Descendant of the Crane

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      'Deep world-building, magical family secrets, and intricate palace politics—Descendant of the Crane soars from page one. Its twists and treacheries kept me guessing until the very end.'—Rachel Hartman, New York Times bestselling author of SeraphinaTyrants 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 enlists the aid of a soothsayer—a treasonous act, punishable by death... because in Yan, magic was outlawed centuries ago.Using the information illicitly provided by the sooth, and uncertain if she can trust even her family, Hesina turns to Akira—a brilliant investigator who's also a convicted criminal with secrets of his own. With the future of her kingdom at stake, can Hesina find justice for her father? Or will the cost be too high?In this shimmering Chinese-inspired fantasy, debut author Joan He introduces a determined and vulnerable young heroine struggling to do right in a world brimming with deception.
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Booklist Reviews 2019 April #1

When Princess Hesina's beloved father dies suddenly, it's clear to her that he was murdered. Rules of succession demand she assume the throne, but she is much more interested in finding out who killed him and why his murder is being covered up by the court. Debut author He started writing the story as a senior in high school, and her college studies in both Chinese history and psychology shape this fast-paced tale of political intrigue. Details of Chinese language, clothing, and customs abound, and there's a plot twist around every corner: shady characters, betrayal, red herrings, and the conflict found in the urge to use magic in a kingdom where magic is forbidden. Determined to avenge her father's death, Hesina breaks rules, fights duels, and engages the services of convicted young criminal Akira, who investigates her father's death. Romance between the headstrong princess and enigmatic, brilliant Akira seems inevitable—and forbidden. A fully realized history helps make this adventure, rooted in Chinese folklore, feel epic, while Hesina's fierce determination will appeal to contemporary readers. Grades 9-12. Copyright 2019 Booklist Reviews.