Hey loves! Today I’m back with another episode of ‘Elizabeth Lim made me cry with her gorgeous world-building and story telling’, see: Spin the Dawn, Unravel the Dusk, Six Crimson Cranes and The Dragon’s Promise reviews for past examples of this.
Her Radiant Curse is an origin story for one of the side characters of the Six Crimson Cranes duology, Shiori’s stepmother. If you’re familiar with the duology then be prepared to feel extremely emotional, but if you haven’t read it yet then Her Radiant Curse is an excellent starting point for Lim’s wonderful world, you can head straight to reading the Six Crimson Cranes and The Blood of Stars duologies straight after!
Full review below!
About the Book
Title: Her Radiant Curse
Author: Elizabeth Lim
Release Date: August 29th 2023
Source: eARC gifted by the publisher (this in no way affects my review which is honest and unbiased)
One 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.
Her Radiant Curse starts off throwing you straight into the action, with the mother of Channari (Channi) having a difficult labour whilst giving birth to Vanna, her little sister. Channi’s father does the unimaginable, he tries to sacrifice Channi to try and save the mother’s life. So, we meet Angma, the demon witch, early and within the first chapter. She vows to return for Vanna, cursing Channi’s appearance at the same time.
From chapter two we get a pretty big time skip of 17 years, and Vanna has grown into a woman of renowned beauty, whilst Channi has been hidden by her father and stepmother due to the curse. In spite of their wildly differing upbringings, the two sisters love each other unconditionally and it’s clear that Channi especially will do whatever it takes to keep Vanna safe.
One cool thing that happened when Channi was cursed is that she gained the ability to talk to snakes, which leads to a prevalent side character of Ukar, her best friend who just so happens to be a literal snake. Ukar is an adorable addition, even though he’s small he does everything to protect Channi, and she protects him as much as possible also.
There is a bit of a romance element to Her Radiant Curse, but throughout the story the emphasis remains on family and, with Ukar and other snakes, it’s really found family. When human characters found her less worthy due to her looks, the snakes saw past this and accepted her as one of her own.
There is another character from the Six Crimson Cranes duology who we find out more about, and it makes the events of The Dragon’s Promise a lot more significant.
Ultimately, if you’re already a fan of Lim’s work then Her Radiant Curse adds more depth to the existing stories and you’ll also love this instalment into the world. If you’re unfamiliar with her work then it really is an excellent starting point, and I’d highly recommend investing in the other four books at the same time!
Will you be preordering this?
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