Jade City by Fonda Lee focuses on the Kaul family aka The No Peak Clan of Kekon. The Kaul’s have been tussling for control over Kekon for centuries. They face stiff competition from the Ayt family who live in the mountains. One thing that both of these groups have in common is their pursuit to gain ultimate control over a resource known as Jade. Jade is the source of ultimate power and gives users the ability to enhance themselves. This resource can’t be used by everyone, only a select number of people known as Green Bones can use it. Green Bones are feared and respected in Kekon. If you’re a Green Bone you’ve basically made it in life.
However, a brand new substance/drug is making its rounds in Kekon, allowing anyone from within the country and outside of Kekon to use Jade to their advantage. All evidence points to the Ayt family releasing this drug which inevitably leads to violene kicking off between the No Peak Clan and The Mountain Clan. Who will gain the ultimate control over the jade trade? Whose ass will be handed on a platter? The Kaul’s or the Ayt’s? Well as always you’ll have to read the book to find out 😋.
First and foremost I want to say that Fonda Lee has created a world which is packed with suspense and action around every corner. This book had me ready to fly kick someone in the face(added for dramatic effect). No but seriously I really loved this book. Kekon is bustling with life and death for that matter. There is so much tension throughout as to whether the two rival clans will face off. When they do it’s like two fists of fire hurdling towards each other. But is more than just using ones fists, each clan is trying to outsmart one another and stay two steps ahead. The political elements add many twists and turns that keep you on your toes.
From a cultural perspective, I loved the East Asian inspiration behind the characters and world. I would love to see this book be turned into a show/movie. I can already picture a slightly younger Andy Lau as Lan and Daniel Wu as Hilo.
The magic system in this novel was unique and reminded me a lot of Mistborn in terms of the fact that a valuable resource determines who will be on top. There’s a lot more to it however, as always with great power comes great consequences. Jade is a substance that one shouldn’t be exposed to too often as it can impact ones psyche. This is something we learn about Andy’s mother. Showing that there is a downside to having too much power was a good thing as it shows having all the power isn’t necessary a good thing in the long term.
When considering the characters, the novel is told from the POV of five main characters and one side character.
🟢First we have the Pillar of No Peak, Kaul Lan. Lan is basically the current head of the family and is doing all he can to hold things together. Lan doesn’t want a war between the Kaul’s and Ayt’s to happen and wants peace which is easier said than done. He is also facing his own issues which we later discover.
🟢Then we have the Horn of No Peak, Kaul Hilo. Hilo I believe is the loose canon of the family. He lacks the patience and hurls into situations without thinking of the consequences. But he soon learns he needs to bide his time and think before acting.
🟢Thirdly we have Kaul Shae. Shae left the family hierarchy to pursue an education in Espenia. This is something her grandfather wasn’t happy about leaving him feeling bitter. Shae returns to Kekon wanting to be more independent and not be involved in the family business. However, the fight soon reaches her and she must decide whether she wants to help out the family or not.
🟢 Finally, having been adopted by the Kaul’s after the death of his mother, Anden aka Andy is now at the final year of his training at The Kaul academy. But with the war looming Andy is quickly thrown in the middle whether he likes it or not.
I pretty much liked all of the characters. It was very easy to warm to them and feel some type of attachment. I would say I was a lot more attached to Shae and Lan and really enjoyed their perspective. Through Lan we see his struggles and the huge amount of pressure he is under. This in turn comes at a huge cost as you’ll see. Shae was interesting because she’s coming back having left everything behind in Kekon. She wants no part in her families business and wants a fresh start. But that doesn’t last long.
Overall, Jade City is fricking brilliant and I am so excited to read Jade War. Fonda Lee is a superb writer and I am definitely a huge fan of her work now. I expect more moments of 😮🙇🏽♂️😳😱 in book two. Thank you Angela and Orbit for sending me a copy. I am forever grateful for these opportunities.