The Dragon’s Promise by Elizabeth Lim
Hodder and Stoughton, pb, £9.09
Reviewed by Mikaela Silk
Having survived as an outcast, saved her brothers from their feathery fate, and learnt the truth about her stepmother, Shiori now has a new challenge: return Raikama’s dragon pearl to its rightful owner. With Seryu willing to take her to the dragon realm, it seems simple enough. But nothing about the dragon realm is simple, and returning the pearl may be only the beginning. Her magic is no longer secret, and many in the kingdom blame her for the restless demons in the mountain. Fortunately, she has Takkan to help her, not to mention six very grateful brothers.
This book was even better than the last, in part because all the world-building had already been done. Instead of easing us into the plot, this time, we were thrown straight into the dragon realm and all the mystical mysteries and politics that come with it.
Shiori was alone or unknown for much of the first book, Six Crimson Cranes, which didn’t leave much room for exploring her relationship with other characters. So, it was nice to see that her relationship with Takkan has had a chance to progress, and it is surprisingly empowering to see how confident Shiori is about her love now. Her relationship with her father also adds an endearing touch to the narrative. He had quite an air of patriarchal power in the first book, whereas in this one, his strength is shown more through his love of his children and his openness to accept them for who they are. Another shift from the first book is seeing Shiori’s brothers treat her as a leader rather than someone who needs to be protected. This shift is reflected in the increased opportunities that Shiori has to make her own decisions and using her own power. Something that, once again, is empowering to see.