Jade City: Honor, Family, and Drugs

It’s been a fair minute since I really got sucked into a new book series. Since I truly had all of my expectations subverted and was sucked along on a journey where I genuinely had no clue whatsoever what would happen next. Since I’ve found a book that I struggled to put down.

Jade City did all of that and more! I was glued to this one from start to end! Its world, its characters, its magic, they’re all spectacular! This quickly became one of my favorite reads of the year!

It’s not a particularly exciting cover, but the book within is an absolute thrill!

Tensions are rising in the city of Kekon. The One Mountain Society stands divided with its two major players, the No-Peak clan and the Mountain clan, teetering closer and closer to war. The leaders of No-Peak, the Kauls, are trying their best to avoid it. But the leaders of the Mountain may not give them a choice.

Going into this book, I wasn’t sure what I was expecting. Maybe some coming-of-age fantasy story, like what Brandon Sanderson might write. What I wasn’t expecting was a Godfather-style mafia story!

But, honestly, I kinda prefer that.

This book features one of the deepest and most complicated casts I’ve seen in a long time. No character is strictly good or bad. Even those you root for have some deep flaws that, in any lesser-written story, would make them the bad guys! It makes the whole story a wonderful storm of moral grays!

Of course, we still need to like our main characters. Luckily, they’re all extremely likable! Lan is amazing, being this world’s equivalent to Ned Stark (in more ways than just his personality). Hilo is an ass, but he’s just lovable enough that you root for him. Shae’s struggle for independence is as compelling as it is tragic. On and on it goes; I could write a full analysis of every single character!

The magic system is fascinating to me. See, in this world, people get supernatural powers by wearing Jade. However, Jade is a dangerous and addictive substance. Use too much and you go crazy. It’s like a drug. We don’t get to see it in action very often, but the narrative significance of it is still remarkable!

A similar point can be made about the world itself. Kekon and everything connected to it is just a small part of this world. Just enough information is given on what goes on beyond that it feels alive. Like there really is a whole world beyond this small glimpse that we’re getting. I can’t wait to see how that’s explored in the rest of the trilogy.

Most impressive of all to me was how everything was described. Fonda Lee’s voice is gripping; the images she paints with her words are vivid and powerful! Her prose are some of the strongest I’ve ever read! This lady could describe going to buy groceries and I’d be engaged!

This book is utterly fantastic! Once I started, there was no putting it down! If you’ve never read it, I highly encourage you give it a shot! This is a fantasy masterwork worthy of standing beside the best in the genre!

And we’re only one book in! There are still two more to go!

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