A Witch, A Curse, True Love and Crimson Flowers

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The Buzz

I enjoyed Forest of a Thousand Lanterns and I was excited to read about a "good" couple rather than an evil villain set in the same world. And I do like the idea of this being a companion novel and not a third book in the series.

While the cover isn't drawing me in I do find it pretty and it gives the feel of an old fashioned fairy tale which is definitely the tone of Song of the Crimson Flower. I don't hate the title either, it fits with the titles for the others in the series.

The Premise

We get to see a different side of blood magic when a nobleman's daughter cruelly rejects an orphan physician's apprentice in Song of the Crimson Flower. Bao gets cursed due to his love and is embroiled in a family feud that is rooted in a coming drug war.

I really enjoyed the fairy tale feel of this story. It's set in the same Asian based fantasy world as the Rise of the Empress duology so it has that old fashioned feel of a folklore or fairy tale. And we get a witch, a curse and true love that revisits some of the powerful characters from Kingdom of the Blazing Phoenix.

The entire journey in Song of the Crimson Flower is really heartfelt and showcases both Bao as a physician's apprentice and what a lovely wife Lan would make for him. I also really enjoyed Commander Wei and his little romance! Friendship and camaraderie was highlighted along their journey and the war aspect brought tensions high.

My Experience

I was really taken with Bao, our curse victim. First I love orphans and his parentage plays a big part in the story. But that is just a jumping off point. Bao is awkward, anxious and sooooo adorable!! He gets himself into a really bad situation and its all due to love and admiration. I really loved how he wasn't a macho man but was sensitive, poetic and compassionate. He really made me want to root for him and I gladly followed him as he learned about his past.

Lan makes a major mistake, but for once I was really sympathetic to her. Anyone caught unawares like she was wouldn't have reacted well. And I loved how she chose to come back from it and commit to doing whatever was in her power. Many would feel like the time frame of the story makes this an instalove story but I felt like Lan was so genuine in how her awareness of Bao totally changed her attitude toward him. She really captured my heart.

Song of the Crimson Flower is a lovely epilogue to the Rise of the Empress duology. We meet a new couple who must navigate a curse, learn the history of the crimson flower and befriends many of the old heroes of the land. If you enjoyed the duology then you'll need to snatch this up and see how it all ends!