Title: Descendant of the Crane
Author: Joan He
Is Descendant of the Crane a wholly unique story sure to please even the most critical of readers? No. Is this Chinese-inspired fantasy a beautifully written and well-crafted novel? Absolutely.
Descendant of the Crane might be low on the action, but it is high on the suspense and political intrigue. I was expecting something very different from what I read, however not necessarily in a bad way. I actually really enjoyed the slower paced story and the focus instead on the intricacies of the murder mystery and the inner court machinations. Hesina was a character that I greatly enjoyed following as she attempted to navigate her struggles between her personal wants/beliefs and what she needed to portray in order to gain the support and find justice for her father’s murder. There were a few plot twists woven into the story that made it all the more interesting. I did successfully guess the big reveal/twist at the very end, but I loved its cleverness nevertheless and am excited for where the story will go next.
The love interest/romantic plotline was only okay. I didn’t hate it, but on the other hand I think I also might have been okay without it (*le gasp* who am I?!). I still quite put my finger on what it is or why I feel this way, but something about the way Akira was written just felt off compared to the rest of the book.
My biggest disappointment was finding out that there will be no sequel, but rather a companion novel. I felt like Hesina’s story was left totally unfinished, but hopefully there will be some answers with the companion novels. Overall, I think Descendant of the Crane was a wonderfully written YA fantasy debut and I greatly look forward to reading more from this author in the future!