Book Review: Descendant of the Crane by Joan He

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Book Title: Descendant of the Crane
Author: Joan He
Publisher: Albert Whitman Company
Publication Date: April 9th 2019
Genres: Fantasy, Young Adult
My Rating: 5 out of 5 stars

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Princess Hesina of Yan has always been eager to shirk the responsibilities of the crown, dreaming of an unremarkable life. But when her beloved father is found dead, she’s thrust into power, suddenly the queen of a surprisingly unstable kingdom. What’s more, Hesina believes that her father was murdered—and that the killer is someone close to her.

Hesina’s court is packed full of dissemblers and deceivers eager to use the king’s death for political gain, each as plausibly guilty as the next. Her advisers would like her to blame the neighboring kingdom of Kendi’a, whose ruler has been mustering for war. Determined to find her father’s actual killer, Hesina does something desperate: she enlists the aid of a soothsayer—a treasonous act, punishable by
death, since magic was outlawed centuries ago.

Using the information provided by the sooth, and uncertain if she can trust her family, Hesina turns to Akira—a brilliant investigator who’s also a convicted criminal with secrets of his own. With the future of Yan at stake, can Hesina find justice for her father? Or will the cost be too high?


I received an eARC of this book from the author (thank you!) in exchange for an honest review.

MY THOUGHTS

I have no idea where and how to start because I’ve tried writing a review four times already. And none of them seem to give the book justice. So here I am, for the fifth time, attempting to concoct a [somewhat] coherent book review, uncaring if I fail miserably once more because I just need to let everything out, else I might explode.

My bookish friends have been constantly raving about this prior to its release and due to overbearing academic pressure, I wasn’t able to keep up with them. But fast forward a few weeks later, I finally had the chance to read and witness for myself how utterly excellent this really was.

Descendant of the Crane was a never-ending rollercoaster in the form of a beautiful, well-thought out book. Influenced by Chinese culture, I adored the intricacy in this one. Some may think that the slow pacing would put me off, (and normally it would!) but in this case, it just added to a great reading experience. The premise was intriguing enough but the plot twists in this book made the whole plot all the more breathtaking. The mystery was so well-done that I was doubting everybody at one point and I could not put the book down! Like the little mystery fan that I am, I always try to solve the mystery on my own so I take short breaks from reading every now and then to let the story so far sink in and come up with a hypothesis about the case. But just when I thought I knew what was bound to happen in this book, a plot twist would smack me right in the face, upending my theories!

The courtroom spectacle and murder mystery was astounding in itself, but what really tied everything for me is the depth of the main characters’ story. The book didn’t just account the tale of how the death of their king affected The Kingdom of Yan, but it also explores how it stirred each of the main characters’ life. Through this, I really connected with each of them. Hesina, for one, constantly amazes me for she remains headstrong however fragile she is inside. She’s got a heart of gold that would probably be her downfall one day. Akira, on the other hand, is such a cunning and mysterious character; full of depth and I just can’t get enough of him. And, OH MY WORD, don’t even get me started on Lillian and Caiyan. I swear on my life, they will be the end of me. I’m speechless and I just want to go back to the very first page, snatch them and then lock them up in a vault. Now, Sanjing is probably an underrated character here but however hostile he can get, I can still see his lovable, precious side from time to time.

Oh oh OH! Let’s have a moment of appreciation for the fact that the romance in this book wasn’t overpowering, which I appreciate a lot!! I’m glad it wasn’t too fixated on and that it didn’t take the focus away from the main plot.

I’ve grown to love both the world and the people in Descendant of the Crane which made parting with the book that much harder. I was left emotionally unstable for quite a while when I finished this one and I couldn’t even think straight! I haven’t cried in public because of a book for a while now, and this made me bawl like a baby.

If you haven’t read this book yet, WHAT ARE YOU DOING?? Please do yourself a favor and go to the nearest bookstore, or better yet, order online (links provided above) for less hassle. This will not disappoint you and every penny you spend will be absolutely worth it. And if you’re one of the lucky people who got swag from the preorder campaign, then swoon with me once more!! THE CHARACTER CARDS AND THE ROSE GOLD BOOKMARK ARE SO GORGEOUS.

Of course, this wouldn’t be possible for me if not for Emily at Literary Edits. I won her 500 followers book giveaway on Twitter! Thank you once again, Emily. 🧡


Have you read Descendant of the Crane? Let’s chat!

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