Descendant of the Crane by Joan He
April 9, 2019 from Albert Whitman & Company
Young adult fantasy
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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?
Descendant of the Crane is one of the most hyped books of spring 2019, and let me say this: it totally lives up to the hype. This is one of the most tightly-plotted, well-characterized, and beautifully written books I’ve read in a while. I read Descendant of the Crane in almost one sitting; I became so absorbed in Hesina’s story that I was disoriented for the rest of the day. Also, my neck hurts from the whiplash I got from this book’s plot twists.