“FAMILY IS DUTY. MAGIC IS POWER. HONOR IS EVERYTHING.”
Author: Fonda Lee
Category: Fantasy, Urban Fantasy
Series: The Green Bone Saga #1
I picked this up from the library a few months ago and sadly was not able to get around to reading it before it had to be returned (which seems to be the case with more than half of the books that I check out from the library but for some reason I always convince myself that this time will be different). I wish that I had read it sooner.
I will say straight off, I know this book is not going to be for everyone. After a very action-packed first few chapters, the pacing of the story slows down a lot and takes a while to pick back up.
But I for one was very impressed with this book.
So, let’s set the scene.
This is a fantasy universe but not any sort of medieval Europe at all. It is more 1980s-ish as far as technology that is available, at least on the island of Kekon where the story takes place, and felt somewhat Japanese. Kekon has been isolated for several centuries up until the past few decades so they are still catching up to other countries in some respects.
But what Kekon has that other countries do not is jade. Not just any green rocks that can be found in the ground. This jade can give the people native to Kekon superpowers. And now drugs have been manufactured by another nation that allows their soldiers to use the jade as well so Kekon is having to strike a balance between maintaining peaceful foreign relations and also maintaining strict control over who can use jade.
But the nation island of Kekon is not just ruled by its government. It is also openly shadow-ruled by the clans: essentially mob families that compete with each other control, the largest being No Peak Clan and Mountain Clan. This story follows the POVs of four characters: Lan, the Pillar (head) of No Peak Clan, his brother Hilo, and sister Shae, and their teenage cousin Anden.
This story is pretty intricate and a little twisty turn-y at times but honestly the thing that made me love this book was that this author proved that she will not shy away from character death. I promise no more details than that, just know that not everyone is safe!
I feel like way too often, an author will foreshadow or hint at a character death or that they are in danger and then save them at the last minute. As a reader, I of course get invested in these characters but sometimes I just really want an author to rip my heart out and show me that they are not playing around! A character’s demise was foreshadowed and foreshadowed and foreshadowed some more in Jade City and although the death saddened me alot, I was weirdly appreciative that it had been followed through on.
On one hand, this makes the book sound a little predictable. And honestly, it was to an extent. I saw the hinted at traitor for who they were early on. But that’s okay because the storytelling was strong enough that I was enjoying going through the character’s reactions as they reached the same conclusions I had.
I think the only real drawback from the story that will make it not for everybody is the pacing. After a very strong, action-paced beginning, the story does slow down a lot and it takes a while to get going again. Again though, I just really enjoyed these characters and the unique setting enough that I maintained my interest the whole way through.
Absolutely can’t wait for book 2!
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