MINI-REVIEW: “Descendant of the Crane” by Joan He

Descendant of the Crane

Title: Descendant of the Crane
Author: Joan He
Pages: 416

Release Date: April 9 2019
Publisher: Albert Whitman & Company
Format: Hardcover

Genre: Fantasy
Goodreads Rating:  3.77 (of 3,027 ratings)


Please forgive me, because I finished this book two weeks ago (took no notes) and already forgot the majority of 1) the plot and 2) my thoughts. You can argue that this means the book didn’t have a lasting effect on me. howEVER, I have been very busy the past few days, which I think played a major role.

*flips through pages to recollect thoughts*

📌 I quite recently got into Chinese historical dramas. I had a lot of call backs to one of my faves, Empresses in the Palace, while reading Descendant of the Crane. The secret plotting, the conniving high-ranked officials, the perilous position of female royalty. These are all facets of Chinese history I knew nothing about but love love love getting a chance to dig into.

To that effect, Hesina was both a terrible and wonderful ruler. She was clearly flawed. Her headstrong attitude kept her from listening to the advice of her brother (also a general). Good advice! Sometimes I wanted to shake her, like, Hesina come on!! But simultaneously, as a ruler, you need to be able to stick to your guns and trust your beliefs.

I mean, who wants someone on the throne who constantly doubts themselves and pivots on a decision the moment an adviser says no?

📌 The plot meandered at times. What began as a trial to find the king’s murderer became a private search became subterfuge. I enjoyed each individual … plot aspect, I guess I would call them? but I think looking back, this is part of why I forgot what the story was about.


shocked gif GIF

tianaI’m positively shivering in excitement at the promise of a second opportunity to dive into Hesina’s world, rich in intrigue, double-crossings and secret dealings. The setting in this book makes it an absolute favouriteearning Descendant of the Crane a Tiana rating from me.

*representation: Chinese rep
*content warnings: murder, death, torture, xenophobia, death of a principal character (more than one), prejudice, violence

*again, because I read this a while ago, my memory is not as clear as it should be. and I cannot find any other reviews with content warnings/rep listings to link up to add depth I’m sorry!


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What do you think? Let’s discuss in the comments below!


20 thoughts on “MINI-REVIEW: “Descendant of the Crane” by Joan He

  1. I’m so bad at leaving reviews for a week or more too… and then having to flip back through the book to remind myself of it 😂 I’ve been wanting to read this for a while. I love the Chinese rep and the cover looks stunning 💙 great review! Jen

    Liked by 1 person

      1. hah sorry about that I wish we treated the cute kitty cats better 😢😢😢 whoever is looking after him is very lucky. haha one of my friends cats is 2.2kg overweight… gets fed a healthy amount, but keeps getting fatter the poor boi

        Liked by 1 person

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