Goodreads helps you keep track of books you want to read.
Start by marking “Song of the Crimson Flower” as Want to Read:
Song of the Crimson Flower
Enlarge cover
Rate this book
Clear rating
Open Preview

Song of the Crimson Flower

(Rise of the Empress #2.5)

3.86  ·  Rating details ·  489 ratings  ·  204 reviews
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
288 pages
Published November 5th 2019 by Philomel
More Details... Edit Details

Friend Reviews

To see what your friends thought of this book, please sign up.

Reader Q&A

To ask other readers questions about Song of the Crimson Flower, please sign up.
Popular Answered Questions
Ezekiel Right now I am readig it and as of the pages I have read so far it can be read as a standalone but I felt like Forest of a Thousand Lanterns and…moreRight now I am readig it and as of the pages I have read so far it can be read as a standalone but I felt like Forest of a Thousand Lanterns and Kingdom of the Blazing Pheonix in The Rise of the Empress Duology were so good that you should read those books too(less)

Community Reviews

Showing 1-30
Average rating 3.86  · 
Rating details
 ·  489 ratings  ·  204 reviews

More filters
Sort order
Start your review of Song of the Crimson Flower
Elise (TheBookishActress)
YA fantasy romance is a genre that rarely serves me, a lesbian, this well, but Julie C. Dao understands tenderness and was ready to give it to us. This was excellent.
She looked up and saw the love in Bao’s eyes—the love that had never left him, not even in his anger—and she couldn’t help feeling that it might all be worth it. It wasn’t just the right thing to do; she knew now that even without a spell, it was what she wanted to do.

As Song of the Crimson Flower begins, upper-class Lan is in
Oct 05, 2019 rated it liked it
Shelves: e-books, 2019-reads, arcs
This Review Blog Twitter Instagram

Actual Rating: 3.5 stars

“Love isn’t waiting for someone to remember me. Love isn’t dreaming about them all alone. Love is talking together, forgiving each other, finding common threads in the lives we want. I’ve learned that now. You taught me.”

I picked this book in a moment of excitement when it was available for downloading on Edelweiss for everyone. I was having second thoughts as I started to read less YA books and I did not want to be harsh and
Jan 16, 2020 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
In Song of the Crimson Flower, Lan, the daughter of a wealthy nobleman, cruelly rejects Bao, a poor physician's assistant, when he declares his love for her. But when a curse traps Bao's soul inside his flute, Lan wants to make amends for her terrible words and goes along with Bao on a quest to break the curse.

The story reads like a fairy tale, full of heroic moments and strong characters. Dao is masterful at building beautiful landscapes and backdrops without overdoing it, and reading her books
Vicky Who Reads
Jan 01, 2020 rated it really liked it
very lovely! it was much more tender than I was expecting, which I really enjoyed.
Namera [The Literary Invertebrate]
ARC received in exchange for an honest review - thank you!

So, confession time: I didn’t actually finish this book.

I wouldn’t normally rate it, but I did get 55% of the way through and I knew I would end up giving it this rating anyway, even if I managed to struggle all the way though to the end.

So, why such a low rating? Because the heroine is a COW.

Lan is the daughter of a wealthy government official, Minister Vu. She comes from rich and happy family home, filled with family who loves
♠ TABI ♠
Mar 06, 2018 marked it as to-read  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: edelweiss
I'm ready
Dani ❤️ Perspective of a Writer
Check out more reviews @ Perspective of a Writer...

The Buzz

I enjoyed Forest of a Thousand Lanterns and I was excited to read about a "good" couple rather than an evil villain set in the same world. And I do like the idea of this being a companion novel and not a third book in the series.

While the cover isn't drawing me in I do find it pretty and it gives the feel of an old fashioned fairy tale which is definitely the tone of Song of the Crimson Flower. I don't hate the title either, it fits
Carole (Carole's Random Life in Books)
This review can also be found at Carole's Random Life in Books.

I had a fantastic time with this book! It has been a long time since I was able to read an entire book in a single day but it was so easy to get lost in this book. This wasn't a long book with less than 300 pages but I thought it told a big story. The story grabbed me from the start and the story progress at a perfect pace to keep the pages turning. I am so glad that I took a chance and decided to give this book a try.

This book is
Not bad... not bad.

Song of the Crimson Flower is a book that I definitely read out of order. Doesn't even matter to me because I still liked everything about this book. It probably made me even more excited to dive into the first two books because this novella definitely delivered. In it, Lan and Bao were adorable. I honestly couldn't help but ship them because an enemies to lovers romance is something I could get behind.

Yeah, they were crushes before.. but eh, details.

The adventure was so much
3.5 stars! A Vietnamese YA fantasy that reads like a fairytale and includes mentions of characters and events and details of a world I’m already familiar with? Yes, please! This book was one I flew through in what basically amounts to one sitting, and I truly enjoyed the experience. The characters, the story, the world - everything came together really well!
Rebecca McNutt
Anyone who knows me knows I'm not really a romance genre person, but Song of the Crimson Flower was actually a pretty decent book to me in spite of my personal preferences. Dao writes wonderful characters who find love through experience and eventual friendship, and there's a good moral message that you shouldn't fall for the person with the most money and prestige, but with the person who genuinely cares about who you are. It's a short book, but it manages to tell a well-crafted tale that can ...more
Mar 26, 2019 rated it liked it
This best way I can describe this book is simple. The writing is simple but pretty. Its has a slow in the beginning but picks up after the love interest gets turned into a flute (its that kind of fairy tale). The two main characters are simple and fun to read. I think this is the first time I have read of the boy love interest being awkward and bumbling instead of the girl. The other characters were more just background noice and I think might have meant more if I had read the other two ...more
Kitty Marie
This book has a vibe that is charming and positive. The short length (under 300 pages) and rather fast pace makes this an ideal choice for people who need a break after a large and/or intense read or just want a relaxing reading experience in general. The story presented here is simple but in a classical way, resembling a fairy tale.

What drew me to this title initially is the unusual romance, one of the more notably unique aspects of this title. I’ll just go into details that are already
Cindy ✩☽ Savage Queen ♔
So excited for a book steeped in Vietnamese culture =D
Nia •ShadesOfPaper•
You can find this review on my blog Shades of Paper.

“Soon, she would make Ba and Mama proud, and she would have everything: a lovely, elegant wing of the Huynh’s home, servants to tend to her every wish as a cherished daughter-in-law, and Tam, the handsome young man who wove his love for her into the melody o a flute beneath the moon.”

After completely falling in love with Forest of a Thousand Lanterns two years ago I knew I had to read everything Julie C. Dao publishes, and since this book
Kate (GirlReading)
Oct 26, 2019 rated it really liked it
Julie C. Dao is officially the Queen on fantasy.
I don't make the rules, I just state them.

This read beautifully, with a fantastic, classic fairytale vibe and Disney had better jump on it and turn it into an equally beautiful movie asap.
Renee (The B-Roll)
This book is so gorgeously written, dense, emotional, magical, and atmospheric. From the start, there is an almost fairy-tale like quality to this book that really makes you want to read it more and more. I loved how well both the characters and the plot are developed so quickly in this story and how the plot begins and does not let up until the very end and the book is over! The atmosphere and environment just feels so lush with details and descriptors, almost as if you can actually ...more
Oct 24, 2019 rated it really liked it
Song of the Crimson Flower is a story about class and love that defies boundaries. It's about the truth of love that will transcend words even when the world seems to be pulling us apart. Is it more important for us to be proper than the image of propriety? For us to be honorable or to seem honorable? Dao also examines the ways we build people up in our head and put them on a pedestal. We end up seeing what we want to see, what will be most comfortable to us.

While there's this plot where the
Rec-It Rachel
Apr 11, 2019 rated it it was amazing
I love that all of Julie's books so far have been set in the same world but have such different (but complementary) vibes
Mar 18, 2019 rated it really liked it
3.5 stars

I really, *really* love the concept of this book and I was so ready 5 star this until it started telling over showing important plot and character details. While I'm completely behind how the story DOES end, the progression to that ending feels unnaturally truncated. To reiterate, I fully support how the whole plot was outlined. However, the Bao and Lan relationship along with Mistress Vy's characterization suffered the most from this truncation. It's like the writing had a great plan
michelle (magical reads)
4.5 stars

read on my blog

**I received an ARC for this blog tour and from a giveaway. These are my honest opinions, and in no way was I compensated for this review.**

Love isn’t waiting for someone to remember me. Love isn’t dreaming about them all alone. Love is talking together, forgiving each other, finding common threads in the lives we want. I’ve learned that now. You taught me.

I never got around to reading Kingdom of the Blazing Phoenix, and it’s been a little over two years since I read
Originally posted to I Should Read That

I received a copy of this book in exchange for an honest review. This is a spoiler-free review.

Julie C. Dao is one of my auto-buy authors -- I totally fell in love with Forest of a Thousand Lanterns and adored The Kingdom of the Blazing Phoenix,/i>. I thought that with the completion of the Rise of the Empress duology, we would leave the world of Feng Lu forever. So imagine my surprise and delight to discover that Song of the Crimson Flower, her latest
Katherine Wren
Jan 03, 2020 rated it did not like it
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Song of the Crimson Flower is a story that reads like a beautifully woven fairytale.

Song of the Crimson Flower follows the story of a daughter to a wealthy nobleman, Lan, and a poor physician's apprentice, Bao. After Lan rejects Bao, he leaves heartbroken and ends up crossing paths with a witch who places a spell upon him that will only love can break. Lan, regretting the way she treated him, vows to help him break the spell.

I absolutely adored this book, from its characters to the story,
Sofia Casanova
Nov 01, 2019 rated it really liked it
This is everything I wanted in a YA Vietnamese inspired fantasy. I feel so validated.
Carina Olsen
Mar 25, 2019 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
This was my first book by this author. And it will not be my last. I must be honest and say that this would normally not have been a book for me. But when I saw it on Edelweiss I had to read the summary. And I got the need to read it right away. So glad I was able to do so. Because this book was beyond adorable and cute.

Giving it four stars, as it was almost perfect for me. I only wish it had been a little bit more. A little longer. A bit more details about things. But oh my gosh how I liked
Nov 10, 2019 rated it it was amazing
I loved this book so much it had the most perfect ending that I have read in awhile and one of the best romances that I have read in awhile. The characters were so amazing I really loved being back in this world again the characters that I loved most were Lan and Bao. I know Lan made a mistake she did everything she could to make up for it Bao was one of the best Male Lead's I have read about in awhile he was kind compassionate and loving. I loved the romance between them it was slowly built up ...more
Nikki Sojkowski
I am SO thrilled and excited for another Julie C. Dao book.

This book takes place within the same world of Forest of a Thousand Lanterns, but with all new characters. If the YA trend of cutthroat, cold hearted, sword-wielding army girls is getting to you, this is the PERFECT book to pick up. Lan and Bao are soft human beings who are questing to break a curse. Bao is a healer, a physician’s assistant, and Lan is a noblewoman, rarely allowed to leave the household. Together they strike out for the
Alexandra Nae
I won an ARC of this from a giveaway a few weeks ago. It’s my first every physical ARC and I am so grateful! I thought I’d have to read the first books in the series first, but I realized this was a companion novel and it could stand alone. And so, I dived in!

This book was a nice, short read! The story weaved tales of unrequited love, dark magic, forgiving mistakes, fulfilling destinies, and families. Actual rating is 3.5 stars!

Elegant yet funny writing
From the get-go, the writing style of this
julia ♥
Apr 18, 2019 rated it really liked it
4/5. This was so enchanting and interesting, full review to come.
« previous 1 3 4 5 6 7 next »
topics  posts  views  last activity   
Bookish First Rea...: Song of the Crimson Flower by Julie C. Dao 5 9 Dec 09, 2019 01:53PM  

Readers also enjoyed

  • Echoes Between Us
  • Woven in Moonlight
  • Fireborne (The Aurelian Cycle, #1)
  • A River of Royal Blood (A River of Royal Blood, #1)
  • The Guinevere Deception (Camelot Rising, #1)
  • Remembrance
  • The Queen's Assassin (Queen's Secret, #1)
  • Infinity Son (Infinity Cycle, #1)
  • Sisters of Shadow and Light (Sisters of Shadow and Light, #1)
  • Dangerous Alliance: An Austentacious Romance
  • The Bone Houses
  • The Never Tilting World (The Never Tilting World, #1)
  • Winterwood
  • Shadow Frost (Shadow Frost, #1)
  • War Girls (War Girls, #1)
  • The Beautiful (The Beautiful, #1)
  • Beyond the Black Door
  • The Good Luck Girls (The Good Luck Girls, #1)
See similar books…
Thanks for checking out my Goodreads page! I do not check messages or friend requests here, so please visit my website if you'd like to get in touch!

- - - - - - - - - - -

Julie C. Dao ( 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

Other books in the series

Rise of the Empress (2 books)
  • Forest of a Thousand Lanterns (Rise of the Empress, #1)
  • Kingdom of the Blazing Phoenix (Rise of the Empress, #2)