Review: A Crane Among Wolves by June Hur

A Crane Among Wolves by June Hur

A Crane Among Wolves
June Hur
Feiwel & Friends
Published May 14, 2024

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About A Crane Among Wolves

June Hur, bestselling author of The Red Palace, crafts a devastating and pulse-pounding tale that will feel all-too-relevant in today’s world, based on a true story from Korean history.

Hope is dangerous. Love is deadly.

1506, Joseon. The people suffer under the cruel reign of the tyrant King Yeonsan, powerless to stop him from commandeering their land for his recreational use, banning and burning books, and kidnapping and horrifically abusing women and girls as his personal playthings.

Seventeen-year-old Iseul has lived a sheltered, privileged life despite the kingdom’s turmoil. When her older sister, Suyeon, becomes the king’s latest prey, Iseul leaves the relative safety of her village, traveling through forbidden territory to reach the capital in hopes of stealing her sister back. But she soon discovers the king’s power is absolute, and to challenge his rule is to court certain death.

Prince Daehyun has lived his whole life in the terrifying shadow of his despicable half-brother, the king. Forced to watch King Yeonsan flaunt his predation through executions and rampant abuse of the common folk, Daehyun aches to find a way to dethrone his half-brother once and for all. When staging a coup, failure is fatal, and he’ll need help to pull it off—but there’s no way to know who he can trust.

When Iseul’s and Daehyun’s fates collide, their contempt for each other is transcended only by their mutual hate for the king. Armed with Iseul’s family connections and Daehyun’s royal access, they reluctantly join forces to launch the riskiest gamble the kingdom has ever

Save her sister. Free the people. Destroy a tyrant.

A Crane Among Wolves on Goodreads

My Review

I enjoyed this book a lot. The story balances the character relationships and the larger political plot with its murder investigation and coup preparations really well. I felt like I truly got to know Prince Daehyun and Iseul, so it was easy to root for them to achieve their goals.

I love sister stories, so I couldn’t help investing in Iseul’s desperate mission to rescue her sister. Though the girls weren’t close before her sister was kidnapped, losing her made Iseul realize how much she appreciates and needs her sister. It makes her realize how much her sister protected her, and she wants to protect her sister now, too. I love that.

Another thing I really enjoyed is the enemies-to-lovers slow-burn romance between Iseul and Daehyun. I giggled through the moments where they would be like, hmmm, I can’t stop thinking about [the other person] for some reason.

The author’s note at the end clarifies some of the story elements that depart from the historical account and why those changes were made. This is the first book by June Hur that I’ve ever read, but I definitely want to read more. I liked this a lot. Readers who enjoyed Descendant of the Crane by Joan He should check this one out.

A Crane Among Wolves on Bookshop

Content Notes

Recommended for Ages 14 up.

Characters are Korean.

Profanity/Crude Language Content
A few instances of mild profanity. One f-bomb.

Romance/Sexual Content
Kissing between boy and girl. References to rape (not depicted on scene). Some men (minor characters) treat women like property to be traded or collected.

A girl who was sent to the king (for sex) appears dissociated and traumatized afterward.

Spiritual Content
Someone predicted that the prince would die in the year the story takes place.

Violent Content
Situations of peril. Some brief battle scenes. References to rape and suicide (not depicted). Some descriptions of murder scenes. The king uses his position to force people to do cruel, terrible things, such as kill others. He beats and abuses people. He kidnaps women.

Drug Content

Note: This post contains affiliate links, which do not cost you anything to use but help support this blog. I received a free copy of A Crane Among Wolves in exchange for my honest review. All opinions are my own.

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About Kasey

Reads things. Writes things. Fluent in sarcasm. Willful optimist. Cat companion, chocolate connoisseur, coffee drinker. There are some who call me Mom.

2 Responses to Review: A Crane Among Wolves by June Hur

  1. This book is on my TBR list, and I’m interviewing June at Literary Rambles in une. I’m glad you enjoyed her book so much. You’ve got me even more excited to read it.

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