Diverse Books, YA Books

Descendant of the Crane by Joan He – Book Review

This book was incredible! I loved it so much and I need more in this world.

Rating: 5 out of 5.

Synopsis from Goodreads:

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?

I listened to the audiobook which I really loved, the narrator is really engaging and I definitely recommend listening if you enjoy audiobooks.

This book had me completely hooked from the moment I started. It’s a book that will keep you guessing about what will happen until the end and it had me staying up late trying to read just one more chapter.

The writing is incredible and vivid and I could really imagine the world from the intricate descriptions. I felt like I was right there in the story. Especially as the first half of the book we get a gradual build up of the world and history so we can truly see the stakes that the characters are facing and how much they have to lose.

The first half of the story is a little slow paced but I loved being immersed in the story and then we get to the second half and revelations start coming one after the other and you barely have time to recover before you’re hit by the next one. It was fast paced and action packed and had me on the edge of the seat the whole time. This book was incredible and I loved how we get small snippets of the history in between the chapters too. It was a really interesting way to give us the information without info dumping.

The characters were all so complex and interesting too and yet they all held secrets so you never know who to really trust. We slowly learn more about them and as the story progresses and how not everyone is who they say they are and can Hesina truly trust them all. We see things from Hesina’s point of view and it was intriguing because these are her family and close friends who she trusts and so she doesn’t see the ending coming or who is truly pulling the strings. I just wanted to scream at her saying, don’t trust them!

Hesina was a really great main character who is driven by getting justice for her father who she believes has been murdered despite everyone believing it is a natural death. Her drive for getting justice is what triggers the events of the story and it was really interesting to see the rippling effects of her choice and what she has to do to try to stop things spiralling out of control. I really loved how she made up her own mind about the sooths who are people with magical powers and have been oppressed and feared by everyone so much so that they have to live in hiding otherwise they could be murdered. She doesn’t take things for face value when it comes to them and that was such a great thing to see in the book.

One of the things I loved was how we get a lot of emphasis on the relationships between the characters but the focus is family relationships. Especially sibling relationships. Hesina has a younger brother and adopted siblings and we get to see a lot of how their relationships are with each other and how that affects the story. We do get some romance but it isn’t a focus of the story, which I actually loved. I really love seeing books with sibling relationships.

This is an incredible book that I need more people to read. From the beautiful prose to the incredible world building we get such an wonderful story. One with a Princess driven by justice and everyone has their own agenda, trust no one and prepare for the plot twists and revelations to blow your mind.