Title: Descendant of the Crane
Author: Joan He
Published by: Albert Whitman & Company
Release date: 9th April 2019
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 engages 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.
Descendant of the Crane follows Hesina, princess of Yan, and picks up her story in the aftermath of her father’s death. While the kingdom believes that the king died of natural causes, Hesina knows better and is determined to search for the truth to bring her father justice. Her search leads her to commit treason by seeking out a sooth — someone who can see into the future and is feared and oppressed by society.
A big part of this book that I liked was the theme of family in all its complexity. Hesina has a strained relationship with her brother, Sanjing, and is very close to her adopted siblings, Lillian and Caiyan, though their family dynamic as a whole is put to the test as she uncovers truth after truth in the her search for what really happened to her father. Descendant of the Crane sees Hesina navigating difficult relationships with her parents, too — her mother’s callousness, and the fact that her father, who she loves and respects very much, might actually have been a very different man from the one she knew.
I really loved that the romance took a back seat in this story – it was there, it was sweet, but it wasn’t overpowering in relation to the story, though I do feel that Akira was slightly underdeveloped as a character.
I did find that the book was a little slow to start out, but once I passed the first quarter and started to really become invested in the story, I found that I was whizzing through it. Although some of the twists and revelations were a little predictable, that didn’t really take away from my overall enjoyment as the story as a whole was magnificent. The last 100 pages in particular had me on the edge of my seat, completely guessing at what could happen next, and the last twist took me completely by surprise.
As far as I know, there is no planned sequel for Descendant of the Crane at this time, but I for one will be hoping and hoping for more books because I NEED answers.