• Well Red

Not the book for me...

Title: Descendant of the Crane

Author: Joan He

Published: 2019

Publisher: Titan Books

Rating: ***.5

Genre: Fantasy

Setting: Yan

Difficulty: Mild Pages: 400

Series: Standalone

Always spoiler free. Ah – well, in this case, some spoilers because specific parts of the plot annoyed me, but I’ve done my best to avoid anything major.

I bought this book as part of an Instagram readathon (#ReadingAsiaPacific) created @candid_copywriter & @theurban_reader for April. I had seen the book around bookstagram and it was suggested as one of the books to read for the readathon, so it felt like it was meant to be!

When Princess Hesina of Yan’s father is murdered she will do anything to discover who killed him. But in order to uncover what really happen, she must contemplate doing what is banned in her country – consort with a soothsayer; something that if was discovered comes with the death penalty.

I don’t know if it’s just me at the moment, but a lot of the books I’ve been reading recently just haven’t hit the spot for me. Descendant of the Crane was one of those. I’m honestly not sure if it’s because I’ve had a bit too much of YA and want something that’s a bit more gritty, or if I’m just in a bad sort of mood!

Descendant of the Crane was a ‘good’ book. I just didn’t love it. If you ask me what I liked, I really like Hesina. Good characterisation!

There were some parts of the plot that just didn’t work for me. I could have done with a bit more exposition of how the world worked – I understand it was based on China, but my knowledge base of Chinese history is very limited and parts of the mix of historical and fantasy confused me; specifically the tenants and their influence over Hesina and others but also the fact that she seemed to have no real authority and was also able to run around doing whatever she wanted at times with no protection? I don’t know if this was for plot reasons, or if Chinese rulers really had that much freedom/restrictions (it’s both at the same time, Hesina seems mostly to be just a ‘figurehead’ but also is expected to be able to change the destiny of a country?).

THE ENDING. The ending begs for a continuation. It wraps up NOTHING. NOTHING. And yet according to He that is the end of the story. No more. Which is a nightmare because it begs for a continuation to find out what happened to Yan (politics, a better future…everything), what happens next to Hesina and what happens next to almost every single other character. What happens to the mirid of side plot lines. It makes NO sense to me that this is the end of the story.

I know this is a good book. The writing is good. The characters and the plot lines are twisty, which is good, but I didn’t feel like they fully delivered on what was promised or wrapped up in a way that I loved. The twist at the end wasn’t completely unexpected, but enough to make me interested. There were definitely interesting twists throughout that were a surprise, but it did feel disjointed, like it was several different ideas crammed into one book (if that makes sense)?

The more I think about it, the more I find parts of the book that I just didn’t enjoy. It really isn’t a bad book, but just not the right book for me. And I think that’s okay.

Well Red Reviews

Would I recommend this book? If you like YA Fantasy, probably, but it just wasn’t for me!

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