 16 but acts like she is much younger than that. I predict that will be part I’d her character growth for the story at least but I thought it was an interesting choice to portray her so young feeling in the beginning.
    I’m excited to keep reading!

  7. What a whirlwind of emotions there are too start. Anger at the betrothal, sadness at her punishment, joy at her relationship with her brothers and time with the dragon (I mean come on, who wouldn’t run after a dragon?). I nearly cried at what Raikama did to her and the brothers. I always like to give characters the benefit of the doubt but I don’t know how I can turn this into a good thing! I really hope Shiori ends up really powerful and kicks her a$$.

    I’m already really invested and will probably go and read the next set of chapters now ? I’ve been in a reading slump and so glad I finally got to start this subscription box after being on the waiting list. This read along is exactly what I needed!

    I agree with Bryony about the ages, they seem a bit immature for 16/17. That might be because I was more mature in my late teens and then digressed as I got older.

    See you all tomorrow!

  8. Such a great start into the book! I love Kiki, even more now that they can understand each other, I love their bond.
    I find Seryu very interesting, when they mentioned blood red eyes behind a dragon mask, I figured it must be the dragon Shiori saw in the lake.
    The stepmother was suspicious from the start, and her obsession with snakes ??
    I’m really curious to see how Shiori continues, especially not being able to talk. I also have a foreboding feeling that one of her brothers does die due to her making a sound or something. I’m hoping none do though!!
    I’m not sure if the reversible dust jacket shows one of her brothers or someone she meets along her journey, I can’t wait to find out!

  9. I was instantly drawn into the book by just the 1st few chapters. I loved how the author did not wait to far along the book to actually get into the main plot.

  10. This is great so far…as a foodie I adored the descriptions of the festival fare! And magic has come in early, hints of other worldly cities, a very realistic family dynamic…and then a catapult into the real meat of the story! Great pacing, though almost a little childish at times…I wonder if this is to highlight the coming of age and trials to come? I’m delighted and intrigued so far!

    1. I’m a foodie too and I am always drawn to scenes with food and sometimes even end up craving/eating specifically that dish for a meal. The foods mention at the Summer Festival definitely sounds good!! It makes me crave for it!

      I like how the author started off with an eventful scene. Some books tend to drag on before they hit some crucial scenes. I am really liking the flow of this book. I am enjoying it. I teared up a little when the stepmother ripped up Kiki! I really like this side character and such a cute personality!

  11. Hello everyone!
    Yes! A story with dragons ?, I love it!!
    I’ve never read the fairytale on which this retelling is based, do everything is a surprise. Didn’t even see it coming that her brothers would be cursed and turned into cranes ?. I like reading a book with no expectations, I also have never read a book by this writer.
    I like Kiki very much! And hopefully Shiori will find Seryu soon so she has someone besides Kiki to talk to!
    I’m gonna go and read some more, see you tomorrow!
    Love, Sandy.

  12. I agree with Bryony that she reads a lot younger than 16. I know she’s been sheltered but she’s a bit rebellious too so she could have been written to act a bit older not younger than her real age.

    I’m enjoying it but not loving it yet. It seems a weird thing to do – put someone on an island with a wooden bowl on her head… I’m not familiar with the original story so it will all be a surprise for me 🙂

    1. I’ve been thinking about that too…but she is in a family of older brothers, and she is her father’s favourite in a protected environment, so I think the child-likeness is a bit more explainable that way!

  13. Ok I’m super invested! I have no idea how on earth Shiori is going to get out of this situation with a bucket on her head and not being able to say ANYTHING! I am struggling with seeing how she is going to be able to interact with anyone if they can’t see her eyes and she can’t speak to them. I was immediately like “that’s not fair c’mon!!” But of course her stepmother must have a reason for doing this… I just don’t know what her motive would be. Steal the throne somehow?? Why would she want to get rid of all of the children? It’s just so odd! Anyways I’m excited to read what happens next. I might not be able to wait until tomorrow…. 🙂

  14. I’m finding it so easy to read and I just want to read more!! But I’m being good haha.

    I wasn’t sure if I would like the story but it’s actually so good and I am so excited to see what’s going to happen next.

  15. Okay, what a rollercoaster read! I accidentally read through chapter nine, but my comments will only address up through chapter 8.

    I think it’s curious how Raikama appeared to Shiori when she caught her during her transformation. Scales? A forked tongue? And Seryu mentioned that Raikama came from his world–an enchantress of sorts. But what if she’s bound to a dragon like Shiori is, which is why Raikama warned her not to trust dragons?

    Also, knowing that if you speak or even make a sound would kill your family is such a hefty toll to carry! And a bowl on her head? I wonder what that would look like–trying to picture it in my head is a bit comical, despite the dark magic imbued in it at this point.

    I wonder how/if Seryu will be able to help her and if he actually was afraid of her like Shiori thought, even if his response was that of someone of a higher order.

    And how is it that Shiori became capable of doing magic? And will there be consequences of learning to use it with her emotions?

    So much to unpack here! I thoroughly enjoyed the first eight chapters and can’t wait to dive into the next eight!

  16. I have to say that once I got going I had a hard time putting the book down. I love how it’s a retelling of one of my favorite stories growing up as a kid. So far it’s so beautifully written and I am so in love with Shiori. I never would have guessed that there was going to be Dragons, demons, and a crazy snake lady. I have to say that I really look forward to where the story is going next.


    My thoughts during the first few chapters:
    NGL I don’t like it…yet.

    I’m not sure what it is, but I didn’t like these first few chapters. I found them dull and kind of boring (definitely better than Spin the Dawn bc that was a dnf after page 2 for me).
    Anyway, I continued reading, finding Shiori and Kiki both kind of boring, but because of the read along I kept on reading. I don’t really get why magic is forbidden, like someone really should explain that to me… Did I miss something, or am I just stupid? Pls help.

    Raikama had my attention from moment one, the stepmom, she’s interesting. I need to know more about her (ngl, it wasn’t that surprising she has magical abilities too).

    So far the only character I really liked is Seryu, but that has probably something to do with the name and the fact that he is a dragon. As an avid manga reader and anime watcher I almost screamed when I saw the name Seryu in the book. The first time I heard it was in the anime Akame Ga Kill, and that’s not all “Seryu” reminded me of “Seiryu” which is the Blue Dragon in Akatsuki no Yona (Guys, go watch this anime/read the manga, if you haven’t already, it is SO good). So yes, I was immediately hyped about Seryu, excited to read more about him. And as I continued reading I started to like him more and more, he’s a nice character. He’s funny too.

    Another thing that bugged me, however, is that Shiori and Seryu both act like 13/14-year-old kids/teens. They remind me of how my little brother was two years ago, and that’s another thing about the book so far that I do not like.

    Anyway, overall these chapters were okay. We got introduced to a few characters, some kind of boring *ahum* Kiki *ahum* (I’m sorry, I don’t like Kiki), and some amazing (Seryuuuu).

  18. Oh this is soo good! I absolutely love it!
    What’s happening next? The poor brothers… atleast they belived Shiori at the end. Good that she still has a dragon and a paper bird on her side

  19. Wow! I am loving this book so far! SO excited to read more tomorrow! It for sure feels like a younger read (duh, Young Adult) but I am definitely here for it! It is super easy breezy to flow through which I appreciate in a book. My favorite character right now is Seryu for sure! I can tell it is set up for him to help her through this curse since they established that they can communicate through their minds. I would love to get some more backstories on the characters and some more worldbuilding but we ARE only 8 chapters in 🙂
    Anyways, see ya tomorrow! Happy reading!

  20. So my question about Raikama is why? What is the motive? Raikama doesn’t have children to put on the throne and she is already established as the emperors wife. So why?

    1. Maybe her first intention wasn’t to go after the brothers. Maybe she was only gathering their family energy to retain her youth and beauty? Maybe even immortality? And in order to stay/keep her status she had to get rid of them so no one will know.

  21. I adore Lim so I was really excited to dive into this one, I loved it from the start. I am very curious to find out more about the stepmom and how Shiori will be able to overcome this curse. Can’t wait to get to today’s chapters!

  22. I love how easy it was to fall into the plot and connect with the characters!! So much happens straight away, really interested to see what happens next!

  23. You’re spoiling me with dragons in these books recently! So much happening so quickly, a great way to grab us. I don’t think we know enough about the Raishana yet either, I was thinking early on that she was a dragon.
    Shiori is going to have to master her magic without words with the Curse and I think this could lead to her becoming quite powerful quickly.

  24. Really loving Six Crimson Cranes so far. The imagery of Shiori’s world is just so stunning and Lim’s writing style makes this a real page turner. I echo every comment, the plot has been so easy to fall into and the characters are likeable and easy to connect to. I love the fierce loyalties Shiori has towards her brothers and how brazenly open she is about her favourites, her father is giving me The Sultan from Aladdin vibes at the moment, I feel like he has been easily manipulated by Raishana. I am really looking forward to seeing where this book is heading!

  25. I’m usually picky with Asian inspired stories, but I’m loving this one right from the start! Its pulling me into the world completely.

    I love Kiki and I’m glad Shiori has Kiki at least since she’s alone and abounded now. I feel so sad for her!

  26. I’m really excited about this one! Actually I couldn’t stop myself at 90 pages for this day so I had to just keep going. Really love the writing, and the fairytale inspiration really seeps from the pages.

  27. I want to know more about the step mother’s connection with the dragon king. Is she working for the dragon king to overthrow the Kingdom of Kiata?

    I’m pretty sure that the fact that Shiri never saw her Fiancees face means that she will meet him at some point in the story & probably not realise who he is.

    I’m not familiar with the tale this story is based on so I’m in the dark about where this story may be going.

    I know this book is set in the same world as Spin the dawn, I think at an earlier point in history. I keep looking for Easter eggs & cross over characters.

  28. I am loving this start. It’s been a while since I’ve read a book that captured my interest so quickly, lately it’s taken me at least 1/3 of the way through a book to feel really invested. I raced through these first chapters though and am itching to catch up to the next set. Lim does a wonderful job of painting a world that feels rich and vibrant.

    I do agree that Shiori reads a little young. Not as much as other people seem to, I think I’d peg her as a slightly immature 15, but certainly not old enough to be betrothed. I think that may be where the disconnect is. Shiori’s written young, but her role in her family is more suited to a modern adult so she comes across as younger than she is. I don’t really mind it, actually. So many YA books seem to write teenagers like they’re 35 that an immature teenager is a refreshing change.

  29. I’m not familiar with the Six Swans fairytale, so this all so thrilling and new for me!

    I know Seryu is only in it a little so far, but I’m so excited – DRAGONS! I love how he can morph between forms, and his love of food – I can see him and Shiori bonding over that. And Kiki?! She seems like such a fun sidekick – a hint of snark and honesty to keep Shiori focused.

    On bated breath to see what happens next after Raikama’s / Stepmother’s curse!

  30. Hi everyone! I’m joining the party a bit late – last night I spontaneously decided to join as I couldn’t decide my next read (what better way than to let FairyLoot pick for me?!). Hopefully I will be able to catch up to the schedule tomorrow!

    This is one of my anticipated releases and I was thrilled to get started. But I have to admit, at the start I felt a bit… disappointed. I hadn’t expected it to written in the way it was (in my opinion, leaning towards middle grade). Though, as I came to realise and came to terms with it I became enchanted.

    I agree with people that Shiori and Seryu feel more like children than adult, but then again, I’m not sure I agree that Shiori acts younger than her age (Seryu is a dragon – so I’ll make an exception for him). Seryu reminds me a bit of Peter Pan – his boyishness, his confidence, and especially when he told Shiori that he is not afraid of anything.

    As I finished this day’s reading I am definitely onboard. It’s charming! I loved reading about the siblings, the festival, Seryu (why did you leave and when are you coming back?!), and I’m really excited to see how the story evolves! (I’m sure there is something more to Stepmother’s story, but right now I’m caught by Shiori’s feelings and totally onboard with disliking her!)

  31. The exposition is amazing. I love the magic that Elizabeth Lim captures in just the first few chapters. Seryu is a gem!

    Shiori and Seryu give me major Spirited Away vibes, which is kinda one of the retelling vibes I get from this book.

    I also love the fact that Shiori has a good relationship with her brothers. Too often, we see siblings pit against each other 🙁

  32. I’m a little late due to the holiday weekend but I’ve been so eager to start this book! I loved Elizabeth Lim’s other books and this one is off to a fabulous start too. Kiki is definitely my favorite character and I love Seryu’s bantering tone. Also really curious about Raikama’s motivations…I hope we learn more about that later on.

  33. I somehow didn’t notice the last stenciled crane on the edges was a paper crane until I was reading. ?

    Anyway – I’m behind, but really enjoying it! I didn’t realize there would be dragons! I’m hooked, and hoping to catch up, but my schedule is rather packed. ?

  34. I am really enjoying this so far. The story and characters are so cute, and I love the setting and premise of the story. I LOVE Seryu and I can’t wait to see more of him, I’m hoping we get some romance with him too. ❤️ The tone and character writing does seem a bit on the younger side of YA, but there’s nothing wrong with that. I think it’ll be nice to read this in between some of the heavier adult fantasy I read.

  35. I am really injoying it so far. I was easily hooked from the moment she was saved from drowning by a tiny dragon. I’m loving Shiori, her litte fiery spirit is great especially when she is with Seryu. Their Snark is so entertaining and too cute. Getting to see Shiori’s different relationships with her brothers is so wonderful. I love that familial love is her driving factor versus romantic love. Overall I’m really loving it I was surprised however by how quickly Raikama’s secret was revealed. I could tell the passing was going to be fast but I didn’t think it would be quite that fast.

  36. This is such an easy book to get into!

    I already love Shiori, Seryu, and the general fairytale vibes.

    One of the early comments discussed Shiori’s age and I enjoyed her being a young 16. Because YA thrusts young people into the spotlight, a lot of protagonist end up feeling older than they’re meant to be. Her character reflects how sheltered she’s been and I’m excited to see her grow over the course of the story.

  37. I’m so happy I have the physical copy of this book. First, all these additions make this fairyloot edition gorgeous!! Second, reading about the festival foods and seeing asian snacks being described made me smile the biggest of smiles because I feel represented!! No more “chinese food” or “general taos chicken” but actual red bean paste, rice cakes, sugar candies made in front of you!

  38. I know I’m late to comment on the read along, but usually I’m very busy during the week so it made it difficult to keep up with the schedule.

    I went to read this book blind, as I haven’t heard of the story it is based on and the only thing I knew about the book is that the six brothers would turn into six cranes.

    From the start I loved how everything was described and how the imagery made me see and feel as if I was in that world. Many of the things mentioned (the story of making one thousand cranes to make a wish come true, the food at the festival, the names of the characters) reminded me of the time I lived in Japan, so it added another reason for my enjoyment of the book.

    It was quite interesting the way the book started and the realisation that a dragon either saved her or toyed with her while she drowned. I really liked meeting the character of Seryu in the festival, and when there was a mention of a boy in a dragon mask with red eyes, I knew it would be the dragon. He is one of my favourite characters. I’m looking forward to seeing more of him.

    The stepmother intrigues me the most. I want to know why she was so interested in Shiori’s golden sash and why she seemed disappointed that Shiori was like the others that had jumped to conclusions by calling her a monster or demon.

  39. I’m behind on scedule, just as I expected ?.

    But I just finished the reading for day one and I love it! I’m a big fan of retellings, so I was really excited to start this story. It’s totally different from the original, but I love the twist and the dragons and the cute papercrane.

    Talking about dragons, I wonder why Raikama told Shiori to stay away from dragons. I think she got the scar from them. I’m also not sure if Raikama is the real danger in the story, it might be the dragons, though I don’t hope so. Anyway, I’m excited to begin on day 2 ?

  40. Like others im a bit behind xD

    I jumped in not really knowing what this book was about and the first 8 chapters were ok, I really only got invested once the curse was placed. I’m excited to see where the story goes and how Shiori and her brother will be united

  41. I’m really enjoying this book so far! Really love the different idea of a dragons than we are normally used to.

Leave a Reply