Her Radiant Curse is captivating, enchanting, action-packed and bittersweet YA Fantasy with fairytale-style writing and strong sibling bond.
Her Radiant Curse by Elizabeth Lim
Publication Date : August 29, 2023
publisher : Knopf Books for Young Readers
Read Date : August 27, 2023
Genre : Fantasy
Pages : 432
Disclaimer – Mnay thanks TBR and Beyond for tour invite and Publisher/Author for eARC via NetGalley.
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Other Books I Read by the Same Author –
One sister 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.
Review of Her Radiant Curse
Her Radiant Curse is amazing and captivating companion novel to Six Crimson Cranes that tells the story of Channari before she became the Raikama, the Nameless Queen of Kiata.
Her Radiant Curse should be read before the Six Crimson Crane duology but one can easily read this as standalone or after the duology. As I read Her Radiant Curse after I had read all the books in this world, I knew the ending and my anticipation was all about ‘how’ – how Channari got her name Raikama, how she got connected with the dragon’s pearl, how she got her sister’s face, how she has such close connection to snakes, and how she married to be The Nameless Queen of Kiata.
Her Radiant Curse also connects Six Crimson Crane duology very well giving us more insight to Raikama’s character, what shaped her to be the queen she was in the was in Six Crimson Crane, and also why she needed to return the pearl.
Plot is riveting and action-packed mixed with legends and magic. From characters to legends, thrilling battles, compelling marriage trials, and more than one villain keep readers hooked to the story even though we know the end from the duology.
I loved the concept of two sisters one beautiful and the other cursed with a snake face– one is adored and admired by the world while the other is shunned and has to live with the cruelty of the world- gives it element of beauty and beast. Even with their different look and how that changes their lives love, loyalty and trust between sisters remains at the core.
Themes and layers of loyalty, sibling love, betrayal, belongingness, inner beauty, curse, vengeance, and loss make the book emotional and touching read. Writing is as engrossing, beautiful, fairy tale style as other books by the author with fast pace and first-person narraive from Channari’s (Channi) perspective.
Channi is kick-ass, strong, impulsive and singled-focused heroine who is determined to watch over her sister, Vanna, and save her from Angma, the demon witch, who cursed her with snake face and is going to come for Vanna when turns seventeen.
The forest is her real home and snakes her family who called her ‘Lady Green Snake’ taught her their lores and wisdom and everything about the forest and the creatures living in it. She has the strongest poison in her veins and yet she has a vulnerable spirit.
It was heartbreaking to read how her snake face changed her life, how terrible she felt when people repulsed and shrieked looking at her face. I hated her father who was responsible for her curse in first place and yet he made Channi feel like she was the monster and responsible for everything wrong in their life. He kept her hidden, made her wear a mask, and shattered her spirit. She kept her vulnerable side hidden behind stony and cold exterior.
Her friendship with Ukar, son of the late serpent king, is amazing. I loved his straightforward, no-sugarcoating nature. Even with his killjoy and blunt replies, he kept the story light and refreshing.
Vanna was Channi’s only family who loved her regardless of how she looked. She was the source of Channi’s happiness, her weakness, and her purpose to live.
At first, I didn’t like Vanna. She sounded vain and selfish who has lived a sheltered life and only seen and received good from the world. Sometimes it felt she was deliberately ignoring the cruelty of their father towards Channi. I had doubted if the situation was reversed she wouldn’t risk her life for Channi but I liked how that changed in last 30% of the book.
She loved Channi as much as Channi loved her. In fact, being separated from Channi changed not just her power but her as well. It was amazing how her doubts shattered when Angma attacked and how she was the stronger one between two after that.
I liked Hokzuh. He didn’t give a reason to trust him often and yet I was rooting for him. His story is touching and I hated King Meguh for what he did to him. I knew the end would not be good between him and Channi and yet I adored their moments together. Their growing friendship, trust, and plausible love was heartwarming to read. I didn’t like what happened to him in the end. Tbh it wasn’t his fault, it was Angma’s doing and for that one thing, I didn’t like Channi’s decision she made in sorrow and anger.
The presence of dragons, witches, and demons makes the plot exciting and mesmerizing. I enjoyed visiting Sundau Island again. It looked bleak in The Dragons Promise but here it has the character of its own, especially the forest. I loved how magic, minor demons, and humans lived together. Visiting other islands of Tambu isles and knowing a little more about them was interesting and also made the plot adventurous.
The Legend of the creator Niur and God Gadda and how he created Tambu Isles and Sundau the first island, the history of snakes and dragons, the legend of Hanum’nya, and why snakes don’t trust dragons was fascinating.
Twists and turns weren’t that surprising except for the climax and everything that happened after it. I anticipated the attack in the climax but it surprised me how that changed Vanna, literally. Their return home and final battle was exciting but I hated how that changed the future of all characters even though I knew it coming from the beginning.
End is tragic and heartwrenching which makes this book different from all other books in this world. There is no happily ever after. “Her Radiant Curse” title made much more sense at this point. My only complaint is, I felt bad for Hokzuh in the end how he was made a villain when it wasn’t entirely his fault. It just felt sad how Channi and Hokzuh’s fate was entwined in the beginning and then they unraveled and drifted apart.
Overall, Her Radiant Curse is captivating, enchanting, action-packed, and bittersweet YA Fantasy with fairytale-style writing and beautiful sibling bond.,
Quotes from Her Radiant Curse
“A promise is not a kiss in the wind, to be thrown about without care. It is a piece of yourself that is given away and will not return until your pledge is fulfilled.”
“Never will I apologize for being the monster they made me.”
“Find the light that makes your lantern shine. Hold on to it, even when the dark surrounds you. Not even the strongest wind will blow out the flame.”
“All the riches and power in the world cannot buy someone who loves you truly. That’s the greatest treasure.”
Her Radiant Curse Purchase Links
About the Author
ELIZABETH LIM grew up in the San Francisco Bay Area, where she was raised on a hearty diet of fairy tales, myths, and songs. Before becoming an author, Elizabeth was a professional film and video game composer, and she still tends to come up with her best book ideas when writing near a piano. An alumna of Harvard College and the Juilliard School, she now lives in New York City with her husband and two daughters.
Elizabeth’s internationally bestselling novels include Spin the Dawn, Unravel the Dusk, and Six Crimson Cranes. She is also a contributor to Disney’s ”A Twisted Tale” series.
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