SONG OF THE CRIMSON FLOWER, by Julie C. Dao, Philomel, PenguinTeen


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?

Out November 2019

288 Pages


I received this book in exchange for my honest review.

This book is written by the same author of “Forest of a Thousand Lanterns” that I recently read and reviewed and thoroughly enjoyed. I only wish I could have interviewed her.

Naturally, when this book came out, I had to get an ARC to read and review. I love Dao’s style of writing, her author voice is flowing and imaginative. In this book, a woman must get past her shallowness and desire to be around men who do not really cherish her for her, but for her status. She must learn to forgive herself for cruel actions that cost everything for the man who really loved her. The story is folkish, magical, thought-provoking and entertaining. The characters develop nicely and you find yourself cheering for the MC when goals are finally realized.

The saving grace for the MC, Lan, is that she does learn to grow and as a character move toward her goals to a resolution worthy of the other characters in the story. Yes, it is a romance, and at times a bit sappy, but overall very lovely and I enjoyed it.

There’s a magical curse, a witch and other factors that the readers will love. Julie C. Dao is becoming a very well-known author. It’s exciting to look forward to her next book now.

I gave this one:


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