Book Review

Jade War

Jade War

  • Author: Fonda Lee
  • Genre: Fantasy
  • Publication Date: July 23, 2019
  • Publisher: Orbit
  • Series: The Green Bone Saga #2

CONTENT WARNING: murder, gun violence, gore, torture, suicide, substance use, mention of rape, mention of abortion

Rating: 5 out of 5.

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 the 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 to the island nation. Jade, Kekon’s most prized resource, could make them rich — or give them the edge they need to topple their rivals.

Faced with threats on all sides, the Kaul family must form new and dangerous alliances, confront enemies in the darkest streets and the tallest office towers, and put honor aside to do whatever it takes to ensure their own survival — and that of all the Green Bones of Kekon.

Just when I thought this series couldn’t possibly get better, and I couldn’t be more in awe of Fonda Lee’s talents as a writer, I realized quite how wrong I was. Since I did this as a buddy read with Becky @ Becky’s Book Blog, I know I’m not the only one who was blown away by this book and the series.

This book is much more expansive that the last book. I’m talking more POVs, more locations where the action takes place, and more storylines. But somehow,  it never felt confusing or cluttered at any point. While Jade City was centered firmly in Janloon, Jade War brought the action out into more areas of the world, taking the characters to various countries where the action only intensifies. 

The story picks up 16 months after the events of the last book, and the only time I ever got a little confused was when the timeline sped up unexpectedly. However, once I realized that, I was prepared and didn’t get confused when time sped up in future segments. The main characters from the last book still maintain POVs, with Hilo, Shae, and Anden giving us insight into various areas of clan dealings. But there’s a lot more that we learn from other characters. I don’t want to give away too much, but the story is so spread out that we learn a lot about what is happening, even as there is a war brewing and no shortage of difficulty faced by No Peak. With all of these issues, the clan war has been forced to a back burner.

“The world outside of Kekon was exerting forces that derailed even a blood feud between the Green Bone clans.”

Despite the fact that Hilo, Shae, and the rest of No Peak aren’t exactly “good guys,” I still wanted them to do well. They aren’t your typical heroes, but they’re also better than the Mountain clan, from the POVs that we were shown. They stick to their code of honor, and I found myself rooting for them no matter what. I was especially impressed with how much Hilo has grown into his role as Pillar.

“Hilo was the most hands-on Pillar anyone had ever known. He still left most of the business and political matters to her, but she’d seen him sitting at the kitchen table in the evenings, forcing his ways through industry reports and highlighting the parts he needed to ask her about.”

There’s plenty of violence, but also some romance, even an LGBT romance storyline that had me cheering! The characters were complex and well-developed, even the side characters. I understood their motivations and reasoning, making them feel even more realistic. The world-building and character development were just two of the aspects that made this one of the best books I’ve read in a long time. The other was the incredibly engrossing plot. I couldn’t bear to stop reading, and stayed up way past my bedtime to finish the book — just because I had to find out what happened. And the ending? It was completely satisfying, but also left me with the feeling that I need to get my hands on the next book right now. Which is a problem, since it doesn’t come out until September. I have no idea how I’m supposed to wait that long!

Half of the buddy read was Becky and I discussing the actual stuff happening in the book, and the other half was the two of us raving about this book, because yeah, it was seriously just that good. Plus, it never hurts to have someone who is just as excited about it as you to buddy read with. I know what the two of us will be doing when the third book is released … buddy reading it!

People who have sat around with me while I’m reading, especially when there’s a surprising reveal, a shocking plot twist, or an unexpected event often look up in alarm when I gasp audibly. The gasp factor is directly related to the number of times I audibly gasp during a reading, and there isn’t an upper limit.

Gasp Factor: 26

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