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A Crane Among Wolves by June Hur
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A Crane Among Wolves (edition 2024)

by June Hur (Author)

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In a kingdom gripped by turmoil, privileged seventeen-year-old Iseul defies danger to rescue her sister Suyeon from the absolute power of tyrannical King Yeonsan, while Prince Daehyun, desperate to overthrow his despotic half-brother, forms an uneasy alliance with Iseul, leading them to join forces in a perilous gamble against the oppressive regime.… (more)
Member:Si_Titran
Title:A Crane Among Wolves
Authors:June Hur (Author)
Info:Feiwel & Friends (2024), 368 pages
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A Crane Among Wolves by June Hur

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Every page propels the mystery and intrigue forward to create an exciting adventure with more than a few dark undertones.

Iseul is determined to save her older sister after the king nabbed her from the village and dragged her to the capital to join his ever-growing circle of concubines. The entire kingdom suffers under the tyrant's cruel rule, one which has left Iseul parentless after the king's last 'purge' on his government officials. With no money and no allies, the task is dangerous and impossible, but even if it means her death, Iseul won't let her sister suffer. When she's set face-to-face with a series of murders which is threatening the king, she realizes that finding the criminal might be the only chance she has to save her sister. But that brings her to the prince, and he will either be her undoing, her greatest ally, or both.

When I picked this up, I was expecting an historical read...which this is but not with as many details as I expected. Instead, the setting radiates through the little things, which demonstrate the aspects of the daily life, ideologies, and cultures around 1506. This was a tumultuous time in Korean history, where the king lost his mind in greed and power. The author doesn't numb the cruelty, which also means there are more than a few triggers in this read. Still, it doesn't settle into the gore of details, but rather, lets the situations hit with the seriousness and emotions they deserve.

It's a darker read, which even goes beyond the cruelty of the king and heads into a string of murders and mystery. There's quite a bit of intrigue thrown in, which when mixed with the planning of a coup, creates a heavy weave that thickens and thickens. There's a lot to work through, and that in just this one novel. It creates a quick-paced read with little time to take a breath before the next twist arrives. The general world building does slide back in terms of scenery and surroundings, and this will be an easier read for those who have already sunk into Asian culture before. But it's a tale, which grabs and stays tense the entire way through.

On the character end, the author has placed the leads in two, very different realms before bringing them together. The tale switches back and forth between Iseul and Daehyun, and they don't meet until several chapters in. This gives the reader time to get a feel for both personalities as well as gain the needed foundation of life inside and outside of the palace. When the two meet, it's not insta-attraction by any means. Romance isn't high on the list when lives are at stake on so many levels. It was refreshing to see the main issues remain in control over the romance in a YA read. This strong flow of plot did mean less on character depth and reflection, but that also makes it a lighter read...if it can be called that.

While this didn't have as much of the historical flair as I expected, it is an exciting read. The intrigue, mystery, and dangerous situations drive each moment forward and add many tense moments. The characters are determined and easy to root for as they try their best to turn everything around. Add the powerful ending, and it's well-worth a read for those who enjoy darker adventures set in historical times. I received a DRC and enjoyed reading this one quite a bit. ( )
  tdrecker | May 2, 2024 |
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In a kingdom gripped by turmoil, privileged seventeen-year-old Iseul defies danger to rescue her sister Suyeon from the absolute power of tyrannical King Yeonsan, while Prince Daehyun, desperate to overthrow his despotic half-brother, forms an uneasy alliance with Iseul, leading them to join forces in a perilous gamble against the oppressive regime.

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