Review: Jade City (The Green Bone Saga #1) by Fonda Lee

Jade City

Series : The Green Bone Saga

Publisher : Orbit Books

Source : Publisher

Release Date : November 7th 2017

 

FAMILY IS DUTY. MAGIC IS POWER. HONOR IS EVERYTHING.
Magical jade—mined, traded, stolen, and killed for—is the lifeblood of the island of Kekon. For centuries, honorable Green Bone warriors like the Kaul family have used it to enhance their abilities and defend the island from foreign invasion.

Now the war is over and a new generation of Kauls vies for control of Kekon’s bustling capital city. They care about nothing but protecting their own, cornering the jade market, and defending the districts under their protection. Ancient tradition has little place in this rapidly changing nation.

When a powerful new drug emerges that lets anyone—even foreigners—wield jade, the simmering tension between the Kauls and the rival Ayt family erupts into open violence. The outcome of this clan war will determine the fate of all Green Bones—from their grandest patriarch to the lowliest motorcycle runner on the streets—and of Kekon itself.

Jade City begins an epic tale of family, honor, and those who live and die by the ancient laws of jade and blood.

Tash M

Fonda Lee’s Jade City is more than an ordinary fantasy novel. A rich diverse urban  fantasy  exploring  power, gangsters and wild fights.   It looks at the dynamics of Asian families and the ties that bind them together blood or not in a clever spellbinding way that will leave you addicted.  With well placed characters that grab your attention with action, words and development.  Lee’s  Jade City is a welcome urban fantasy into a market that is embracing  diverse  stories.

Jade City the place  is the nickname for Kekon home to the  Kekonese  people. Despite being an island nation, Kekon is a powerful  player in the story. Surrounded by bigger countries that  desire the jade and the power they once held over them.  Kekon is watched carefully as the people of  Kekon go on their daily lives.   Not   just by  the other countries but their fellow countrymen and woman who held the power  now and determined to do anything to keep it

These  Kekonese Greenbones, the ones who hold power  are the ones who drives this novel.   Divided into a number of Clans , Greenbones have the ability  harness  Jade and the powers they give them  to become warriors  . The first   chapter of this saga follow the two big Clans that were established after the great war that changed the history of the island forever allowing them to become independent and govern themselves .

There  has never been harmony  between the clans. Words are saved for the political arena where they try to protect their country as well themselves. The two clans skirmish over territories and jade despite gruntingly respecting each other . However times are changing for the No Peak and the Mountains who   collided together hard  in this first instalment. At the fore front is the Kaul family headed by Kaul Sen who is revered by the Kekonese Greenbones   alongside Ayt Yugotin.  They were the leaders  when the two clans were one as the great  Mountain clan until they spilt due   to jade and money  and  the Kaul family formed the No Peaks.  It’s no  surprise give the current climate that threaten to explode at any moment due to the same issues that have driven them to warring for years.

Whilst both clans are key players in this chapter, the story more looks at things from No Peak side of things as we  follow the next generation of leaders who family history should make them perfect for  the roles that given into .  Going about their daily lives running the clan and dealing with problems that threat them personally  and professional.  The   Kaul  family is complex , each of the  grandchildren.  Lan, Hilo and Shae  have been thrust into roles they aren’t exactly prepared for  and  carry scars  that challenge their interactions with each other and   the Clan. Whilst they love each other,  there are clear lines when it comes to certain things with this family. They provided the main voices to this complex story.

Lan  the oldest of the trio is the Pillar, handed the role by his grandfather and whilst he is keen to make  a mark on the community. Only the Pillar for a couple of years, his grandfather’s legacy weighs heavy on him  given that he leads the clan during testing times.  Lan wants to be a considerate  leader  yet he has to be hard given his  much younger brother Hilo runs his mouth wild and thinks with his fists first .  Hilo once worshiped Lan, but now  as  the youngest  Horn in history  demands respect and equality with his brother. Making demands that  please him, but it  cost Lan .

Hilo is sharp on his feet and loyalty is easily given to him. He  easily connects with the fist and the fingers the ordinary woman and men  who serve the clan as warriors. With the Mailks under him helping him  control the warriors, Hilo is feared and revered depending who you talked to . However Hilo isn’t satisfied even at a young age given this power. He craves something more, not just in the clan but with his family and life .

Leaving Shea the once  clear favourite with their grandfather, on the outer. Govern by past decisions that caused tension and heartache in the family. She has return at a key turning point for the clan After  having a taste  of the common enemy , the Espeian’s life  Her return is cautiously welcomed by her family  as she struggles with returning to the fold. Her brothers are challenging each other and Shea is seen a sort of peacemaker and able to gel the family together for the better of the Clan. Shea isn’t a fan of the situation she has returned to and is the one of the outliers of the family determined to  find a place in society without the Kaul name.   She once embraced the Greenbones way of things but now seek solace  in simpler things .   Despite this she is still a powerful woman that embraces the power she hold and lead the charge for the few women that feature in this novel. All strong minded individuals not afraid of their roles in this society govern by power .

But when you are part of family that has a history that shed blood and sweat for the nation, Shae can’t escape.   Three rich narratives that shape the novel yet Lee isn’t done.  This is only the beginning of the characters that shape the novel and she introduce a number of side characters that  play important roles.  One of these key side character is   Anden Emery a character that hold the bridge between the two clans.    That brings gel to the novel allowing us to seemingly flutter to one character to another without concern. Andy may have been seen as a character that was brought in to strength certain elements. However it is quickly obvious that  he is an eye opener to the dark side of things of an  already murky  storyline.

Anden offers a youthful portrayal to this complex novel yet it hardened by life’s experience. Adopted into the Kaul family and his family lineage traced to  Mountain clan. He totters between the sides as  he worries about completing his schooling and becoming a working member of the Clan.  Anden is adored by his older cousins and seen as a valuable member. Yet struggles even more then Shea given his  past and  that everything has been handed on a silver plate to him.  Yet he only experiences the real Kekon society, the one that respects his cousins but whispers about him.  He shows a Kekon that allows us to gain a wider picture of things.

Such a wide picture we get is a testimony  to the author writing skill. Writing a complex  urban fantasy that  appeal s on a number of levels. Jade City is built a number elements  that work well together providing  a entertaining story told from various characters from all walks of life  that delves into all aspects of Asian society from vastly different positions. Expect plenty of action, words and blood as the Clans  determine their positions in the first chapter of this saga. Whilst obvious  elements of Asian culture are explored in this first novel well. There is potential for growth  with themes explore and arc introduces in this story and I look forward to the next chapter of this saga after this glorious opening book.  There so much that could be discussed about this first. The inner family dynamics, the power that jade bring. The drug which drives novel but there needs to be a mysterious air about this novel to full appreciate it and will leave it on this note.

 

 

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