Descendant of the Crane, by Joan He

lexiscee's review

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I really enjoyed the layers of politics and history in this book. Joan He created a very complicated world where soothsayers are persecuted, where a group of people called the Eleven overthrew the government 300 years ago and created a set of Tenants to guide the kingdom. I also appreciated how the author blurred the lines between hero and villian in the story, even if it made the ending confusing.

The world had me interested from the start, and can we talk about how gorgeous the cover is?

So why did I think about DNFing this book halfway through?

The characters and the pacing. Hesina's character often confused me. It didn't seem like she had a good foundation to rule the kingdom. Whenever she made a decision, I found myself thinking, " did she come to that decision?" Her opinions seemed to sway too much.

I didn't find myself really caring about any of the characters. They all seemed a little one-dimensional. They all seemed to have one major characteristic and that was it.

I guessed the main reveals of the first half of the book early on. But I did not see the plot twists of the second half coming, so I was pleasantly surprised by those.

However, a ton of information was revealed around page 300. I waited 300 pages in for a ton of critical information, and some of it seemed to come too late. Near the beginning of the book, there was a reference to a reason why Hesina and Sanjing had tension between them that was only referenced as "the lake." But then this wasn't revealed for another couple hundred pages! There was also a kind of weird romance between Hesina and Akira that was referenced way too early on. And when they first kissed, I missed it and had to re-read it because it was written weirdly.

Overall, I think the worldbuilding was great, but I just didn't find myself caring about the characters enough.

thewritermuse's review

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The worldbuilding didn't make much sense to me--although I really appreciate the Chinese-inspired aspects--and neither did the magic system. I also didn't like Hesina because she kept lashing out at everyone and I didn't resonate with her. I feel that the prejudice against sooths could have been explained better. My favorite character was probably Akira--he carried the book for me. The plot was okay, but slightly predictable in some places. All in all, it was a decent book that I didn't quite enjoy, but others may.

nas_books's review

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adventurous emotional mysterious medium-paced
  • Plot- or character-driven? Plot
  • Strong character development? No
  • Loveable characters? It's complicated
  • Diverse cast of characters? It's complicated
  • Flaws of characters a main focus? Yes


leah_s's review

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I was kind of confused the entire time while reading this, but that might have been because I was reading too fast and not doing any critical thinking. The plot was really interesting but so much happened that I couldn’t remember why certain things were happening. I like a lot of the story,especially in the beginning, so I would have rated this four stars but certain aspects made me mad.
I simultaneously liked and disliked Hesina. She was terrible at making plans or figuring things out and low key blind to everything going on around her, so that was infuriating. Overall I did like her character though, specifically her compassion, steadfastness, and how she struggled with all the terrible things happening.
The real thing that made me rate this three stars was the ending. It pissed me off. Hesina just leaves the kingdom as a fugitive and Caiyan is both the bad guy and good guy because he was protecting her even though he was the one that made her the fugitive. And now he’s going to rule and Hesina is going to eventually take back the kingdom. LIKE WHAT? I like clear cut happy endings so other people might be okay with the ending but I was just annoyed and this is low key a rant to get my feelings out.

clarablogging13's review against another edition

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Lettura per #dreamage2021readingchallenge !
Trovi la recensione completa sul nostro blog, vieni a leggerla e a commentarla con la tua opinione:

Leggere questo romanzo è come viaggiare nel tempo e attraverso una cultura diversa dalla mia, La stirpe della gru è forse uno dei pochi libri che mi ha affascinato nell’ultimo periodo. Ho amato l’impostazione dell’ambientazione e l’idea di base, ma leggendo mi ha fatto pensare continuamente ai drama cinesi che ho visto in passato, vedendo una certa somiglianza di trama.

Nel complesso non mi è dispiaciuta la lettura, ma pensavo potesse essere migliore.


ishouldreadthat's review

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Originally posted to I Should Read That

I received a digital copy of this book in exchange for an honest review. This review is spoiler-free.

I’ve been struggling with YA fantasy for the past year or so, however I wanted to give it another try while in quarantine. I dusted off my copy of The Descendant of the Crane -- one of my most highly anticipated 2019 releases that I never managed to read (oops), which is coming out in the UK in June. It turned out to be the perfect escapist read filled with gorgeous world-building, fun characters, and more twists and turns than I could have ever anticipated!

This book is a funny one for me because I think it was a fairly generic YA story with fairly generic characters, but there’s something about it that worked so well for me! After some consideration, I think the thing that drew me into this book and kept my interest was the wonderful world-building. The author does an incredible job of creating an intricate world with lush imagery, interesting politics and government system, an in-depth history, and fascinating mythology. As someone who loves world-building above all else in fantasy, I absolutely devoured every single gorgeous detail. The plot itself is fun, but a bit of a mess -- throwing so many twists and turns into the reader’s path that felt almost overwhelming -- but the amazing setting and culture absolutely made this book work for me.

I didn’t find any of the characters particularly outstanding or memorable, but I did enjoy Hesina and her incredible determination to find out what happened to her father. Her strained relationship with her blood brother and mother, especially in comparison to her close relationship with her adopted siblings, was really interesting to read about, especially as the story unfolds and you learn more about this history between family members. You get the sense that Hesina wants to be a good queen, however she’s left a little in the dark, despite the training her father gave her, and she spends most of the book struggling to keep her head above water. She has a very classic reluctant ruler story, but it was one that I enjoyed reading nonetheless. 

The Descendant of the Crane is a fun and twisty YA book that might not work for everyone, but lovers of beautiful fantasy worlds should consider picking up! It was a great quarantine read and was the perfect escape! I am seriously hoping we get a sequel in the future.

qwordyq's review

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Well...I’m angry and also not because even though this book took a long while to get into for me I was rewarded with the chaos and ups and downs and twists and more twists and now I’m just mad at all the betrayals and lies and aaaah this frustrated me but in the way a good book does and I didn’t realize this is the beginning and more is to come and now I’m just like WHERE IS THE NEXT BOOK?!?!?

Edit: I just read that this is a standalone and the unsatisfactory ending was ON PURPOSE LIKE WHAT HOW RUDE

sydney_arcuri's review

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Oh my gosh I did not expect to love this books as much as I did!

I went into without expectations since I have not read a of Chinese inspired YA fantasy or mythology. I absolutely adored all the characters because they all felt very real to me. I've noticed that sometimes when I read YA characters they lack the depth that makes them seem real, but that is defiantly not the case this time.

Joan He as of right now has stated that their is currently no sequel in the process, but I won't lie - I am waiting with bated breath for the second installment. The ending?!? I need more of these characters!

emreadseverything's review

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I received this free ARC from Netgalley in exchange for an honest review.
Review also appears on my blog here.

“…we fear what we don’t know.”

Princess Hesina of Yan finds herself thrust into a tricky political world after her father dies and she takes the throne as queen. In an act to discover more about her father’s death, she seeks help from a soothsayer- one who practices magic. In a kingdom where magic and the people who practice it are outlawed, this action pushes Hesina down a path where she discovers that much of what she thought she knew might not be true. With the help of her remaining family and Akira, a mysterious convicted criminal, Hesina strives to make sense of her father’s death while also exposing the flaws within the court and the prejudices of her own beliefs.

Joan He knows how to take readers on an emotional roller coaster. Throughout the twists and turns in Hesina’s story, I found myself switching alliances and trying to guess at the mysteries sprinkled into the story. There were moments where I was genuinely shocked about a well placed plot twist. Though there were plenty of surprises as characters showed their true nature and plots were uncovered, none of it felt forced or untrue to the story that we were being told which made for an enjoyable read.

Hesina was a believable and likable character, her reactions and actions made me want to cheer for her. The characters all felt fleshed out enough that I found myself imagining their goings on after the book ended. My one critique would be the pacing. The beginning of the book seemed to drag with pockets of action that had me picking it up again after having abandoned it for a few days. I often found myself confused about how much time had passed between scenes. Once I reached the halfway mark, however, I wasn't able to put it down. It also wasn’t clear when a new scene was beginning but this was most likely a formatting issue that has more to do with the fact that this is an ARC than the author’s writing.

I would definitely recommend this once it is released (April 9th 2019)! Joan He mentioned that there’s a possibility of companion novels told from different points of view which I will be picking up as they are released.

rrowanreads's review

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mysterious tense fast-paced
  • Plot- or character-driven? Plot
  • Strong character development? No
  • Loveable characters? No
  • Diverse cast of characters? Yes
  • Flaws of characters a main focus? No