30 Apr 2019



Author: Joan He
Series: N/A
Source: Indigo Staff Pick of the Month
Publisher: Albert Whitman Company
Publication Date: April 9, 2019
Overall Rating:
Diversity Rating:

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?
Amazon | Chapters | TBD

Disclaimer: I received a free copy of this book from Indigo and chose to review it. This in no way impacts my opinion.

There are a lot of really great things about DESCENDANT OF THE CRANE and some things that I didn't love. This was at the top of my TBR because I was so excited to read an East Asian cultural book. But I found this one to drag (from a really early point!) and I didn't really care about Hesina and her problems. 

It was extremely slow in terms of building up the tension and problems; however, even though the pay off was worth it, I thought that it took too long for me. I didn't care as much as I would have liked because of how long it took to get to the plot points that I cared about. But this means that there was a lot of world building and expose of the culture. 

I thought the synopsis didn't quite capture this one (imo) but it does describe the first couple chapters in case you don't want to read those! I think my expectations for this one were just too high because I heard such great things about this (including that it was Game of Thrones with Chinese inspiration, which.... I guess?)

My biggest complaint is the pacing of this one. The pace of this definitely wasn't for me. But I loved so much more of this including the world building and the depth and richness to the culture. If you like slow burn fantasy that makes you work for the payoff, this one is for you!


  1. I've been seeing this one so much online the last few months! Thanks for sharing your honest thoughts—I'm not always a fan of slow pacing so I'll have to be in the right mood for it if I choose to pick this one up in the future.

  2. Sorry this one didn't meet your expectations! I haven't heard much about it, but I'm not sure if I'll read this one or not. Great review!

  3. Such a cool cover on this book!!! I'm sorry you didn't love this one. I have a lot of issues with slow moving stories. It loses my interest too quickly.


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