The Friday 56 is hosted by Freda’s Voice. The rules are simple – turn to page 56 in your current read (or 56% in your e-reader) and post a few non-spoilery sentences.
This week’s quote is from Song of the Crimson Flower, the third book in the Forest of a Thousand Lanterns trilogy by Julie C. Dao. (The second book was Kingdom of the Blazing Phoenix.) These are a gorgeous pair of paragraphs, and illustrate why I love this author.
And yet, as night began to fall, Bao could easily imagine this part of the river to be home to a witch. Here the trees bent their ropy necks over the water, blocking out the sun, and the limestone mountains hovered like malicious giants casting shadows over the land. The riverbanks seemed to close in on either side, and the branches in the water were sentinels, lifting their thick, mold-strewn leaves in warning.
Bao shivered despite the pungent heat, forgetting his hunger. He considered turning the boat back and trying an alternate route; he was certain that while dreaming his disturbing dreams, he had missed other possible paths. But his resolve hardened before he could dig his oar into the riverbank and flip himself around. Going back in the direction from which he had come felt like losing a battle. It felt like returning to Lan, like admitting his worthlessness. This was meant to be a new beginning, and what was a new beginning without adventure?