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Jade City (The Green Bone Saga) Hardcover – November 7, 2017
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"Stylish and action-packed, full of ambitious families and guilt-ridden loves, Jade City is an epic drama reminiscent of the best classic Hong Kong gangster films but set in a fantasy metropolis so gritty and well-imagined that you'll forget you're reading a book."―Ken Liu, winner of the Hugo, Nebula, and World Fantasy Awards
"Jade City has it all: a beautifully realized setting, a great cast of characters, and dramatic action scenes. What a fun, gripping read!"―Ann Leckie, author of the Hugo, Nebula, and Arthur C. Clarke Award winning novel Ancillary Justice
"Lee's astute worldbuilding raises the stakes for her vivid and tautly-described action scenes." ―Scott Lynch, New York Times-bestselling author of The Lies of Locke Lamora
"Lee draws on her Chinese heritage, passion for gangster stories, and strong writing to launch a Godfather-inspired fantasy series that mixes bold martial-arts action and vivid worldbuilding. The result is terrific."―Library Journal (Pick of the Month, starred review)
"As this ambitious and complex story unfolds, Lee (Exo) skillfully juggles a huge cast. Her action scenes are flashy, brutal, and cinematic, while the family dynamics hold their own weight and significance. This is an engaging blend of crime drama and Asian martial arts film tropes.... an intense, satisfying experience."―Publishers Weekly
"Intricate, fast-moving, and brazen, Jade City elevates the fantasy crime novel to something really special. A sharp and insightful new voice."―Elizabeth Bear, winner of the Hugo and Locus Awards
"With a powerful family of complex characters -- including my favorite, Kaul Shaelinsan -- Jade City beckons readers to secret family meetings and public battles between warring clans. With magical jade at stake, winning the battle for control of a city has never been more important, or more dangerous. Fonda Lee's first adult novel is a fast-hitting, tantalizing, sometimes unsettling, and always insightful book with a wealth of power at its core. A modern-day epic."―Fran Wilde, award-winning author of Updraft, Cloudbound, and Horizon
"Lee has a supreme talent for world-building.... Jade City is a fierce, energetic and stylish story that will keep you engrossed from start to end."―Culturefly
"How does a book make me giddy and heartbroken at the same time? Jade City delivers intrigue, family drama, and martial arts magic that feels absolutely real."―Mary Robinette Kowal
"Fast cars, brilliant characters, and gangster kung-fu! Swift, intricate, and vicious as a talon knife, Fonda Lee's Jade City will pull you into a world of deft intrigue, hard choices, and bloody loyalty. Lee's written the postcolonial Godfather hiding under the surface of the Avatar: the Last Airbender universe -- and it's a fantastic read."―Max Gladstone, Hugo Award-nominated author of the Craft Sequence
About the Author
Fonda Lee is the award-winning author of the YA science fiction novels Zeroboxer and Exo. Born and raised in Canada, Lee is a black belt martial artist, a former corporate strategist, and action movie aficionado who now lives in Portland, Oregon with her family. Jade City is her adult debut.
Top customer reviews
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The setting unfolds in a way that plays off familiar movie tropes, but the characters all feel deeply human. Their personalities are unique and really well realized, many are individually relatable in one aspect or another. The story plays off the unfamiliar cultural expectations in a way that ended up resonating more personally.
The world also has a depth to it that means I was often uncertain how the story would play out. There seems like there is more going on than any character is aware of. There are definitely no simple happy endings, but the arc of the story was satisfying... leaving a number of threads to lead forward to the next part of the saga.
Over twenty years ago, the island nation of Kekon won their freedom through the feats of the Green Bone warriors and their loyal Lantern Men. Now, Kekon is coming into the modern age, and the Green Bones have splintered into clans, of which the two largest and most powerful are led by the Kaul and Ayt families. While they do not hold official political power, the Kaul and Ayt families are the powers behind the throne in Kekon. When war threatens to break out between them, it will effect all of Kekon.
Jade City focuses on the Kaul family, which has recently passed the leadership over to the grandson of the freedom fighting patriarch, now an elderly and deteriorating man. The Kaul family consists of Lan, the new head of the family; Hilo, Lan’s brother who’s in charge of the military/street enforcers branch of the clan; Shae, their sister who left the family, determined to make her own way; and Anden, their school aged adopted brother. Like other Green Bone families, jade is paramount. Kekon’s jade has special properties that allow those who wear it to gain supernatural abilities, but it is also dangerous. Green Bones have special training and resistance that allows them to wear jade without being driven insane. How much jade you wear is a sign of how significant you are.
I really loved the world building of Jade City. It gives me two things I’m always looking for in fantasy novels: second world fantasy with modern technology and non-Western cultural influences. I’ve never read anything quite like it, although Max Gladstone’s Craft Sequence probably comes the closest. The world Fonda Lee creates feels lived in and real. While the narrative focuses on Kekon, it’s easy to believe that an entire world expands out beyond the borders of the island.
If I had one wish, it’d be for more female POV characters. Kekon is a male dominated, macho culture. While women now enter academies to train to become Green Bones (a modern development) and there are no legal barriers to them holding leadership, the culture is still slanted towards male domination. I.e. it’s a lot like the world we live in with respect to gender norms. It was interesting to see how each of the five main POV characters (the Kaul family, plus a street rat named Bero) interact with their culture’s gender norms. Shae turns her back on her clan and Green Bone culture partly because she’s frustrated with it’s obsession with male honor and how women are sidelined. While Lan is the leader of the clan, he sometimes departs from what is expected of him as a Green Bone patriarch; for instance, it’s considered unusual that he didn’t have his ex-wife’s lover killed and instead let the two of them leave Kekon. Andan is a bit of an outsider, as a mix raced, queer teenager. He struggles to be accepted in a society prejudiced against him (queer people are considered unlucky, and anyone mixed race is considered foreign, even if they were born and raised in Kekon like Andan). Hilo is the character who most embodies Kekon’s standards of toxic masculinity (he cannot understand why Lan wouldn’t let him kill the ex-wife’s lover), and Bero idealizes that sort of masculinity and is determined to gain jade of his own. Perhaps this is why I never much cared for Hilo or Bero.
Fonda Lee has martial arts training, and it shows in the exquisite, jade powered fight scenes of Jade City. As I mentioned at the beginning, the first third is a bit slow to take off, but once Jade City picked up steam it was unstoppable. I found myself reading even when I’d been planning on doing other things.
This story of magical fueled, mobster politics was a sheer delight. I’m excited to read a sequel, and I may look into Fonda Lee’s back list in the meantime.
I received an ARC in exchange for a free and honest review.
At first I was in love with the rich history and world building that Lee guides us through. It is lush, detailed, full of jade and secrets. In my three pages of notes I have so many mentions of how amazing and immersive the world is. Recently I have been reading some fantasy where I had question, but this book gives it all to me. It even has a few short chapters with little legends/tales that the characters know.
But soon I was falling in love with the characters - even the side ones. I fell straight in love with Shae, but even the ones who were not my instant favorites like Bero and Hilo I found myself admiring. And don't even get me started on what I'd do for Anden. But like even the 'villains' I found entirely compelling.
The plot was masterful and complex and I am so unworthy to even describe it. But it will take you on a wild ride that shows you a city on the border of change - between progress and tradition. The tide will rip the city apart and even the families within as a new wind blows through.
Do yourself a favor. If you are interested in some FANTASTIC adult fantasy, read this.
Disclaimer: I received a copy of this book in exchange for an honest review from Netgalley.
Most recent customer reviews
Jade City is the beginning of an interesting and ambitious trilogy. The first book, Jade City, will be released in only a few days ( Nov 4th).Read more
I enjoyed this urban fantasy more than expected.Read more