Descendant of the Crane || ARC Review

Title: Descendant of the Crane
Author: Joan He
Genre: Fantasy, Young Adult
Publisher: Albert Whitman Company
No. of pages: Hardcover, 416
Publication Date: April 9, 2019
Date Read: January 26, 2019
Rating: 4.5/5


Tyrants cut out hearts. Rulers sacrifice their own.

Princess Hesina of Yan has always been eager to shirk the responsibilities of the crown, dreaming of an unremarkable life. But when her beloved father is found dead, she’s thrust into power, suddenly the queen of a surprisingly unstable kingdom. What’s more, Hesina believes that her father was murdered—and that the killer is someone close to her.

Hesina’s court is packed full of dissemblers and deceivers eager to use the king’s death for political gain, each as plausibly guilty as the next. Her advisers would like her to blame the neighboring kingdom of Kendi’a, whose ruler has been mustering for war. Determined to find her father’s actual killer, Hesina does something desperate: she enlists the aid of a soothsayer—a treasonous act, punishable by death, since magic was outlawed centuries ago.

Using the information provided by the sooth, and uncertain if she can trust her family, Hesina turns to Akira—a brilliant investigator who’s also a convicted criminal with secrets of his own. With the future of Yan at stake, can Hesina find justice for her father? Or will the cost be too high?


First, I just want to thank Joan He for having me as part of Hesina’s Imperial Court. It’s truly been an honor to rep such a GREAT book.

When I first heard of this book, I was intrigued. I mean, it was pitched as a ‘Chinese-inspired Game of Thrones.’ Like, who WOULDN’T be intrigued. But then I read it and it was so much more than I was expecting (because, I haven’t seen or read Game of Thrones, but I know there’s a lot of blood, politics, etc.) Joan has truly created a world, characters, an intriguing plot, and an amazing story that I want more of.

Descendant of the Crane follows Hesina, a girl who is thrust into role as an Empress after her father died of mysterious circumstances. To find the truth, she visits a soothsayer and has her to use her forbidden powers to see what must be done to bring the truth to light. As she follows what the sooth has said, she opens up a large door that brings the truth to light, but the truth is sometimes better left to rest. Hesina, her family, and her new found friendships with a convict and a soldier are put to the test as trial after trial is brought before them. Hesina must choose between justice for her father, or lose what peace is left in her kingdom.

I absolutely loved this book and I can’t WAIT to read the final version. The intrigue, the mystery, the search for truth, the relationships between the main characters (happy and tragic), and heart-wrenching pain you will feel: this book has it all.

I absolutely LOVED the characters and their development in this book. My top favorites would probably be Hesina, Sanjing, and Akira. Hesina, the main protagonist is fiercely loyal and fiercely protective, of literally everyone. She has been thrown onto the throne as Empress but she just wants to find out what truly happened to her father. All throughout the book, she does what she thinks is right, but also will do whatever she thinks she should do to finally gain the truth. Sanjing is Hesina’s biological brother and the general of her army. Throughout the majority of the book, they don’t really have a great relationship at all. Sanjing, although he seems really far removed away from Hesina, he’s as fiercely loyal to his staff and soldiers and really does care for his sister. Akira is the convict that Hesina has pulled out from prison and serving as her representative through her father’s murder trial. Akira to me is an enigma. I can’t place him, but he’s truly one who is loyal to those who have shown him loyalty. Honestly, he’s probably one of my most favorite characters in the book.

This world that Joan has created is truly one that I could read over and over again. I’m really hoping that there’s a second book because there is a cliffhanger at the end that I was destroyed by and I REALLY need answers. I loved how this book came together and how when things happened that wrecked you, you weren’t expecting it. I can’t WAIT for y’all to read this book. It releases on April 9th of this year and you don’t want to miss it.

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