12:30 pm EDT, August 27, 2018

Exclusive: Joan He’s ‘Descendant of the Crane’ cover is rich with symbolism

We’ve got the first official look at the cover for Joan He’s Descendant of the Crane, designed by Feifei Ruan. Check it out here!

Descendant of the Crane follows Princess Hesina as she’s thrown into a position of power following the murder of her father, the King of Yan. Her kingdom is unstable, but she’s determined to find her father’s killer and is willing to commit treason to do so.

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Even though it’s against the law, and punishable by death, Hesina visits a soothsayer and gathers the information she needs to bring the murderer to justice.

She must avoid implicating herself while working with Akira, a brilliant investigator who’s hiding his own secrets. Without knowing who she can trust, including her own family, Princess Hesina will have to save her kingdom, as well as herself.

Descendant of the Crane is a Chinese-inspired fantasy from debut author Joan He. You can see an exclusive first look at the intricate cover below.

The artist, Feifei Ruan, told us, “The cover carries a mysterious vibe that comes from the complex relationship between the crane/father and the daughter. We don’t know the dangers hidden in the silence, nor the stories lain in the past. The concept of the cover is to help evoke this beautiful world of fantasy.”

Author Joan He elaborates, saying, “When Albert Whitman told me that they were bringing in Feifei Ruan to illustrate the cover for Descendant of the Crane, it felt like a meeting of minds. Feifei’s line work is as intricate as the arcs of my plot, and her pieces are comprised of layers that reveal something new with each glance.

“Above all, Feifei really understood the themes of the book. On the surface, the cover draws the reader in with saturated colors and motifs reminiscent of art nouveau. The majestic crane crowned in red is eye-catching, and the lotus flowers are beautiful.

“But Chinese culture is rich in symbolism, and the meanings behind these objects are just as important, if not more. Lotus flowers must first grow out of the mud before they can bloom; they symbolize perfection and purity of heart. In this composition, they tower around Hesina almost menacingly, representing the struggle she faces to do right by her heart as she ventures deeper into her father’s past. Her father, meanwhile, is represented as a crane, a symbol for longevity. His legacy looms long after his death, because Descendant of the Crane, for all its political machinations and twists, is a tale centered on family and truth. It’s about how things that are inherently good, such as the crane and lotus flowers, become oppressive in a different context. It’s about choosing yourself, even when those who love you think they know best.”

On a final note, He states, “My hope is that this cover resonates with readers, especially Asian Americans like myself who have, at some point in their lives, faced the same decision as Hesina: to take the path of least resistance, just like the water on which she stands, or forge her own.”

Descendant of the Crane goes on sale April 2, 2019. For now, you can pre-order it from Amazon and IndieBound or add it to your Goodreads list!

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