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review 2018-03-19 03:49
Jade City by Fonda Lee - My Thoughts
Jade City (The Green Bone Saga) - Fonda Lee

I really have to start putting my thoughts down when I finish my books, not three days later! 

I really enjoyed this book, more than I thought I would, if I'm honest.  It's The Godfather meets Ninjas and Yakuza clans in a 1950's-ish time and on the Island of Kekon where jade is magical, giving enhanced abilities to some who are known as the Green Bone Warriors. 

I found the first maybe third of the book a little slow, as things got set up and we meet the main players, the Kaul family, as well as the a slew of secondary characters.  It's a typical clan type family, I guess, with the 'retired' grandfather who is having difficulty letting go of his power.  His three grandchildren, Lan, Hilo, Shae and the adopted Anden.  Lan, the eldest, is the new Pillar or head of the No Peak clan, Hilo is the Horn, the second-in-command.  Their sister, Shae, has been away from the island and the clan for a while and has been living without her jade.  Anden, the youngest, about to leave his teen years behind is a senior at the Academy, just about ready to graduate and take his jade as well as his position within the family. 

Once we begin to know all the characters and get somewhat of a handle on them, the story really kicks in.  We're talking murders, assassinations, stolen jade, government scandals, love affairs, clans heading to war and maybe even the total collapse of their island and way of life. 

The world-building is intricate and terrific and the characters, main, secondary and even the walk-ons are deftly drawn.  Once we get into things, the plot moves along quite nicely with twists and turns and surprises along the way.  Some good and some bad.  Some I saw coming, some I did not.

So, yes, this is one of those books where I wish I could write a decent review because I feel like I'm not doing it justice.  It's a terrific book and I can't wait for the second book to come out.

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review 2018-02-28 03:56
The advantages of reading blurbs:
Jade City (The Green Bone Saga) - Fonda Lee

You'll know it's not your genre before you start! Had I read it, I'd have run into the phrase " an epic saga reminiscent of The Godfather with magic and kungfu."  As it was, I went off a bunch of people reccing it, and just jumped right in, not wanting to be spoiled.

 

I was squiffy on this book because the first female character didn't show up for fifty pages (and was a mistress who was there entirely for a sex scene), and then I was squiffy on it because only one of five of the PoV characters was a woman, and it seemed like the length of the Bible between her scenes (while meanwhile all the male characters made free with gendered slurs), but that was picking up a tiny bit by the half way mark.

 

What finally finished me off was realising that I really just wanted all of the major characters to murder each other in the cleanest way possible, and the government to have to actually, you know, govern. Instead of handing everything everything off to wirefu maniacs and their gang wars. This realisation hit about when I figured out that this reminded me of nothing so much as The Hoods (made into a movie as Once Upon a Time in America). So it turns out that I don't like mafia stories? And setting them in a secondary world 1980s South East Asia doesn't make me like them more. Also, I didn't find that adding a very small amount of magic (basically making wirefu real) and then changing nothing else was the most innovative world building I'd ever run into.

 

DNF at the 50% mark.

 

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text 2018-02-25 16:46
Reading progress update: I've read 131 out of 552 pages.
Jade City (The Green Bone Saga) - Fonda Lee

Man, I'm really struggling with this one. There's a lot of politics and arguing about trade deals, which makes me happy, but the magic system isn't that interesting, and I don't care about most of the characters except for the one female PoV (out of five PoVs so far) who is someone's little sister and has shown up once. Maybe if I keep going it'll be amazing? IDK.

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text 2018-02-24 05:38
Reading progress update: I've read 54 out of 552 pages.
Jade City (The Green Bone Saga) - Fonda Lee

I'm this far in, and we've just met our first female character! She's someone's sexy sexy mistress. If this book hadn't comes so highly recced by people I trust, I'd be out by now.

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review 2017-12-26 20:14
Jade City
Jade City - Fonda Lee

What a magnificent read! A rich mix of characters, political intrigue, and family drama, Jade City kept me engaged from the first page to the last. 

The story takes place in the city of Janloon, called "Jade City" by foreigners, and the only home of a very special form of "activated" jade that grants the people who wear it supernatural powers-- if they can avoid the psychological side effects. Traditionally, only the Kekonese, the native people of Janloon, could wear and use jade, but with the Espenian foreigners' creation of a drug, "shine," that mitigates the worst of the side effects, foreigners have an increasing interest in Janloon's jade supply. Although the city is nominally run by the king and his council, in actuality, it is run by the clans, whose fearsome Green Bone warriors skirmish throughout the city and whose weathermen control the commerce. With the patriarch of the No Peak Clan drifting into grumpy senility and the ruthless Mountain Clan progressively ambitious, tensions are becoming increasingly strained within the city. With new drugs on the streets, foreign intervention, and the clans at each others' throats, Janloon is poised on the brink of chaos. 

The story follows the four family members at the top of the No Peak Clan: Kaul Lan, the cautious leader of the clan under the shadow of his formidable father; Kaul Hilo, the reckless Horn of the Green Bones; Kaul Anden, a precocious cousin trying to overcome his family's tragic history; and Shae, once a fearsome Green Bone warrior in her own right who renounced the family to live abroad and has now returned and is trying to start over as an ordinary jadeless citizen. With clan instability threatening all of Janloon, each member of the family is tested to their limit.

The story proceeds at a measured pace, fully fleshing out its main characters, from the certifiably crazy Hilo to the reckless yet analytic Shae. Anden's arc, in particular, is a wonderful setup for a sequel that I can't wait to get my hands on. If you're looking for constant adrenaline rushes and fight scenes, this probably isn't the book for you; to me, it sits more on the side of political intrigue and character development than rollercoaster ride. I think what stood out most to me was the worldbuilding, especially the parallels to our own history. The story takes place several decades after some sort of world war in which Kekon did not take part, but in which it was invaded by its neighbors. Now that it has opened its borders to foreigners, its culture and way of life is at risk by the insatiable greed of its industrialized neighbors. It's a surprisingly rich world, and one I can't wait to visit again. Count me in for the sequel!

~~I received an advanced reader copy of this ebook from the publisher, Orbit Books, in exchange for my honest (if terribly delayed!) review.~~ 

Cross-posted on Goodreads.

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