Thank you to Net Galley and Hodder & Stoughton for providing this complimentary book so that I might write a review of The Dragon’s Promise by Elizabeth Lim.
After thoroughly enjoying Six Crimson Cranes, I was excited to continue on and finish out Shiori’s story in The Dragon’s Promise.
This is the second duology that I’ve read by Elizabeth Lim and a pattern is beginning to emerge.
I initially discovered Lim when I heard about Spin the Dawn. It is such a creative idea, and I love a good competition, so I immediately fell in love with it. When an Unravel the Dusk ARC became available, I scooped it up right away.
While I still enjoyed the second book, it didn’t shine as much as the first book.
I could say the same for The Dragon’s Promise, so let’s get on with my review.
The Dragon’s Promise Review
The Dragon’s Promise picks up right where Six Crimson Cranes leaves off. It’s a bit jarring after a year between books. There’s no recap or refresher. And I don’t recall any explanations in the text reminding readers of important characters.
In fact, for the first three chapters, I was convinced Takkan was the bad guy in the last book and couldn’t figure out what was going on every time he was mentioned.
Takkan is Shiori’s betrothed for any who have forgotten.
I’m sure this won’t matter one hill of beans to someone binging the series, but in the normal flow of things, it confused me.
This might have contributed to my attitude the rest of the book, but I simply struggled to get into the story for the first 40% of the way through.
The beginning was slow, somewhat seemingly pointless, and—especially considering the events that happened in the latter half of the book—completely unnecessary.
That might be a bit of an exaggeration. She did acquire something that proved useful later on.
My point is, The Dragon’s Promise starts off rough around the edges and becomes just okay by the end.
The story starts off with Shiori and Seryu going to the realm of the dragons. After that initial sequence mentioned above, we don’t see Seryu the whole rest of the book.
After Shiori’s return to Kiata, there are some heartwarming moments with her father and brothers, but enemies are still afoot and the ever present danger of the mountain full of demons lead by Bandur.
Since bringing up Bandur, it’s time to share my second gripe with The Dragon’s Promise, and that’s a recycled storyline.
Does Bandur sound familiar? He should, because he’s the demon enemy in Spin the Dawn. And the isle that Maia goes to with all the ghosts and demons? It’s called Lapzur if you’ve forgotten.
Yeah, that isle is in The Dragon’s Promise, too.
Now, I knew that Spin the Dawn and Six Crimson Cranes were in the same world. What I didn’t expect was that the two duologies would use the same plot points.
Shiori spends the whole of The Dragon’s Promise getting to Lapzur to bring about the climax of the book. And if that sounds familiar it’s because it is.
I was less than impressed reading the same book twice, but having different characters with different motivations doing basically the same thing.
Let’s move on to the plot since we’re talking about it.
At first, I could have sworn the plot was to defeat the dragons, or convince them to do something important for her, or something.
I mean the first 40% of the book is spent in the land of the dragons, with Shiori narrowly avoiding death at their hands countless times over.
Then there’s a sudden shift to the plot being about Bandur and his demon army, which comes out of nowhere halfwhere through the book (remember, I forgot Six Crimson Cranes and what she was trying to do at the end).
Shiori is the bloodsake. For centuries, a bloodsake is born, the priestesses kill the bloodsake to prevent the demons from escaping the mountain and killing them all. If Shiori’s blood were to be given to the mountain, the whole thing would fall apart and the demons would be free.
So the priestesses usually burn the bloodsake. As soon as a bloodsake is killed, another is born. In this case, the current bloodsake is Shiori. So there’s those enemies.
But Bandur wants her to free the demons, and he’s ruthless in taken over the bodies of her loved ones to convince her to do it.
She needs to stop Bandur, avoid being killed by crazy priestesses, all while dealing with court politics from wolves in sheep’s clothing in her own court.
Final Thoughts on The Dragon’s Promise
That last sentence there is a really decent premise, and (admittedly) the story from that point forward is pretty great (excusing the recycled plot points concerning Lapzur).
If the first half of the book had been condensed to 2-3 chapters at most, and Lim had worked a little harder to conceal the reused plot points, I might have enjoyed this book as much as I did Unravel the Dusk. Because even though I said it didn’t shine like Spin the Dawn did, I still thoroughly enjoyed it.
I cannot say the same for The Dragon’s Promise. So much so, that I’ll have to think twice about beginning another Elizabeth Lim duology. The first book sucks me in, and the second book disappoints.
A series ending should be so explosive it leaves me wanting more and sends me into a book slump so hard that nothing else but another book in the same series will snap me out of it.
Instead, The Dragon’s Promise left me with no desire to ever see Shiori again. She (and her cohort) was just that forgettable.
I give The Dragon’s Promise a 3 out of 5 stars.