The Dragon’s Promise is the conclusion to Elizabeth Lim’s Six Crimson Cranes duology that continues to have a fast-paced, action-packed story but does tend to falter.
One of the things that made The Dragon’s Promise entertaining was the opening sequence. The novel picks up immediately after Six Crimson Cranes. Princess Shiori is on her way to the Kingdom of the Dragons. That was quite possibly the most exciting part of the novel.
There is a whole lot of political intrigue here. You get to see the mechanics of the dragon kingdom and the magic and power that exist here, and all the dragon characters are inherently different from what we’ve already been introduced to.
Admittedly, Shiori was annoyed at times because she would not listen to anybody. Shiori is single-mindedly devoted to fulfilling her promise that she continues to fail by ignoring those around her. She just got annoying, which is a strange departure from who she grew to be in Six Crimson Cranes.
Granted, we as the reader know that she is stubborn and didn’t listen much to others at the beginning of Six Crimson Cranes, but one would think that after everything she had been through in the first book, her growth would have stuck. In Six Crimson Cranes, Shiori went through an incredibly personal journey, and it feels, in part, that Lim forgot about her growth in The Dragons Promise.
Shiori’s inability to trust others and be honest about her plans was her most annoying trait here. But, again, she was such a strong character in Six Crimson Cranes, a novel where her voice was taken away. She was more observant in the first book. Shiori learned to listen learned to put her stubbornness aside. But after the revelation in Six Crimson Cranes with her stepmother, her devotion to that promise made her revert to being the stubborn princess.
Shiori was such a strong character in that first novel when she did not have a voice, which worked toward her journey and her character growth. She became more trusting, less stubborn, and more observant. The events in the previous novel humbled Shiori. But from the very beginning of The Dragon’s Promise, it was as though Lim threw out all that character growth just so that she could set her up on another journey of character development.
While that is somewhat fine because no one ever wants to read about a stagnate character, it served as more of a distraction than anything. The Dragon’s Promise suffers because the reader is so focused on Shiori’s inability to communicate that the actual story becomes less memorable. Half the time, I wanted to smack and tell her to shut up and talk to her friends and family. Why? Because not only is this not the same character she grew to be, but her stubbornness ended up putting her in jeopardy, which then ended up putting the lives of those she was trying to protect in danger. So, it was distracting and counterproductive to the story.
Nevertheless, The Dragon’s Promise did offer a solid conclusion to the story that began with Six Crimson Cranes. All that built-up tension despite the sluggish pace and somewhat forgettable scenes. There was such a strong opening in The Dragon’s Promise, but once Shiori leaves, the story begins to falter until that climax. And that climax upped the pacing and the tension, gripping the reader. So overall, it was a good book because, with an ending like that, one that was so bittersweet and gut-wrenching at the same time, it leaves the reader with a good feeling when they are finished.
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|Pub Date: August 30, 2022||Page Count: 496pp||Age Range: 12 & Over|
|ISBN: 978-0-5933-0095-4||Publisher: Knopf Books for Young Readers||List Price: $9.99|