Sorrow of the Cranes

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Sorrow of the Cranes by J.M. McDermott is a fantastical story full of adventure and discovery. Rudolfo and Drew Anaya, a happily married couple, reside in the mountains with their eldest daughter, Joy. Drew, pregnant with their second child, delights in telling Joy tales of “The Hidden World.” She paints incredible pictures along Joy’s walls as she speaks of this mysterious place, full of animals, wars, pirates, and magic. Joy, who prefers to be called Joey, cherishes storytime as much as her mother does. She loves to hear of the crane wives, beautiful birds who fly across the world, keeping the natural order in balance. When the crane wives do not fly, sickness, death, and chaos follow. All the kings of the forest revere the crane wives, for they bring happiness and peace to their lands. However, the Queen of Dolls wants to prevent the crane wives from their flight, for they bring sadness to her son, the Cyclops. As Drew tells Joy, the ending of the story has different versions, and they do not know which reigns true. Soon after Drew tells Joy these whimsical tales, she, unfortunately, passes away, leaving Joy, Rudolfo, and their new baby girl, Sorrow, to provide for themselves.

After their mother’s passing, Joy and Sorrow are left to their own means throughout the day for entertainment. This is fine by them; the girls love to play outside in the fresh mountain air with their pet pig, Roy. Unfortunately, their grandmother has other plans. She insists that the girls must come live in the city with her to attend a local all-girls school.

Little does anyone know at this point that Sorrow seems to have a gift for speaking to the birds. Not only that, but when Sorrow sings, she can do magical things. Upon revealing these and other secrets to her big sister, Joy realizes that the stories her mother passed down to her may in fact be true. As the girls uncover more mysteries, the reader is in for a ride as the Hidden World, becomes the real world.

What sets this novel apart is the amount of creativity McDermott utilizes in his writing. I loved the different animal kingdoms he described and the unique qualities of each group. I also loved the description and portrayal of the Queen of Dolls. She was an eerie character, but not too scary for young readers. Overall, I enjoyed reading of the girl’s journey of self-discovery, especially the more humorous sections focusing on Roy the pig. I would recommend this novel for ages thirteen and up, especially for those who may be struggling with their sexuality and who enjoy fantasy novels.

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Author J. M. McDermott
Star Count 3/5
Format Trade
Page Count 238 pages
Publisher Independently Published
Publish Date 09-Jan-2022
ISBN 9798793123440 Buy this Book
Issue February 2022
Category Tweens