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

Song of the crimson flower
Published: 11/5/2019
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…

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.

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