Review copy provided by the publisher.
This is a stand-alone prequel in the world of Six Crimson Cranes; if you know the characters and the events of that book, some events of this one will be enhanced, but this is a perfectly reasonable entry point to this world and its people.
Channi’s life revolves around her amazing and beautiful sister Vanna, and it always has. When she was a toddler, Vanna was born with a special magical glow–perfect, beloved, amazing. Her father attempted to sacrifice Channi to the jungle witch Angma to save his wife, and it failed–she was cursed with the face of a serpent and poisonous blood, and her mother died anyway. In all the years since, Channi and Vanna have grown up together, each other’s polar opposite in looks–but always the best of friends.
Now their father is choosing a suitor for Vanna. Kings from all around will come to bid on her hand. Her sister Channi, however, is more concerned about her sister’s happiness than about their cruel father’s wealth. Her friends the snakes of the jungle are willing to try to help her protect her little sister–but the entire endeavor gets, as one would expect, quickly complicated, with dragons, demons, and armies pursuing them around the island landscape.
The relationship of sisters and snakes is devoted and charming, and this book serves well either to add dimension to a world already known or to introduce the reader to its environs.