Song of the Crimson Flower | Julie C Dao | Review

Another review from the archives! I think I read this sometime in summer last year? Or fall? Or maybe not? Idk πŸ˜‚

Anyways. Hope you are all enjoying your time at home and with your families (that is a nice way to put it, lol)! I’d also love to hear what you are reading/doing to keep occupied!

Today’s review is Song of the Crimson Flower by Julie C Dao. (isn’t is such a gorgeous cover? 😍) While this book functions as a stand alone, it is technically a midway book in the Rise of the Empress series. It is a Vietnamese fantasy and a YA novel.

Hope you like the review – and let me know if you’ve read this book before!

Song of the Crimson Flower (Rise of the Empress #2.5)
goodreads | amazon


I was so, so excited for Song of the Crimson Flower. I hadn’t heard of it before, but I was somewhat familiar with the author and her other works, when I saw Sasha (@abookutopia) mention it. Immediately, I requested it from my library.

The first few pages had me hooked. I felt as if I were actually in the story; the descriptions were beautiful and real. I felt for and with the characters. However, that really only lasted the first few pages.

I have heard that the Song of the Crimson Flower really encapsulated a lot of Asian culture and folklore, and though I have no stand to judge that, I could most definitely see that being true. The descriptions and mythology of the book really were riveting and felt very fleshed out.

And the whole story line really was a good one, grasping out to the reader. Imaginative and fun.

(also I’m going to admit … I didn’t realize that this is a part of Ms Dao’s other series until I was trying to find the goodreads link πŸ˜‚ . however, everyone agrees that it can also act as a standalone – it is an in-between book in the series – which is what I experienced + agreed with.)

Once again, I really didn’t like the female protagonist. I know, shocking. Well, I did respect Lan and appreciate her … I just felt myself dreading when it would be her voice in the chapter. Really, though, she wasn’t a bad character. Lan felt realistic and had a fantastic character arc over the book, if a little bit quick. I’m not quite sure why, but I just didn’t vibe with her.

However, the book had a dual narrative. Our other voice being Bao, the boy who falls for Lan. I like Bao a decent bit, at least, until the end. He bared himself to Lan, being completely honest, and was brutally rejected. Of course, now he is an unhappy bean.

(side note: when I read this I had just let down a guy – granted, a while lit nicer than Lan – so the book felt a lot more realistic to me πŸ˜‚ )

So overall, this book wasn’t for me. I felt that it had a lot of potential and the characters were pretty realisticΒ  (and I liked Bao), I just wasn’t a fan of the book overall. Perhaps it would have changed if I had read the other books πŸ˜‚

If this book strikes your fancy, please read it! I’m sure you’ll love it. πŸ™‚

Have you read this book? (this series? lol) For my Northern Hemisphere homies, how is spring going?Β  And for my Southerners – how’s fall? What books have you been reading in quarantine? I’d love to talk with y’all! πŸ˜€

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