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Descendant of the Crane: He Joan

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See, centuries before, the gnarled hand of oppression loosened its grip on Yan’s throat when the relic emperors were overthrown by the Eleven—a legendary group of outlaw saviors. It also felt as if these characters were held at an arm’s length because of the prose itself—which others have seemed to enjoy, but didn’t flow well and felt unnatural to me. I genuinely hoped there would be a chance of preserving my original vision (3 total companion books) and selling books 2 and 3 to the same pub and continuing the story, if I could just prove that there was an audience for book 1. Both kingdoms are on the brink of civil war/foreign war, and about to implode from all the factions of unrest stirring up drama within the community. I had not managed to organize my puzzlement into a question before the plot begun eddying around in a speedy, gasp-out-loud, page-flipping style—each new certainty leading not to the next steppingstone but into a quagmire.

Descendant of the Crane was a story about human people in an inhuman world—it was a story about a kingdom which carried the wounds of centuries past, its hurts unhealed and cutting deep, its bitterness and hate festering together like rot. Her inner conflict between whether to do what is good for her family and friends or her people plays a big part in the story and you can see how much she thinks about every decision she takes, how she weighs the good and the bad and, in the end, she always takes a risk for what is right. Reading this after THE GIRL KING turned out to be a really weird experience because they are both very similar stories. It was a story about a queen who sought to stitch her kingdom back together, to sew its wounds shut and soothe its hurts—a queen who, in the end, rose from the mire of her insecurities and doubts, of her despair and pain, to bloom like a lotus flower from the mud: strong, resilient and beautiful. It's thought-provoking, well-written, rich in details of era-appropriate attire and consistent worldbuilding.However, the largest problem I have with this novel (and I really can't express how palpable this problem was! There are four ministries if I’m not wrong, a secretariat (or more; I might have missed details about this part) and a grand advisor, all of which work with the king/queen. I love the moral complexity and political intricacies of GoT, and He's book was listed as one of Leigh Bardugo's most anticipated reads of 2019, so obviously I applied for an ARC.

This is probably more of a personal gripe, but, man, do I wish [spoiler] did that sacrifice thing less randomly. The imperial doctors say the king died a natural death, but Hesina has reason to believe he was murdered. if anything, it should be the other way around - magic as the main focus with the politics and war plots as support. There wasn't a heavy emphasis on romance (which I thought was good) but there was a lot about family. But as she takes over as queen, we start to see all the political and social forces of this kingdom at play.Overall, I appreciated the slower, more political plot, but there were parts of the book that went on too long and felt dragged out, but truthfully this could be said for about 95% of YA fantasy debuts. The second is that this is one of those books that I think would have been better as an adult novel. It's a reality many girls of color are forced to endure, and it was as refreshing as it was bittersweet to read. And all of the reviews from my Goodreads friends had me psyched and ready to rock on the hype train.

The setting is fascinating - what happens to a revolution if the premise is pushed awry and the founders can’t undo their mistakes? If you want to understand a person, peer at his heart through the window of his prejudices and assumptions”.It also features a number of plot twists and ends on the biggest plot twist of all, making me expect a sequel and simultaneously want to look a certain character in the eye to say "I’ll beat thee, but I would infect my hands.

He really pulls out all the stops with this book, and the sheer number of twists and turns have me screaming.This little gem may have escaped my notice if I hadn't seen a list of highly anticipated YA novels for 2019.

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