Jade War by Fonda Lee // Book Review

The sequel to Jade City definitely delivers and I think this world is a new obsession for me. Thanks to Orbit Books for the gifted book. My opinions haven’t been influenced by the publisher or the author.

Here’s more about Jade War

In Jade War, the sequel to the World Fantasy Award-winning novel Jade City, the Kaul siblings battle rival clans for honor and control over an Asia-inspired fantasy metropolis.

On the island of Kekon, the Kaul family is locked in a violent feud for control of the capital city and the supply of magical jade that endows trained Green Bone warriors with supernatural powers they alone have possessed for hundreds of years.

Beyond Kekon’s borders, war is brewing. Powerful foreign governments and mercenary criminal kingpins alike turn their eyes on the island nation. Jade, Kekon’s most prized resource, could make them rich – or give them the edge they’d need to topple their rivals.

Faced with threats on all sides, the Kaul family is forced to form new and dangerous alliances, confront enemies in the darkest streets and the tallest office towers, and put honor aside in order to do whatever it takes to ensure their own survival – and that of all the Green Bones of Kekon.

Jade War is the second book of the Green Bone Saga, an epic trilogy about family, honor, and those who live and die by the ancient laws of blood and jade.

My thoughts

This was such an incredible book and literally so much intrigue in this one that you can get lost in all of it. This time, the story foucsed less on the rivalry between the two clans (the Mountain and the No Peak clans), and focused on how these clans were planning their next step.

A this point, it’s not as simple as claiming territory on the small piece of land in Kekon, but expansion out into the other countries. After the Mountain clan revealed that they’ve been doing dealings overseas, the No Peak clan also wanted to get a little of that action focusing their effort to expand in Espenia. But with a huge war between two countries happening, refugees from those countries coming to Kekon, and jade in desperate demand, there was money to be made even if it muddled the major ideologies behind wearing jade.

I was truly surprised by this ending and what all the political dealings surmounted to. I may have seen it if I were paying more attention to the story and the political components of the book, so it was surprising to see how all the war and turmoil and war turned out to be a bigger plot device! Both families have some interesting business happening and while you’re only reading the No Peak side, it’s still quite interesting to see how they decide to expand their business.

Of course this was also a much deeper development into Hilo, Shae, and Anden and the characters that surround them. They’re not only acclimating into the roles they’re designated, but you see them try to push so hard against it as well. It was really interesting to see Shae try to become the Weather Man. While she’s got the mind for business, it also felt like she tried to keep some semblance of herself in the mix by having a relationship and trying to avoid the more gruesome sides of her job. However, there were things that were just unavoidable and watching Shae reluctantly step deeper into the role of Weather Man was heartbreaking in some ways.

The same goes for Anden as he’s shipped off to Espenia to live a life without jade. While he’s there, he somehow stumbles into the Green Bone families of that island and becomes a bigger component to the No Peak clan. It was interesting to see both Shae and Anden discover their true selves while also being pulled into the worlds their family built. My favorite character was probably Wen who grows massively from this story. Don’t let a Stone Eye with a heart of green fool you!

I will say the story felt a bit slower for me. Focusing more on the political and economical gains for the families didn’t make much for a compelling story. It felt more character-driven with the No Peak clan family being its driver. Granted, that’s pretty much until the ending when a lot of the really big points in the novel take place. There are other moments throughout the book to drive your interests, but I kept asking myself where all of this was going at a few points.

Overall, this was such a great story and sequel to Jade City. It really felt like The Godfather Part two where Michael starts dealings with Cuba and legitimize the business, but similarly to the movie, it did drag a little as everything set itself up for the final chapter.

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