Jade is the lifeblood of the island of Kekon. It has been mined, traded, stolen, and killed for — and for centuries, honorable Green Bone warriors like the Kaul family have used it to enhance their magical 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.
Jade City is the first novel in an epic trilogy about family, honor, and those who live and die by the ancient laws of blood and jade.
The characters in this novel were likeable, relatable and interesting. There was the calm and gentle-hearted Lan, who was the eldest sibling of the Kaul family, and the new Pillar of the No Peak clan; the expressive and volatile Hilo, who was the leader of the clan’s military; and Shae, the youngest daughter who returned from her studies abroad and did not want anything to do with the clan or jade.
Underneath the intricate plot was the sibling dynamics between Lan, Hilo, Shae, the adoptive brother Anden. They loved each other and yet, being part of a family that held immense power in the city of Janloon, their relationships were complicated.
The whole concept of the story reminded me of those Chinese martial art movies that I used to love back in the day.
There was a plot twist that slapped me in the face and broke my heart, and was completely unexpected.
The WORLDBUILDING. I loved learning about the political structure of the clan as well as the governing body in Kekon. I loved learning about the culture and the history of Kekon and the surrounding nations. It felt Asian-inspired and yet different from the world that we live in today. The world of jade felt real to me as I was reading this book.
The audiobook was fantastic.
As much as I loved Lan, Hilo and Anden, I wished that there was more… empowered women in this novel. Sure, there were a handful of confident and independent women (such as Shae and Wen,) but they didn’t play as central of a role as I had hoped in influencing the plot towards the end. Wishing that there would be more girl power in the next book.
Although the plot was engaging overall, I found that the politics towards the end of the book bogged down the pacing a bit. Rather than the fast-paced Greenbone action scenes that I was expecting, the later chapters were filled with board meetings and negotiations.
Overall, I enjoyed Jade City because of the lovable characters and the immersive Asian-inspired setting. If you’re looking for action, fantasy, and lots of family drama, give this book a try!