Trial, treason and truth explored in 'Descendant of the Crane'

“Descendant of the Crane,” Joan He’s young adult debut novel, is a Chinese-inspired coming-of-age story filled with political intrigue, courtroom drama, and family relations. Hailed by Publisher’s Weekly as a “Chinese Game of Thrones,” it doesn’t disappoint in the plot twists. The novel is separated into three sections: Treason, Trial, and Truth. The story may start out a little slow as it sets up the characters and world building, but it is worth it.

Hesina never wanted the responsibility of being the Princess of Han, but now she runs towards it. Her father has been murdered and she needs to find the culprit. To do so she commits an act of treason — consorting with a soothsayer. Following the new knowledge she gained from the soothsayer, Hesina uses her power as queen to recruit a criminal to act as her representative for the investigation, but no one is what they seem. Unsure if she can trust her own family, and hiding her sympathies for soothsayers, she must navigate the court of her unstable kingdom. Hesina’s discoveries shake the very foundation of her life.

I read the first half of the book in one day and was sucked into the world by the beautifully descriptive writing and how easily the words flowed. Some characters were likeable, and others were a pleasure to dislike. What really impressed me were the plot twists. There were a lot of things that I wasn’t expecting – especially the ending! It made me look at a character in a different light. This was a very enjoyable read. Joan He plans on writing two companion books to “Descendant of the Crane” and is definitely an author to keep an eye out for.

Library News & Events:

Storytime — Thursday mornings at 10:30 a.m. (Beginning Sept. 19). Join us for an early literacy experience for the whole family. Exciting adventures with books, songs, crafts, and more!

Wacky Wednesday — Wednesday afternoons from 3:30-5 p.m. (Beginning Sept. 4). Youth in grades 1-8 are invited to the library for a different activity each week of the month throughout the school year. After-school snacks are provided. Monthly activities include: Wii, Games, & Legos; STEAM night; Arts & Crafts; Featured Game Day; and Grab Bag activities.

Whittlin’ Woodcarvers — First and third Thursdays of the month from 1-4 p.m. Bring your whittling or carving projects and tools share your skills and learn new ones during this casual get together. The Whittlin’ Woodcarvers meet on the first and third Thursday of the month and coffee is provided.

Polka Sol — Tuesday, Sept. 3 from 6:30-7:30 p.m. Enjoy a lively performance featuring the music of two accordions and a violin. The musicians of Polka Sol will bring a variety of musical offerings to our community, including polkas, waltzes and old time songs, as well as music from Scandinavia, Ireland, France and more. This interactive event, which is infused with stories and humor, is sure to bring back memories of days gone by. Admission is free thanks to funding from the Minnesota Legacy Arts and Cultural Heritage Fund.

Genealogy Research with DNA Testing — Thursday, Sept. 26 from 6:30-7:30 p.m. Level up your genealogy research skills and learn about DNA Testing during this Genealogy Workshop featuring local expert Rick Crume. DNA testing using services such as or 23andMe can reveal insights into ethnicity, find relatives, identify inherited health risks or prove (or even disprove) relationships. Sometimes the results are a surprise! This workshop will compare the major DNA testing companies for genealogy and reveal how to use third-party tools, such as DNA Painter, to learn even more from your DNA results. This workshop is offered free of charge thanks to funding from the Minnesota Legacy Arts and Cultural Heritage Fund. Rick Crume will also be available for an hour before (5:30-6:30) and an hour after his presentation (7:30-8:30) to answer your questions about genealogy and DNA testing. Please contact the library at 218-643-2113 to reserve a time slot.

Discovering Nordic Noir — Monday, Sept. 30 from 6:30-7:30 p.m. Professor James Kaplan will share how Scandinavian crime thrillers offer readers a new way of experiencing Scandinavian culture and heritage. Dr. Kaplan, a professor emeritus at Minnesota State University Moorhead, will offer a background on the Påskekrim tradition, which is the tradition of watching or reading stories about crime during Easter, as well as an overview of popular Scandinavian crime novels, including how these books fit into the context of current social, political and economic concerns in Scandinavia. Dr. Kaplan will also highlight films based on Nordic thrillers that are available on DVD and via streaming services such as Netflix and Hulu. This event is offered free of charge thanks to funding from the Minnesota Arts and Cultural Heritage Fund.

Headwaters Day Used Book Sale — Friday, Sept. 13 from 9 a.m. — 6 p.m. and Saturday, Sept. 14 from 9 a.m. -1 p.m. The Friends of the Breckenridge Public Library will be hosting their used book sale on Friday, Sept. 7 from 9 a.m. — 5 p.m., and Saturday, Sept. 8 from 9 a.m. — 1 p.m. Help us celebrate Headwaters Day weekend by supporting your local library and finding yourself some great reads.

Like us on Facebook! Search “Breckenridge Public Library” to keep up to date on all library happenings. For more information on these and other programs, please call 218-643-2113 or visit the library at 205 7th St. N. Information is also available online at Breckenridge Library is a branch of Lake Agassiz Regional Library.

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