Title / Jade City
Author / Fonda Lee
Publication Date / 2017
Series or standalone / book 1 of 3
Page no. / 512
Overall Rating / ★★
Goodreads synopsis: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.
This one is actually going to be quite a hard one to review. I wanted to love it and there are things I really liked about it but overall this one just didn’t work for me. It is the first book in an adult fantasy series. Firstly I loved the concept of this book. Basically it is set in the fictional world of Kekon, where Jade is a precious stone that will enhance a warrior’s capability in 6 different ways: strength, perception, steel, lightness, deflection and channelling. The more Jade you have, the more power you can harness. Kekon is reminiscent of Southeast Asian countries and the capital is Janloon. The capital is controlled by two warring clans; the No Peak Clan and the Mountain Clan. I think the author did a fantastic job at creating these two warring clans. I love these types of settings and I really enjoyed this aspect of the book. We get to see the conflict through the eyes of a few members of the No Peak Clan. I thought the world building was one of the main strengths of this book. Lee has done a great job at creating a vivid world with an interesting magic system. I really liked the magic system but I think it could definitely have done with more explanation. Despite my issues with the plot, which I’ll mention later, overall I thought it was quite good and I think a lot of people will enjoy it.
So it’s was a little tricky for me to come up with the reason I didn’t love this. It’s one of those books you can’t quite put your finger on why, if that makes sense, but I’ll try to order my thoughts for you guys. Firstly I think the pacing was an issue. It felt quite uneven at times, which meant that I struggled a little to keep invested in the story. There were sections that really pulled me in, but these parts would end and I would be less invested again, if that makes sense. Due to this the plot moves at a painfully slow pace at times, which detracts from the story itself. I also felt that the plot felt quite thin at certain points throughout the book. This book is just over 500 pages long but I don’t think it needed to be. The characters had potential to be fantastic, but I personally felt that they lacked development. To me it also seemed that some decisions made by characters were done purely as a way to move on the plot, despite the fact they felt contradictory to who the character was. The last thing I wanted to mention is the lack of suspense. I don’t know whether it’s just me but I didn’t see the wider picture of the conflict. Why are the two clans fighting? What happens if one side wins? Each clan is just as bad as the other and I didn’t fully grasp why we were supposed to root for one over the other. Maybe that’s just because I skim read parts and missed something.
Overall this was a good book, but in the end I found it didn’t find its footing. I didn’t become fully invested in the characters or story, despite the fact there are so many great things about this book. I know I didn’t rate it very highly but I would still recommend checking this one out, because I think a lot of people will enjoy it. Have you read this book? I would love to know your thought I hope you are all having a wonderful day and I will see you next time.