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Descendant of the Crane
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Descendant of the Crane

4.9  ·  Rating details ·  40 Ratings  ·  50 Reviews
Tyrants cut out hearts. Rulers sacrifice their own

Princess Hesina of Yan has always been eager to shirk the responsibilities of the crown, but when her beloved father is murdered, she’s thrust into power, suddenly the queen of an unstable kingdom. Determined to find her father’s killer, Hesina does something desperate: she engages the aid of a soothsayer—a treasonous act,
Expected publication: April 2nd 2019 by Albert Whitman
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Joan He It's a standalone with the potential for companion books! Two currently exist in my head, narrated by new characters but also featuring the old, and…moreIt's a standalone with the potential for companion books! Two currently exist in my head, narrated by new characters but also featuring the old, and continuing the storyline started in DESCENDANT OF THE CRANE.(less)
Joan He I'd have to say the interaction of character and plot! I love reading a unique plot, and brewing up twists and turns in my own, but what I love most…moreI'd have to say the interaction of character and plot! I love reading a unique plot, and brewing up twists and turns in my own, but what I love most is designing each beat of the story to maximize character PAIN (and occasionally happiness :) ).(less)

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Joan He
Nov 06, 2017 added it  ·  (Review from the author)
8.29.18 edit: We have a cover!! It's so very Chinese, and I'm really humbled that so many of you love it.

I also wanted to clarify something about the accuracy of the story. China has an incredibly epic history. It's also an epically misogynistic one. The only time women's rights was really an agenda was during the Cultural Revolution, and even then, it was to further a GREATER agenda (taking down the established families and landlords).

The book addresses this. It's a fantasy, of course, so it's
Elise (TheBookishActress)
Oct 28, 2017 marked it as releases-2019
oh my god the cover

⭐⭐⭐Chinese-inspired Game of Thrones!!
Oct 03, 2018 marked it as to-read
✨    jamieson   ✨
Aug 28, 2018 marked it as to-read
Shelves: anticipated-2019
this cover is prettier than me but im ok with it

also this is game of thrones but with chinese influence and probably will be coming out more reliably than actual got so like ?? whats not to love ????
Aimee ♥ | Aimee, Always
Aug 28, 2018 marked it as to-read
Shelves: 2019
this is chinese-inspired!!!!! yay for more representation of my culture 😍

Oct 17, 2017 rated it it was amazing
THIS BOOK. This book!!! One of the few GAME OF THRONES comps I've seen that truly lives up to the bloody, devious, sprawling feel of the original -- and in a Chinese imperial dynasty setting to boot! DON'T SLEEP ON THIS ONE.
Azraa F
Mar 10, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: favorites
A queen should decry things in style.


Carve your own fate. Understand, Little Bird?





Descendant of the Crane is so good. So twisty, so smart, so intricate. Like, Joan is a star. And you will be in awe of her talent and skill and ability to take over the world. I swear, she could run an empire. And the CHARACTERS. You will LOVE and HATE and SWOOOOOON. I am going to throw this at everyone. This book deserves to b
Laura Pohl
Oct 17, 2017 rated it it was amazing
I read an early draft of this way back in 2015. Joan and I had just met in a CP forum, and she was one of the first people to exchange manuscripts with me. I was so stunned by her writing, her descriptions are lush and her characters are amazing. This whole book is heart-wrenching, and I only know what it'll be even more excellent as a finished copy. I'm so proud of Joan and her journey, and you should all add this to your TBR.
Descendant of the Crane made me abandon all my academic requirements, lose an entire night’s worth of sleep (I finished at around 7:30 in the morning), and had me crying at least thrice.

It certainly delivers on being a Chinese-inspired Game of Thrones, although some scenes made me think that perhaps GoT pales in comparison to this impeccably written debut. I think I just read the best novel to be released in 2019, and 2018 isn’t even over yet.

Full review to come!

* The universe smiled upon me an
Hafsah Faizal
Mar 09, 2018 rated it it was amazing
A gripping tale full of intrigue, unpredictable twists, and betrayal—this is the Chinese fantasy readers have been waiting for.

Hesina is what many of us girls once were: obligated to age before our time, to take on roles we should not have had to bear. It's a reality many girls of color are forced to endure, and it was as refreshing as it was bittersweet to read. Hesina, royal by birth, does not take all of her newfound responsibilities without struggle and without a hefty dose of mistakes, and
Aug 26, 2018 marked it as to-read
I will buy anything that says "Chinese-inspired."
Can someone tattoo that gorgeous cover on me?

I swear I don't want to read anything that isn't this book.
K. Wolf
Oct 17, 2017 rated it it was amazing
I read an early version of this novel and, guys. Prepare to have your socks knocked off by amazing worldbuilding, page-turning intrigue, and characters that make you go through all the feels.
I can't WAIT to have a copy in my hands.
Cindy ✩☽ Savage Queen ♔
This cover is channeling all the right Asian vibes
Chinese-inspired Game of Thrones...interesting...
Aug 28, 2018 marked it as to-read
Allie Penn
I'm so excited for this book and for Joan!!
Ellie (faerieontheshelf)
I am so so so glad this book exists
Kyra Nelson
Oct 17, 2017 rated it it was amazing
I got to read an early version of this. I know a lot has changed but it was so good even back then. It's going to be even more awesome now, and I can't wait to have a copy to hold in my hands!
Katie Zhao
May 10, 2018 rated it it was amazing
This is the Chinese historical Game of Thrones book that I never knew I needed in my life until I read it. Joan weaves in political intrigue and mystery into this period piece so well. I devoured the second half of the book in a single evening because I couldn't look away, and I'm still reeling from the ending. I adore this book and can't wait for it to come out and wow the world. And now I'm dying for the sequel!!!
♠️ TABI = 타비 ♠️

and ohhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhh is that a lovely cover!
Delirious Disquisitions
Aug 31, 2018 marked it as to-read
Shelves: fantasy
You had me at the cover. I don't even need the description when the cover is this beautiful! Look at this art! Look at it! I need a poster of this damn cover so I can hang it on my bedroom wall and stare at it in awe every day!
Cora ☕ Tea Party Princess
Just get on my shelf already, OK?
Bells Duarte
Aug 28, 2018 rated it it was amazing
I'm totally putting this book on the top of my TBR because of the cover. I'm not even sorry.
Sep 24, 2018 rated it it was amazing
This book completely captivated me with its political intrigue, shocking twists and betrayals, intricate relationships, a kingdom on the brink of war, and, at its heart, a rising queen who is at once unsure how to step into the role she's prepared for all her life and determined to lead with wisdom, truth, and compassion as her guides. DESCENDANT OF THE CRANE is an exciting, beautiful story of love and loss and what it takes to rule a kingdom divided by prejudice and dangerous, intriguing magic. ...more
Aug 16, 2018 marked it as i-need
Update--WE HAVE A COVER! God, this is BEAUTIFUL!!!
I never realized how badly I needed this book until now. I am now 100% convinced that 2019 is trying to kill me.
Chinese-inspired Game of Thrones -- all you need to know!
Jamie Pacton
Oct 23, 2017 rated it it was amazing
I've read this book in several different forms and I love it so much! Joan has built a beautiful, complex world where magic is forbidden and where a young girl has a world of responsibility placed on her shoulders after her father dies. Pitched as "Chinese Game of Thrones" (and believe me, it lives up to that promise and then some), this book has a twisty plot, gorgeous writing, and unforgettable characters (seriously, I still think about them). What really stands out to me here, beyond all the ...more
Mar 12, 2018 rated it it was amazing
I read DESCENDANT OF THE CRANE by Joan He in advance of publication. This is the kind of well-wrought story that you will fall into headlong, losing hours of the day as you won’t be able to stop from turning the pages. Sometimes you’ll find yourself reading too quickly, caught up in the mystery of the King’s assassination, and you’ll have to remind yourself to slow down. To pace yourself. To enjoy the balance of He’s words on the page.

And sometimes you’ll race through the chapters anyway, as st
Apr 20, 2018 marked it as to-read
Shelves: own-voices, tbr, princess

I NEED THIS BOOK IN MY LIFE. Another book that I've always wanted to read/write.

EDIT Aug 31 2018 - I pre-ordred tf out of this. I'M READY, JOAN. I will never not be ready for a Chinese(-esque) princess becoming queen. I'm very glad the author had the idea in mind to address the swathes of misogyny in Chinese history, so I'm very, very ready to read this book with that mutual understanding as someone who is also diaspora Chinese.

Princesses are my brand! Epic fantasy is my brand! Non-
Mara Rutherford
Oct 25, 2017 rated it it was amazing
As the Pitch Wars mentor for this brilliant book, I can say that Joan He is one of the smartest, most immersive writers I've had the honor to work with. Her Chinese-inspired fantasy world hooked me instantly, and the intrigue and plot twists carried me through. I can't wait to hold the finished copy!
Susie Wang
Aug 29, 2018 marked it as to-read
Glad to see a Chinese inspired fantasy book out there.

But I feel like I should clarify it for people who are not familiar with ancient China, this story would never ever happen in ancient China even if magic was real. In ancient China, it was impossible for a woman to be the ruler of a kingdom. Yes, Wu Zetian did it, she defied the rules. But she did it through a coup. She didn't have the right to inherit the throne, nor did her daughters. She still had to give the throne "back" to a male succes
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Joan started out in art - the pencil-sketching, oil-painting kind of art - only to discover the art of the written word. So here she is now, love undivided.

When she's not writing or senioring at the University of Pennsylvania (where she studies Psychology and East Asian Languages and Cultures), she hunts down cute wombat videos, drinks an obscene amount of iced coffee, and pretends she can handle