I picked this book up on a whim, and I'm glad I did! I really loved the fairy-tale feeling of this story, it made me nostalgic for the dozens and dozens of fairytales and fables I read in elementary school. Apparently this book is set in the universe of one of the author's series, which I haven't read, but I understood what was going on and don't think you need to have read the others to understand and enjoy this book. I really enjoyed the writing style of this author, The plot is a little slow, but engaging, and I also thought Lan and Bao's romance was adorable. It took me a while to warm up to Lan, but Bao stole my heart from the beginning! Song of the Crimson Flower is a lovely tale of magic, romance, and adventure!