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Descendant of the Crane by Joan He: A Book Review

Descendant of the Crane
Author: Joan He
Genre: YA, Mystery, Historical Fantasy
Publisher: AW Teen
Release Date: 2019
Pages: 416
Source: Netgalley/Publisher in exchange for an honest review
Synopsis: Tyrants cut out hearts. Rulers sacrifice their own. Princess Hesina of Yan has always been eager to shirk the responsibilities of the crown, but when her beloved father is murdered, she's thrust into power, suddenly the queen of an unstable kingdom. Determined to find her father's killer, Hesina does something desperate: she enlists the aid of a soothsayer―a treasonous act, punishable by death… because in Yan, magic was outlawed centuries ago.

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

      In this shimmering Chinese-inspired fantasy, debut author Joan He introduces a determined and vulnerable young heroine struggling to do right in a world brimming with deception.

My Review: Descendant of the Crane is a novel that is inspired by Chinese mythology and history. Hesina has always wanted to escape her duties as a princess. When her father is murdered, she becomes queen. Hesina has to manage her kingdom and find her father’s murderer through the help of Akira, a criminal. Can Hesina and Akira ever discover who the killer is?

     As a huge fan of Chinese historical dramas, I was excited to read this book! I find that Descendant of the Crane did not disappoint! It had all the makings of a clever Chinese drama, political intrigue - betrayal, mystery, and deception! The heroine was strong and complex. Within the first few pages, I feel like I had come to know Hesina. She is a young girl that feels trapped inside the palace. She knows that somewhere within the palace is a murderer. I really admire Hesina’s quest for justice as she tries to solve the murder. Therefore, Hesina is a determined heroine that readers will love to root for.

     Overall, this novel is about trust, justice, and responsibility. I liked all the characters. Akira was intelligent and mysterious. I also like her siblings, each of whom had different personalities. The world-building is lush and vivid in detail that is based on imperial China. The beginning started out slow but picked up pace halfway through the novel. I also did not like that it ended in a cliffhanger. Nevertheless, I’m excited to read the sequel! I recommend Descendant of the Crane for fans of A Forest of a Thousand Lanterns, Spin the Dawn, and The Magnolia Sword! This is not a novel to be missed!

Rating: 4 out of 5 stars

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