Song of the Crimson Flower

Song of the Crimson FlowerFrom The Acclaimed Author Of Forest Of A Thousand Lanterns Comes A Fantastical New Tale Of Darkness And Love, In Which Magical Bonds Are Stronger Than BloodWill Love Break The Spell After Cruelly Rejecting Bao, The Poor Physician S Apprentice Who Loves Her, Lan, A Wealthy Nobleman S Daughter, Regrets Her Actions So When She Finds Bao S Prized Flute Floating In His Boat Near Her House, She Takes It Into Her Care, Not Knowing That His Soul Has Been Trapped Inside It By An Evil Witch, Who Cursed Bao, Telling Him That Only Love Will Set Him Free Though Bao Now Despises Her, Lan Vows To Make Amends And Help Break The SpellTogether, The Two Travel Across The Continent, Finding Themselves In The Presence Of Greatness In The Forms Of The Great Forest S Empress Jade And Commander Wei They Journey With Wei, Getting Tangled In The Webs Of War, Blood Magic, And Romance Along The Way Will Lan And Bao Begin To Break The Spell That S Been Placed Upon Them Or Will They Be Doomed To Live Out Their Lives With Black Magic Running Through Their Veins In This Fantastical Tale Of Darkness And Love, Some Magical Bonds Are Stronger Than Blood YA fantasy romance is a genre that rarely serves me, a lesbian, this well, but Julie C Dao understands tenderness and was ready to give it to us This was excellent She looked up and saw the love in Bao s eyes the love that had never left him, not even in his anger and she couldn t help feeling that it might all be worth it It wasn t just the right thing to do she knew now that even without a spell, it was what she wantedto do. As Song of the Crimson Flower begins, upper class Lan is in l YA fantasy romance is a genre that rarely serves me, a lesbian, this well, but Julie C Dao understands tenderness and was ready to give it to us This was excellent She looked up and saw the love in Bao s eyes the love that had never left him, not even in his anger and she couldn t help feeling that it might all be worth it It wasn t just the right thing to do she knew now that even without a spell, it was what she wantedto do. As Song of the Crimson Flower begins, upper class Lan is in love with Tam, a wealthy nobleman, who, though he keeps delaying the wedding, also sends her letters and she thinks plays his flute every evening for her When she first finds out that it was never real, that she was never loved by Tam, she is angry and upset and takes it out on Bao, the boy who truly loves her When she goes to apologize, she finds that Bao has been cursed, and they must journey much further to attempt to break his curse Julie C Dao avoids the trap of simply berating Lan for this of course nasty action Instead, she is given room to understand the true nature of the world the fact that there are men and people in general far nobler and kinder than her ex fianc And along the way, she discovers that she may truly want different things than she has allowed herself to hope for Lan s character arc is subtle but very wonderful, revolving around her journey learning to separate herself from selfish men, and the grounding force of this whole book I really really appreciate that this romance does not depend on Lan having to figure out that she was wrong to ever not want Bao instead, it depends on her falling for him, independent of guilt Bao is a well written character in his own right, one I found instantly easy to sympathize with He is in a bad situation but still manages to be kind and caring and considerate towards others, and it is this that endears him both to Lan and other characters A wide cast of side characters were easy to root for, as well one is a character who I did not particularly like in Forest of a Thousand Lanterns, but found easy to empathize with here While the major conflict involving side characters is perhaps not particularly narratively relevant, I enjoyed both of the characters enough to get invested anyway I absolutely loved how concisely and cleanly the beginning set the tone and mood of the book I was instantly hooked Bao s character introduction in particular immediately made me love him, establishing him as kind and generous and already finding ways to solve his desperate need for a family Bao and Lan s scenes together are equally perfectly paced and well timed, gaining your sympathy for them both and growing your appreciation for Bao s kindness The opening also establishes the world through conversations that feel like genuine explanations we learn about this world s problems as Lan does, in a way that is satisfying to the audience.I say this all because Forest of a Thousand Lanterns had me struggling slightly with pacing of plot and character development With this book, however, Dao was right off the bat fixing that issueI ve never stopped caring for you, he said shakily I don t know if I ever could Well, then, she said, stop taking your affection out on meThis romance was just so tender Bao is kind and undemanding in his love for Lan on a level that I think really resonated with me And I really really loved seeing their relationship build over time spoilers on a romance I stanview spoiler I loved the bit where Bao is checking Lan s legs for injuries and she s like god I wish your hands were higher Also, the bit where Lan is like are you afraid you ll see my ankles and be seduced and Bao says I already have WAIT, I MEANT SEEN YOUR ANKLES is so so cute hide spoiler The thing is, as a reader, I really really love love Romance and tenderness are such important forces The romance genre, however, and the ya romance genre, often play with depictions of relationships that feel really alienating to me Putting aside the many books about men who treat everyone around them badly and are quickly forgiven for it when they decide to treat their love interests well I do not personally resonate with characters who fall in love while hardly knowing each other Song of the Crimson Flower is based on a story about a boy who falls in love with a girl while not quite knowing her, but its arc is based around a realization of similarity deep down This book was an excellent reading experience for me and after Forest of a Thousand Lanterns didn t quite click for me though I loved the writing , I m really glad this book worked so well for me Julie C Dao thank you.Blog Twitter Instagram Spotify Youtube About In Song of the Crimson Flower, Lan, the daughter of a wealthy nobleman, cruelly rejects Bao, a poor physician s assistant, when he declares his love for her But when a curse traps Bao s soul inside his flute, Lan wants to make amends for her terrible words and goes along with Bao on a quest to break the curse.The story reads like a fairy tale, full of heroic moments and strong characters Dao is masterful at building beautiful landscapes and backdrops without overdoing it, and reading her books In Song of the Crimson Flower, Lan, the daughter of a wealthy nobleman, cruelly rejects Bao, a poor physician s assistant, when he declares his love for her But when a curse traps Bao s soul inside his flute, Lan wants to make amends for her terrible words and goes along with Bao on a quest to break the curse.The story reads like a fairy tale, full of heroic moments and strong characters Dao is masterful at building beautiful landscapes and backdrops without overdoing it, and reading her books always feels like gazing upon a lush, vibrant painting The characters are all so kind and selfless that you can t help but cheer for them It s a sweet and heartwarming story that leaves me feeling happy and fuzzy.If there s any downside, it may be that everything is a little too sweet, with all the characters being so thoroughly pure and good Even the villain is fairly toothless, and so the plot proceeds without the usual amount of tension that would drive a story forward The reading experience is pleasant, but never charged up or at the edge of your seat as you would normally expect in a good versus evil story And yet, there is something compelling about it even though it is predictable It starts out a little slow, but soon enough, I was wrapped up in the story and couldn t turn the pages fast enough Obviously as an adult, I know this isn t what love really is like But perhaps it s the nostalgia of getting in touch with a younger me, who believed in fairy tales and thought love was so simple No matter the reason, I thoroughly enjoyed this story, as I have enjoyed all of Dao s books, and I hope she continues to write This Review Blog Twitter Instagram Actual Rating 3.5 starsLove isn t waiting for someone to remember me Love isn t dreaming about them all alone Love is talking together, forgiving each other, finding common threads in the lives we want I ve learned that now You taught meI picked this book in a moment of excitement when it was available for downloading on Edelweiss for everyone I was having second thoughts as I started to read less YA books and I did not want to This Review Blog Twitter Instagram Actual Rating 3.5 starsLove isn t waiting for someone to remember me Love isn t dreaming about them all alone Love is talking together, forgiving each other, finding common threads in the lives we want I ve learned that now You taught meI picked this book in a moment of excitement when it was available for downloading on Edelweiss for everyone I was having second thoughts as I started to read less YA books and I did not want to be harsh and unfair to this book So I kept procrastinating reading it until I was finally in the mood recently This is my second book by the author, I read her Forest of a Thousand Lanterns last year and it was good I liked her anti hero protagonist This book takes place in the same world and we got glimpses to some of the characters but this can be read as a standalone and it has totally different vibes to it Speaking of vibes, this had the same vibes that the old fairy tales I grew up with had, this book made me nostalgic and this explains why I enjoyed it If you look at the synopsis you may understand why It is basically a love story with a magical curse The guy is trapped into a flute by a witch Weird and new and unique Book The bloodpox disease is a dangerous disease where people ooze blood from every orifice they have Me, a doctor It is called DIC Disseminated Intravascular Coagulation The characters were well written but I confess that Lan, the female MC was hard o love at first because she was being so rude, but she realizes that and tries to fix it through the story so bonus points for her growth The writing was good, I can t say that the plot surprised me, just like the fairy tales I mentioned The ending could be guessed as soon as you are oriented to the story and it is under 300 pages so it was not hard to go through Summary This book made me go back to my first reading days The story was simple, predictable and well written with characters that grow through the story I can recommend for fans of fairy tales You can getbooks from Book Depository very lovely it was muchtender than I was expecting, which I really enjoyed. ARC received in exchange for an honest review thank you So, confession time I didn t actually finish this book I wouldn t normally rate it, but I did get 55% of the way through and I knew I would end up giving it this rating anyway, even if I managed to struggle all the way though to the end So, why such a low rating Because the heroine is a COW Lan is the daughter of a wealthy government official, Minister Vu She comes from rich and happy family home, filled with family who loARC received in exchange for an honest review thank you So, confession time I didn t actually finish this book I wouldn t normally rate it, but I did get 55% of the way through and I knew I would end up giving it this rating anyway, even if I managed to struggle all the way though to the end So, why such a low rating Because the heroine is a COW Lan is the daughter of a wealthy government official, Minister Vu She comes from rich and happy family home, filled with family who loves her and everything she could possibly want She even has the requisite romance Tam, the son of her father s friend, is courting her, and it s a relationship approved of by both their parents Yes, Tam is taking distressingly long to choose a wedding date but at least he rows beneath her window every night to read her beautiful love poems, right Wrong Because it isn t Tam at all it s Bao, a poor orphan apprenticed to Tam s father Bao has been in love with her his whole life, and when he seizes the opportunity to reveal the truth, he expects to at least be met with a courteous refusal, if not a reciprocal admission of love.Lan reacts to his confession badly I can forgive her for that she, having just discovered that the boy of her dreams was nothingthan a figment of her imagination, falls sick but not before viciously reminding Bao of his poverty, orphan hood, and negligible social status.Mean Yes But like I said, with the shock she d just suffered, I could understand and accept it Only, Lan NEVER stops being the biggest bitch on the face of the planet Bao gets cursed into a flute by a river witch, and Lan s the only person who can keep him in his physical form, so she agrees to travel with him to find a way to break the curse This is her penance So far, so good But the blurb claims that Bao now despises her , and I was expecting something approaching apology and humility from her, considering she d absolutely destroyed his heart for no good reason.Bao does not despise her Not even a little bit He continues loving her, and it s painfully obvious He gets a little miffed off with the bitch, for having been a raging bitch to him, but then HE APOLOGISES TO LAN FOR IT Lan keeps flouncing around expecting apologies, even though she s supposed to be the one doing penance, and she has no right to be upset with Bao for trying to protect his heart The bit where I completely gave up on their romance comes about 45% in Lan informs Bao that he s sulked enough over her having shattered his heart She thinks it s time he stopped being rude to her He was never rude to you, you absolute spoiled cow But he just folds and AGREES WITH HER Ugh.Assorted other reasons for the low rating There was no sense of urgency to the action , even though Bao has two weeks before the curse becomes permanent This is partly because they don t even get underway in the journey until halfway through the book Admittedly, I haven t read Forest of a Thousand Lanterns, the prequel to this one But I know it features a romance between Xifeng and Wei Even though Xifeng is dead now and I never read her story, I didn t like seeing Wei falling in love with someone else Things, and people, were poorly described Since this is supposed to be a standalone, not enough worldbuilding was done for those of us who are new to the series.The two star rating is only because I felt so sorry for Bao, and also because the concept of a Vietnamese fantasy world was fascinating It s just a shame the book didn t live up to it Blog Bookstagram Not bad not bad Song of the Crimson Flower is a book that I definitely read out of order Doesn t even matter to me because I still liked everything about this book It probably made me evenexcited to dive into the first two books because this novella definitely delivered In it, Lan and Bao were adorable I honestly couldn t help but ship them because an enemies to lovers romance is something I could get behind.Yeah, they were crushes before. but eh, details.The adventure was so much Not bad not bad Song of the Crimson Flower is a book that I definitely read out of order Doesn t even matter to me because I still liked everything about this book It probably made me evenexcited to dive into the first two books because this novella definitely delivered In it, Lan and Bao were adorable I honestly couldn t help but ship them because an enemies to lovers romance is something I could get behind.Yeah, they were crushes before. but eh, details.The adventure was so much fun in this book I listened to the audiobook of it which is weird because I own all the books in this series as audios. so yeah still listened out of order lol Each chapter made me smile with glee because it just kept bringing me deeper into their story Plus it didn t hurt that Bao and Lan were easily likable Overall, really enjoyed this book and definitely can t wait to dive into the first two books of this series I m ready Check outreviews Perspective of a WriterThe BuzzI 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 wit Check outreviews Perspective of a WriterThe BuzzI 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 PremiseWe 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 ExperienceI 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 Authenticity Writing Style Plot Pacing World BuildingB Cover Title grade Thanks to Bookish First and the publisher for providing me with a copy in exchange for an honest review It has not influenced my opinions.______________________You can find this review and many others on my book blog Perspective of a Writer Read my special perspective under the typewriter on my reviews Please like this review if you enjoyed it bow bow It helps me out a ton This review can also be found at Carole s Random Life in Books.I had a fantastic time with this book It has been a long time since I was able to read an entire book in a single day but it was so easy to get lost in this book This wasn t a long book with less than 300 pages but I thought it told a big story The story grabbed me from the start and the story progress at a perfect pace to keep the pages turning I am so glad that I took a chance and decided to give this book a try.This book is li This review can also be found at Carole s Random Life in Books.I had a fantastic time with this book It has been a long time since I was able to read an entire book in a single day but it was so easy to get lost in this book This wasn t a long book with less than 300 pages but I thought it told a big story The story grabbed me from the start and the story progress at a perfect pace to keep the pages turning I am so glad that I took a chance and decided to give this book a try.This book is listed as a companion book to the author s Rise of the Empress series When I started reading this book, I had no idea that it had any connection to another book and I still wouldn t if I didn t happen to see it on Goodreads This book reads wonderfully as a stand alone story I am thinking I may need to read the other books in the series though just because I enjoyed this one so much.This was a wonderfully imaginative fantasy Bao has grown up as an orphan and knows that he is not worthy of those in the upper class He has lived with a local physician and his family and is training as an apprentice Lan is the daughter of an important man and has lived a rather charmed life She is looking forward to setting a date for her wedding Things fall apart for both Bao and Lan and their lives are forever changed They must work together to beat a witch s curse and will have quite the adventure working towards that task.I really liked both Bao and Lan and wanted to see them together They have both made mistakes in their lives but they were really a victim of circumstancesthan anything When Bao needed help, Lan didn t hesitate and I loved seeing them work together towards a common goal They didn t askof each other than they thought they would be willing to give It was really nice getting to see them get to know each other away from the opinions of society.I loved the way some magic was worked into the story I thought that the curse was very well done and I liked how it evolved over the course of the story I liked that the magic wasn t an overpowering part of the story but there was enough to add a really nice element to the story This book had a very nice balance of action, romance, and magic I would recommend this book to others I thought that this was a really well done story that was a lot of fun to read This was the first book by Julie C Dao that I have had the chance to read but I wouldn t hesitate to pick upof her work in the future I received an advanced review copy of this book from Philomel Books via Bookish First.Initial ThoughtsSo I read this whole book today I had a goal of reading a book today so there is that This is also a rather short book at less than 300 pages But the important point is that I actually didn t want to put this one down It was so easy to finish in a day because it was just a really well told story I read is as a stand alone so it works great if you haven t read any of this author s previous work I just really enjoyed Bao and Lan s story and all of its magic 3.5 stars A Vietnamese YA fantasy that reads like a fairytale and includes mentions of characters and events and details of a world I m already familiar with Yes, please This book was one I flew through in what basically amounts to one sitting, and I truly enjoyed the experience The characters, the story, the world everything came together really well

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  • Hardcover
  • 288 pages
  • Song of the Crimson Flower
  • Julie C. Dao
  • English
  • 12 July 2019
  • 1524738352