Format: Hardcover, 512 pages
Release Date: November 7, 2017
Genre: Fiction / Fantasy / Epic
Award-winning author Fonda Lee explodes onto the adult fantasy scene with Jade City, an epic saga reminiscent of The Godfather with magic and kungfu, set in an Asia-inspired fantasy metropolis.FAMILY IS DUTY. MAGIC IS POWER. HONOR IS EVERYTHING.
Jade is the lifeblood of the island of Kekon. It has been mined, traded, stolen, and killed for -- and for centuries, honorable Green Bone warriors like the Kaul family have used it to enhance their magical 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.
Jade City, by author Fonda Lee, is the first installment in the authors Green Bone Saga. This is Fonda Lee's first endeavor into the adult fantasy genre. This is Fonda's idea of a society where magical jade grants special abilities to warriors with the proper training and bloodline. Jade City is a story that relies heavily on Asian culture, especially family, power, politics, and betrayal. It is epic fantasy meets organized crime in a world with modern technology. It is a story that could take place on Hong Kong or Taiwan, especially when you take in consideration the food that the author features.
This is a story about two clans who control the Island of Kekon. The Kaul and the Ayt's. The two clans control those who make the decisions for the citizens of Kekon. They may not hold power legally, but they do know what buttons to push and get what they want when they want it. The two clans are warriors who have been fighting for dominance, territory, and complete control over the islands Jade supply which gives the clans superhuman powers and abilities. It is very much like a Mafia story where organized crime control almost every aspect of those who live on Kekon, and the innocents are always the one caught in the cross-fire.
The Kaul's are the primary featured clan. The Kaul's have a long history of being at the center of almost everything, including a rebellion that gained them their freedom. In this world, those who wear jade and are able to use it are called Green Bones. The family even has its own hierarchy. From the Pillar (Kaul Lan), to the Weather Man who is a close confidant of the families grandfather, to The Horn (Kaul Hilo) who is the clans muscle. The last member of the family is Kaul Shae who left Kekon for 2 years, before coming home and finding that she has been dragged deeper than she ever wanted to be into the families dealings.
As long as this book is, Jade City could have definitely been a standalone. As I've said above, this book definitely centers around a culture which I am thinking is Taiwan, more than Hong Kong. My favorite character in this story is Shae. My least favorite is Anden, the boy who was adopted into the family, and the one that the Kaul's have the most hope for a bright future with. There is also a character named Bero who I felt was just a was of space and time the author could have spent on other things.
I do believe that if you are a fan of The Grace of Kings, A Song of Ice and Fire, and perhaps Games of Thrones and The Sopranos, you will definitely enjoy this story. Lee, as an Asian-American, knows her stuff, so it should be no surprise that she should use an all Asian cast to tell her story. This is a pretty solid start to the series. The world building is pretty impressive, and the magic system is pretty unique to this particular genre. I also felt a bit of realism in this story that you won't necessarily get from an epic fantasy novel. I love the mixture of modern technology with fantastic action scenes throughout the story.