A Crane Among Wolves | June Hur 


Coming May 14th, 2024 from Feiwel & Friends; 364 pages 

Content Warning: Rape (mentioned), sexual abuse, misogyny, kidnapping women and girls, sex trafficking, incest (mentioned), violence, murder, animal cruelty, suicide (mentioned), infanticide (mentioned), psychological trauma, and panic attacks

About the Author: “JUNE HUR (허주은) is an Edgar Award-winning author of bestselling YA historical mysteries and romances, including The Silence of Bones, The Forest of Stolen Girls, and The Red Palace. Born in South Korea, June spent her formative years in the USA, Canada, and South Korea before studying History and Literature at the University of Toronto and working at the city’s public library. Her work has been featured in Forbes, NPR, The New York Times, CBC, and KBS. June’s upcoming releases, A Crane Among Wolves and Adoration, are set for May 2024 and 2026. She resides in Toronto with her family and can be spotted writing in coffee shops” (Bio from author’s Goodreads profile).

Find June Hur on the following platforms:

“One is imprisoned by a thousand rules as a woman, and no one will explain to me why such rules exist.”

A Crane Among Wolves is a historical fiction set in 1506 in Joseon, now known as Korea. During this time, the kingdom suffered under the rule of King Yeonsan, who stole the people’s land, banned books and their writing system, and kidnapped and abused women as his personal courtesans. In the novel, Iseul has been fairly safe in her village, but when her sister Suyeon is taken by the King, she travels across the kingdom to try and get her back. However, she quickly realizes any attempt to retrieve her sister will be met with certain death. Prince Daehyun has had to watch as his half-brother, King Yeonsan, abused and executed the people of the kingdom. Daehyun is desperate to dethrone him, but he knows he has to be careful. When Iseul and Daehyun cross paths, they put their differences aside to try and do the impossible: overthrow the king. 

As someone who loves historical fiction, I was quite excited to read this book. After finishing it, I have mixed feelings. June Hur put extensive research into this novel, and you can tell when reading it. The historical aspect of the novel was very well-done and taught me so much about this dark time in Korean history, which I appreciated. There were some beautiful, heartfelt moments in the novel, as well as profound quotes that highlighted the atrocities hundreds of women went through during this time. At first, I disliked Iseul’s character, but she went through great character development and I grew to admire her. I also liked Daehyun and his complicated history. However, I felt like the book lacked a spark. I struggled to emotionally connect with the characters, even when they seemed to be saying all of the right things, and parts of the book felt a bit rushed. There were multiple times where I found myself getting confused about what was going on and who was involved with what throughout the novel, and the ending left me feeling a bit dissatisfied. While June Hur wrote what seemed like an objectively good book, I can’t deny that it fell flat for me. I think those who like YA historical fiction and political intrigue might enjoy this, but it is not the kind of book that will change your life. 

A Crane Among Wolves releases on May 14th, 2024.

Pine Reads Review would like to thank NetGalley and Feiwel & Friends for sending us an ARC in exchange for an honest review. Any quotes are taken from an advanced copy and may be subject to change before final publication.

Sam Yanis, Pine Reads Review Writer


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