Title: Jade War
Author: Fonda Lee
Publisher: Orbit Books
Publication date: 23 July 2019
Genres: Adult, Fantasy
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.
The universe was clearly working in my favour when I was given the honour of participating in the Jade War blog tour organised by Shealea @ Caffeine Book Tours.
Of course, the biggest thank you to Shealea for hosting this mammoth of a blog tour and working alongside Fonda Lee and her publishing team to give us all physical copies to review! The participants of this tour are all wonderful and extremely talented and I can’t wait to see what everyone’s thoughts are on this brilliant gem of a book! Check out my review and playlist!
Rating: ★★★★★ (5/5)
*I received a finished copy via Caffeine Book Tours in return for an honest review. This in no way affected my opinion of the book.*
We return to the city of Janloon, where the Mountain and No Peak clans have seemingly announced a public truce. But secretly the leaders of their respective clan continue to fight for control of their nation Kekon, home to the only source of jade, a magical energy source which strengthens its users. With the rise of jade smugglers, the Kaul family must work together to if they wish to bring down Ayt Mada while also squashing rising tensions within Kekon and its neighbouring countries.
My first thoughts after finishing Jade War weren’t even something I could describe. An incoherent stream of yelling seems rather fitting. The sheer joy I experienced from reading this novel is something that can’t be easily replicated.
I can’t decide what makes this series so exhilarating. It’s smart, action-filled with an intricate plot that doesn’t let you down. It truly has the perfect blend of brilliant worldbuilding and damn near perfect characters that reside within it. Everything felt so vivid and realistic and, more importantly, believable. The attention to detail is spot on, and nothing is forgettable. Jade War takes us out of Kekon and really delves deeper into the other countries. Usually, I would lean towards one or the other, worldbuilding or characters, but the Green Bone saga really hits the mark on everything.
Like in Jade City, there are many alternate perspectives, but the core ones remain the members of the Kaul family. And Lee solidifies her cast of characters that are immensely complex and ridiculously compelling.
Hilo was the game changer for me. There is so much growth and development with him that he has become one of my favourite male characters. His initial dangerous demeanour can be dissuading, but he is so protective of his loved ones that he has no choice but to act out to protect them. He is one of the series’ best characters.
Shae really stood out the most for me, personally, and her character truly grabbed my heart and was clearly unwilling to let go. Her role as Weather Man continues to be undermined daily, and she’s trying her hardest to prove to everyone she can her job, and not letting her personal life, which introduces a romantic relationship, conflict with her duty to the clan. Wen, now wife to Hilo, really makes her mark in Jade War. Hilo naturally fears for her since she’s resistant to jade, making her an easier target. But she refuses to let anyone stop her from helping her clan, her family. Her compassion and strength really amazed me. Wen and Shae, especially, are unstoppable and when they work together, shit gets done.
Anden is genuinely my favourite character in the series. In Jade War, he embarks on a new life, jade-free, on his cousin’s order, and even then, he can never truly escape the green life he was born into. What I loved, especially about Anden’s arc is that it brought to life the land beyond Kekon. And Anden he comes as a stranger and slowly learns that there’s a way to living green that is entirely different from the way he was brought up. The rules are stricter in different ways. Everything is on a different playing field when living jade-less, making it quite different from his own upbringing where Jade was crucial to your identity. And despite his promises to his family to keep a low-profile, he still manages to find trouble.
Family is such a core theme, and the circumstances the characters face put them under all sorts of pressure. Whether it be tradition, duty, honour or personal feelings, they return to each other because that’s what they’re fighting for. Stories that focus on familial love is what I love the most, and this series has, hands down, one of the best fictional families ever.
I realise I haven’t touched on this on my previous review of Jade City, but the fight scenes deserve a more extended discussion of its own. It truly comes to life and takes your breath away. The fight scenes are so brutal that I wasn’t sure if I would survive what would happen next. Having a story this ambitious and complex is not an easy feat, and Lee is incredible to have created a story so intense and satisfying.
I was already head over heels obsessed with the Green Bone world, but Jade War just confirmed every feeling I had from Jade City wasn’t a fluke or a one-off. Jade City glittered with a promise of something bigger, and Jade War delivered that with a big bang. I have zero ideas of what will happen next, but I do know that is the clan is my blood, and the Pillar is its master. Fonda Lee deserves every word of praise and accolade she gets from this series, this series deserves it all and more.
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About the author
Fonda Lee writes science fiction and fantasy for adults and teens. She is the author of the Green Bone Saga, beginning with Jade City (Orbit), which won the 2018 World Fantasy Award for Best Novel, was nominated for the Nebula Award and the Locus Award, and was named a Best Book of 2017 by NPR, Barnes & Noble, Syfy Wire, and others. The second book in the Green Bone Saga, Jade War, releases in the summer of 2019. Fonda’s young adult science fiction novels Zeroboxer (Flux), Exo and Cross Fire (Scholastic), have garnered numerous accolades including being named Junior Library Guild Selection, Andre Norton Award finalist, Oregon Book Award finalist, Oregon Spirit Book Award winner, and YALSA Top Ten Quick Pick for Reluctant Young Adult Readers. In 2018, Fonda gained the distinction of winning the Aurora Award, Canada’s national science fiction and fantasy award, twice in the same year for Best Novel and Best Young Adult Novel.
Fonda wrote her first novel, about a dragon on a quest for a magic pendant, in fifth grade during the long bus ride to and from school each day. Many years later, she cast her high school classmates as characters in her second novel, a pulpy superhero saga co-written with a friend by passing a graphing calculator back and forth during biology class. Fortunately, both of these experiments are lost to the world forever.
Fonda is a former corporate strategist who has worked for or advised a number of Fortune 500 companies. She holds black belts in karate and kung fu, goes mad for smart action movies (think The Matrix, Inception, and Minority Report) and is an Eggs Benedict enthusiast. Born and raised in Calgary, Canada, she currently resides in Portland, Oregon.