Last Updated on December 20, 2022 by ThoughtsStained
Yes, I am not only finally posting another book review, but I’ve also FINALLY READ Jady City by Fonda Lee. Friends, the biggest fool is me. I am the fool, for waiting so long to read a book that is truly, utterly masterclass. You were all right. I apologize for my ineptitude. (And, is it strictly out of fear that I haven’t started Jade War yet? Yes, yes it is.)
If you are like me and haven’t read this book yet, let me tell you exactly why you should below!
An ARC copy was given to me by the publisher in exchange for an honest review. Thank you!
Publisher: Orbit Books | Release Date: June 2018 | Pages: 560
Age Range: Adult | Genre: Fantasy | Format: Hardcover | Source: ARC
JADE CITY is a gripping Godfather-esque saga of intergenerational blood feuds, vicious politics, magic, and kungfu.
The Kaul family is one of two crime syndicates that control the island of Kekon. It’s the only place in the world that produces rare magical jade, which grants those with the right training and heritage superhuman abilities.
The Green Bone clans of honorable jade-wearing warriors once protected the island from foreign invasion–but nowadays, in a bustling post-war metropolis full of fast cars and foreign money, Green Bone families like the Kauls are primarily involved in commerce, construction, and the everyday upkeep of the districts under their protection.
When the simmering tension between the Kauls and their greatest rivals erupts into open violence in the streets, the outcome of this clan war will determine the fate of all Green Bones and the future of Kekon itself.
On the Page
- Amputation (forced)
- Drug Abuse
- Needles and syringes
- War themes and military violence
- Abuse relationships
- Emotional abuse
- Loss of limb
Content warnings are written up by me, unless specified. Subject to being an incomplete list, though guided by referencing this list and trying to highlight as many as I can identify.
- Representation of women: My absolute favorite thing, I think (if I can manage to pin down one thing) is the varied representation of the women in this novel–especially in a society where women aren’t always considered to be at the forefront. We have Ayt Madashi, Pillar of the Mountain Peak clan, who I can’t help but respect for her ruthless tenacity and fearlessness to chase what she wants, regardless of the cost. Then, Shae Kaul, rejected daughter of the Kauls who gets roped back into family politics after returning to Kekon. Shae’s complexity and struggle with her family duty and the life she wants to create for herself is so powerful and realistic. And then we have Maik Wenruxian, a stone-eye in the world who is in love with Hilo, No Peak’s Horn, and sister of two prominent fists within the clan. A character that could easily fall into the shadows, yet Lee doesn’t dare.
- Worldbuilding: I’m not always the best at remembering things after finishing a book, yet the worldbuilding details within Asian-inspired Jady City are so crisp, so poignant, so well delivered, that the world of Kekon and the complications of clan life are inscribed upon my brain. I am in awe.
- Characters: Not only do I love all of the women in this book and how they are portrayed, but just the characters in general. Holy SHIT, am I just so enamored (or full of hate) with them all. I’m particularly fond of Hilo, not gonna lie.
- No Peak Clan: “The clan is my blood and the pillar is its master. […] Under the eyes of all the gods in Heaven, I pledge this, on my honor, my life and my jade.” I will die for No Peak clan.
- NOTHING. This is perfection.
I knew, as I sat on a plane reading Jade City on my way to Sirens (where I actually got to meet Fonda Lee!!!); when, right as we landed, I’m literally wiping tears away and just positively floored upon reaching a very pivotal moment (page 280), that this was a five gem read for me. All Fonda Lee had to do was not mess up the ending. And not only did she deliver, but this ending was so riveting, so rewarding and so revolutionary that I’m still having a book hangover currently.
Jade City is a fantastic, relentless start of a series that promises to be as gut-wrenching as it pack a punch. A story of family, loyalty and jade, the beautiful writing, masterclass worldbuilding and characters will leave you reeling and begging for the next book. Which, luckily, is already here (not to mention that the finale, Jade Legacy, comes out on November 8th!). Do not make the mistake of waiting to start this series, friends. You will absolutely not regret it.