RELEASE DATE: April 9th 2019
AUTHOR: Joan He
GENRE: Young-Adult, Historical Fantasy, Adventure.
PUBLISHER: Albert Whitman & Company
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.
“What is truth? Scholars seek it. Poets write it. Good kings pay gold to hear it. But in trying times, truth is the first thing we betray.”
Descendant of the Crane was a Chinese inspired fantasy novel which features court room politics, magic, and a murder mystery. I love East Asian inspired fantasy books and I had high expectations for this book, but sadly I was left disappointed. I didn’t enjoy it as much as I thought I would. It’s actually not a bad read. The elements in this book was very refreshing, but I think it wasn’t for me. I couldn’t connect with the characters and the story was too slow for my taste. It took me one week to finish this book.
Hesina was an okay-ish character. She is a naive princess/daughter searching for her father’s murderer. I was expecting a strong protagonist and Hesina seemed a little bit dull to me but I did admired her strong determination to hunt for answers. Akira was an intriguing character. He’s a convicted criminal with a rod. Hesina hires him as her representative in her court but it doesn’t mean that she completely trusts him. He’s a guy with many secrets. I really liked his character. He’s witty and smart. Hesina has so many siblings in this book. We have Sanjing, half brother Rou, and adopted twin siblings Lilian and Caiyan. I didn’t care much about Sanjing because he was barely there in the plot. I really loved the little kid Rou. He was adorable. The twin siblings were pretty fun. Hesina was more close to them than her blood siblings.
It’s mostly a character driven plot! If you like books with character driven plots and don’t mind slow pace then you might enjoy this book a lot more than I did. I was kind of disappointed with the romance in this book. It could’ve been great if it was better executed. It felt forced and there’s no chemistry between the characters. The mystery aspect in this book was pretty good and the court room scenes were interesting. Akira always stole the spotlight in the courtroom. To be honest, most of the twists in the book were predictable for me but the major twist about the king’s murderer really surprised me. I didn’t see that coming! The writing was pretty good. The whole book was written in third person pov (Hesina). The world building was interesting but I’m still a little bit confused. We didn’t get to explore much of the outside world. The story was mostly set inside the palace and the court room. The magical system sounded interesting too. I wish we had more info on the Sooths, the Kendians and the immortals.
Overall, it was a good debut, despite all the issues. This series has a great potential and I really hope the next book is much better. I’m not sure if I would continue this series, but we’ll see.
Although it didn’t work out for me, I would still recommend everyone to give this a chance because I know a lot of people who loved it, so my issues could be on my side, but I must warn you guys that It’s a slow ride not an action packed read.