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From the New York Times bestselling author of SIX CRIMSON CRANES comes a tale of two sisters—one as beautiful as the other is monstrous—who must fight to save each other when a betrothal contest gone wrong unleashes an evil that could sever their bond forever.

One sister must fall for the other to rise.

Channi was not born a monster. But when her own father offers her in sacrifice to the Demon Witch, she is forever changed. Cursed with a serpent’s face, Channi is the exact opposite of her beautiful sister, Vanna—the only person in the village who looks at Channi and doesn’t see a monster. The only person she loves and trusts.

Now seventeen, Vanna is to be married off in a vulgar contest that will enrich the coffers of the village leaders. Only Channi, who’s had to rely on her strength and cunning all these years, can defend her sister against the cruelest of the suitors. But in doing so, she becomes the target of his wrath—launching a grisly battle royale, a quest over land and sea, a romance between sworn enemies, and a choice that will strain Channi’s heart to its breaking point.

Weaving together elements of The Selection and Ember in the Ashes with classic tales like Beauty and the Beast, Helen of Troy, and Asian folklore, Elizabeth Lim is at the absolute top of her game in this thrilling yet heart-wrenching fantasy that explores the dark side of beauty and the deepest bonds of sisterhood.

Available now from Penguin Random House

Illustration by Tran Nguyen | Cover Design by Angela Carlino

Lettering by Alix Northrup


An Instant New York Times Bestseller 

National Indie Bestseller

Waterstones 2023 Book of the Year

"This stand-alone adventure from Lim's Lor'yan universe (Six Crimson Cranes, 2021) is artfully rendered, precisely paced, and piercingly true. Against the rich folkloric backdrop, Lim's complexly rendered characters come heartbreakingly alive. A fantasy to savor. "

*Starred Review from Booklist

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