Descendant of the Crane is the fantasy story readers have been craving. With comparisons to Game of Thrones, Joan He's debut delivers with plenty of pain and heartache included.
"But it wasn't a wolf hunting Hesina. It was the people's fear. She'd either rule with it, or be ruled by it. Either way, blood would spill."
How to sum up Descendant of the Crane? Readers are sure to fall in love with this world and its characters only to get their heart ripped to shreds.
Hesina’s father has just been killed and she’s thrust into a position of power she isn’t sure she’s ready for. Her kingdom is full of hate that doesn’t match her own heart. How can she fix the problems they face? Despite her conflicting feelings, she puts on a brave face and becomes the queen she has been trained to be. And this is why I loved her. She’s a fierce yet vulnerable character.
"Hesina didn't change. Didn't have someone see to her neck. She finally looked the part she deserved: bloodstained."
There aren’t many people Hesina trusts, not even her own mother — but there are her adopted siblings. Lilian and Caiyan are just as interesting as Hesina herself. Actually, the entire royal family is intriguing! Outside of the twins there is Hesina’s brother, Sanjing, and these two have the most complicated relationship in the family.
"This is what they did, Hesina reminded herself, too weary for anger. They broke themselves. They took the shards and drove them up the chinks of each other's armor."
Their interactions were my favorite because despite the feelings they carefully decide to show one another, there is an undeniable connection that remains. There are massive tangles in this family which were fun to read about.
Descendant of the Crane explores many themes in a brilliant way. One is examining what makes a person good or evil. Joan He does a fantastic job building characters who don’t fit into either box. They’re human and their actions speak volumes. Just when we’re led to believe someone is good, we’re left questioning their true intentions.
Hesina decides to find the truth behind her father’s death. She believes he was murdered and is ready to take her case to trial. She will do anything to reveal the truth even if it’ll further deepen her grief. Which in her moments alone is completely relatable. In these silent moments the readers will be able to connect with her on a different level. Her deep love for her father will make you root for her as well, but it’ll also make the reveals throughout hurt much more. In the end, you’ll truly feel for Hesina.
"Justice was her only way to say thank you. To say goodbye. To say I love you too."
Before the trial can begin we meet Akira who is the boy that will help Hesina find the truth. Akira is a mysterious and kind soul, and I was immediately drawn to him needing to know more (just like Hesina herself)! There is a dash of romance in this book but it never takes center stage. The little sweet moments shared between the two are pure and readers will love it!
"Who are you?"
He rose and tugged his hanfu free. "Someone queens shouldn't get close to."
Descendant of the Crane delivers something fresh to the world of fantasy. Whether it’s through the political scheming or court intrigue, Joan He delivers in her debut. Her vivid world building matches the plot and twists. It’s a slow-paced book exploring the inner workings of the court while still being an interesting murder-thriller with fantasy elements. The final act of this book is mind-blowing. It all goes back to Joan He exploring her characters and questioning what makes them good or evil. And it is amazing.
"The world is full of tricksters," she shouted above the crackle at her back. "And there is no greater trickster than fear."
I can’t rave enough about Descendant of the Crane! If you love fantasy then this book is a must-read. It releases on April 9th and trust me, you need this book on your shelf ASAP!
- Hardcover: 416 pages
- Publisher: Albert Whitman & Company; None edition (9 April 2019)
- Language: English
- ISBN-10: 0807515515
- ISBN-13: 978-0807515518
- Product Dimensions: 14 x 3.3 x 21 cm
- Boxed-product Weight: 590 g
- Average Customer Review: Be the first to review this item
- Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 1,198 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)