descendent of the crane – joan he | review

Descendant of the Crane by Joan He
Published April 9th 2019 by Albert Whitman & Company
Genre: fantasy, young adult, ownvoices

rating: ★★★★★


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.


i was enthralled with the history of the country and whatever her father was embroiled in. it has such a rich history that i want to delve deeper in. also, there’s SO MUCH QUESTIONS LEFT UNANSWERED! i can’t believe this is a standalone. i demand to have at least one more book. the book was culturally rich and well-plotted political intrigue, and it’s accompanied with beautiful and magical writing.

it’s painfully obvious that hesina isn’t ready to be a ruler. since she’s overwhelmed by the murder of her father, all she could focus on was the investigation to his death. hence, she ignored all the signs about an upcoming war. i had to remind myself that her rise to the throne was sudden and abrupt because a 100 pages in, i couldn’t stand her character. BUT, she does grow on me because i realised how strong she got with time.

i’ve always liked caiyan’s character despite all the dubious things that he had been doing. however, he had been helping hesina to grow into a better person and a better queen. the last page got me so good, i can’t believe that happened!!!!! if you wanna know what happened, YOU BETTER READ DESCENDANT OF THE CRANE!!!!! other than caiyan, lilian, sanjing and akira are wonderful characters as well who added a layer of complexity into the book.

She didn't have to stay by him. But she had, all nineteen years. And now she was saying goodbye.
He'd given up on rationale; he'd begged.
She'd simply touched his cheek. Stone-head. You can't protect everyone.
He can.
He will.
When that day arrives, he will bring his queen back.
But until he has everything he ever wanted, he has only this: a tree that might not even survive to spring, the joss stacked high before it, the horrible candied berries his twin liked so much scattered in place of peach blossom petals. 

there’s so much potential for a sequel, i’m so flipping excited for future news because i want more of caiyan. he’s an amazing character who deserves to have all the book time there is for him. at the same time, the open-ended ending gives me a little anxiety cause I don’t know if what I want will ever come??!!? joan he, please bless the world with a sequel or two. (“:

7 thoughts on “descendent of the crane – joan he | review”

    1. yes!! do pick it up soon, linda! i loved the setting, and of course, the characters. ❤️ i couldn’t believe this is joan he’s debut novel but i’m definitely picking up her next book.

      Liked by 1 person

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