Song of the crimson flower by Julie C. Dao | The Nocturnal Fey

[INTL Blog Tour] Song of the Crimson Flower by Julie C. Dao ARC Review

<strong>Song of the Crimson Flower </strong> Book Cover
Song of the Crimson Flower Series: Rise of the Empress #2.5 Genre: Young Adult, Fantasy Publisher: Philomel Books Format: Advanced Reading Copy Pages: 288 Source: Penguin Random House International

From the acclaimed author of Forest of a Thousand Lanterns comes a fantastical new tale of darkness and love, in which magical bonds are stronger than blood.

Will love break the spell? After cruelly rejecting Bao, the poor physician’s apprentice who loves her, Lan, a wealthy nobleman’s daughter, regrets her actions. So when she finds Bao’s prized flute floating in his boat near her house, she takes it into her care, not knowing that his soul has been trapped inside it by an evil witch, who cursed Bao, telling him that only love will set him free. Though Bao now despises her, Lan vows to make amends and help break the spell.

Together, the two travel across the continent, finding themselves in the presence of greatness in the forms of the Great Forest’s Empress Jade and Commander Wei. They journey with Wei, getting tangled in the webs of war, blood magic, and romance along the way. Will Lan and Bao begin to break the spell that’s been placed upon them? Or will they be doomed to live out their lives with black magic running through their veins?




Julie C. Dao is back with another magical tale with Song of the Crimson Flower following her stunning debut with Forest of A Thousand Lanterns in 2017 and followed by its sequel, Kingdom of The Blazing Phoenix in 2018.

Song of the Crimson Flower hit the shelves last November 5th 2019 bringing in a fantastical story about love and bond.

Star-crossed lovers?

Depicting the adventures of Lan and Bao, this Rise of The Empress novella is a quest to break a spell whilst proving that proves that bonds are stronger than blood. As they go on with their journey, they discovered a growing affection with each other that they never knew they have.

Lan and Bao grew up together and have known each other for over a decade. However, Lan being a daughter of a noble family while Bao being an orphan — who was taken as physician apprentice by Lan’s family friend — has put a huge gap between them. To add to this fate, Lan is betrothed to (and in love with) Tam, the self-centered son of the Huynh’s (Bao’s master and where he lives).

Due to some circumstances, Bao was forced to flee from what he thought was home and sailed through the rives until he came across a witch.

… who cast a spell to Bao (by mistake) as a result.

The pursuit to break a spell.

Bao needed Lan as he hunt for the key to break the spell.

And Lan, hurt and all after discovering what she believed real all her life turned out to be an illusion, seeks a much needed escape from home and her family. So, up she went with Bao!

Impeccable storytelling!

Without a doubt with Julie C. Dao! There’s nothing to get disappointed when it comes to the way she delivers her masterpieces.

Song of the Crimson Flower is short and straightforward unlike its precedents which are more complex and have more actions and all in particular. But I didn’t mean that as a bad thing! In fact, even with it being short (and me having a little anxiety at the last few pages), the novella didn’t fail to deliver a whole new adventure.

Related: Princess Jade from Kingdom of the Blazing Phoenix Fan Art (Time-lapse video)

I actually expected it to be get quite rushed towards the end (BECAUSE THERE WAS JUST FEW PAGES BUT A LOT IS HAPPENING!), but it didn’t.

Final verdict

Overall, Song of the Crimson flower is more laid-back with just the right amount of magic, adventure, romance, and more. The book has all the elements that can keep a reader engaged from start to finish.

It felt like there’s a lot more room for more story to tell, but at the same time it didn’t feel lacking in a way. Somewhere in the grey area of wanting more and feeling already satisfied with how it wrapped up.

A great companion novel to read if you can’t get over with the Rise of the Empress universe (I mean, who would?!). Also a new addition to your Asian-lit list!

Disclaimer: I received an ARC from Penguin Random House International in exchange for an honest review in participation for a blog tour. This doesn’t affect my opinion of the book in this review in any way.

I have organized blog tours for all of Julie C. Dao’s book (together with Raf from The Royal Polar Bear Reads) now, and I’d absolutely never get tired of doing so. The tour was originally scheduled to take place last Nov 5th to 10th. But due to technical difficulties, we’ve unanimously decided to reschedule it to Nov 12th to 17th.

My review is a tad bit late because of some *personal* matters. Huge thanks to Raf for being an amazing co-host and to all the participants for joining us and gracing us with your lovely reviews.. Especially to PRH International and Julie C. Dao for this amazing opportunity.


julie c dao

Julie C. Dao

Julie C. Dao ( is a proud Vietnamese-American who was born in upstate New York. She studied medicine in college, but came to realize blood and needles were her Kryptonite. By day, she worked in science news and research; by night, she wrote books about heroines unafraid to fight for their dreams, which inspired her to follow her passion of becoming a published author. Forest of a Thousand Lanterns is her debut novel. Julie lives in New England. Follow her on Twitter @jules_writes.


November 12th
Erika from The Nocturnal Fey
Rafael from The Royal Polar Bear Reads
Jenny from Levicorpvs Blog
Bryan from Bryan Hoards Books

November 13th
Michelle from Magical Reads
Jessica from Endless Chapters
Lana from Bibliomedico
Sumedha from The Wordy Habitat

November 14th
Fatina from Amazing Distance
Myrth from Tales Past Midnight
Ruthsic from YA on My Mind
Prin from Princess and Pages

November 15th
Rebecca from Bookingway Reads
Kathleen from The Last Reader
Shenwei from READING (AS)(I)AN (AM)ERICA
V from Lina’s Reviews: A Book Blog

November 16th
Silvana from siilbookishpastrychef
Lili from Utopia State of Mind
Dexter from Dexter Totalus
Maham from Shortcake Bibliophage

November 17th
Leslie from Bibliophilekid
Jen from Jen D Bibliophile
Tiffany from Second Hand Pages
Shanice from Noellareads

Blog tour organized by: The Nocturnal Fey and The Royal Polar Bear Reads

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