Book Rec: Descendant of the Crane by Joan He

Descendant of the Crane by Joan He
If you liked... Nirvana in Fire

This Chinese-inspired young adult novel reminded me of Chinese historical dramas with a touch of magic.

Premise: When Princess Hesina of Yan’s father suddenly dies, she must take the throne and quell unrest in the kingdom. Hesina turns to illegal methods to find out the truth about how her father died, and initiates a trial that leads to devastating consequences.
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My Spoiler-Free Review

Descendant of the Crane is about a power struggle and a kingdom that has a complicated history with magic, but it’s also a coming-of-age story. Hesina is just a young woman trying to come to terms with her father’s death while finding herself entrusted with immense responsibility. She’s understandably overwhelmed. There are complicated family relationships, and I loved Hesina’s relationship with each character, her grouchy brother the general, her intimidating mother, and her adopted siblings who are her closest friends.

It does take Descendant of the Crane a while to find its rhythm, but I loved the Chinese-inspired setting. It truly reminded me of watching a Chinese historical drama. The thrilling courtroom scenes and secret plotting brought to mind my favorite Chinese drama, Nirvana in Fire, and its cunning strategist. If you’ve always wanted to read a book reminiscent of a Chinese historical drama, give Descendant of the Crane a try!

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