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  • Writer's pictureCheyanne Lepka

Descendant of the Crane by Joan He

Rating: 5/5 stars

Pages: 416

Genre: Young Adult Fantasy

Publisher: Alberta Whitman & Company

Pub. Date: April 2, 2019 (moved to April 9)

The crown has never been something that Princess Hesina has wanted, but after her father is murdered, she’s willing to take that mantle and do everything in her power to find the truth. But the court is filled with people who would use the king’s death for personal and political gain and there’s no telling who Hesina can trust—especially when it’s possible that any one of them could be guilty.

Desperate to find answers, Hesina goes to a soothsayer for help, risking everything in the process, as magic has been outlawed in the Kingdom for centuries. Using the information from the sooth, she enlists the help of a convicted criminal—but brilliant investigator—to find the truth. As the new queen of a kingdom already on the brink, Hesina is faced with deciding what's too much to give up to find the truth and protect her kingdom.

** Thank you to NetGalley and Alberta Whitman & Company for providing me with an eARC of this book**


An absolutely breath-taking debut, Descendant of the Crane is a book that tugged at my heart-strings. Joan He doesn’t pull any punches at all, and just when I thought it couldn’t get worse, it does. Not to mention, her writing as absolutely gorgeous. She is definitely a talent to watch in the coming years.

The world-building is incredible, and even better, Hesina’s core beliefs are tied in so completely to the world-building. And then to watch every thing that she thought she knew challenged. To see her brought literally to her knees, and then keep trying—it was an unforgettable ride.

The characters were larger than life, especially Hesina’s father. Though he is dead throughout the book, his legacy and the mystery around his death are just so larger than life that it is impossible to not think of him as a main character, even more as you learn just how much his character is filtered through Hesina’s perceptions of him and how that breaks down over time—masterfully done.

I know Joan He has said that she doesn’t know if there will be a sequel to this, but maybe if enough people ask really really nice that's something that can happen? Dear powers that be, I'd love a sequel to this book.

Anyway, this book is stunning and I highly recommend it to anyone who loves fantasy and likes a little bit of court intrigue, and of course needs an unforgettable and incredibly tenacious heroine in their life.

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