Song of the Crimson Flower by Julie C. Dao
November 5th, 2019 by Philomel
From 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 blood.
Will 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 spell.
Together, 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?
Song of the Crimson Flower by Julie C. Dao is impactful and addictive. I find the storyline a little bit simple if you compare it with her two previous books, Forest of a Thousand Lanterns and Kingdom of the Blazing Phoenix. But as the way I see it, this book, same as Julie C. Dao’s previous books, is teaching the readers a lot of lessons — simple lessons that we could be blinded to see because our passion and objective lies differently with our moral principle which I found the depiction of this example is perfectly established in this book, especially with Mistress Vy’s position.
This book shows different kinds of personalities and it explores the behavior of each character that we could see in our daily life. There could be someone like Lan who is deceived by her own illusion of love, or Tam’s perceived interpretation of freedom, or maybe Bao’s kind heart and dedication to helping the injured, or you could relate to Lady Yen’s battle with her mind versus with her heart, or with Commander Wei’s being loyal or being selfish. My point here is that given with all these choices, there will be a time that we need to decide for ourselves, for what we think best for our lives, and that we should risk what we think that matter the most to us even if we look like selfish at the moment. I love how Julie C. Dao has written different complex characters with different choices in life and how their decision affects each other’s way of living and how these people are interconnected with each other.
What I felt in Song of the Crimson Flower is what I used to feel in Kingdom of the Blazing Phoenix, I had this feeling that in both books, in their world, lies a magic that is unknown to everyone yet everyone knows that this particular magic exist and yet we couldn’t figure out where this magic is coming from or how a certain force drives these characters to greatness — what I know is that I like how Dao create her books with so little magic and yet full of magic. Do I even make sense?
Song of the Crimson Flower is a beautiful novel that stands with what is right and wrong. It is a relevant read that will make you think, despite sharing the same blood, would you tolerate something against your beliefs? This shows that Julie C. Dao challenges the readers to be themselves, to be contented, and choose what makes you happy. This book, like Forest of a Thousand Lanterns, shows different sides of people – manipulative, selfless, toxic, but above all, kindness prevails. With so much hope, I love how Song of the Crimson Flower ended with a lot of bravery, empowerment, and aspiration.
My Ratings: 4.5 Stars.
ABOUT THE AUTHOR
Julie C. Dao (www.juliedao.com) is a proud Vietnamese-American who was born in upstate New York. She studied medicine in college, but came to realize blood and needles were her Kryptonite. By day, she worked in science news and research; by night, she wrote books about heroines unafraid to fight for their dreams, which inspired her to follow her passion of becoming a published author. Forest of a Thousand Lanterns is her debut novel. Julie lives in New England. Follow her on Twitter @jules_writes.
Julie is represented by Tamar Rydzinski of the Laura Dail Literary Agency.