Jade City's cover
Jade City by Fonda Lee is the first The Green Bone Saga (3 books). It’s an adult secondary world fantasy with East Asian inspiration. The main characters are a powerful family on an island run by jade gangs, people who can use jade for magic. The oldest brother has recently become the head of the gang, the younger brother is the head of the muscle side of things, the sister has just returned from living abroad, and an adopted younger brother is about to finish “high school” for jade use. When a rival gang starts causing trouble, the family uncovers unsavory secrets, and everyone’s lives are thrown into dangerous chaos.
I really liked the worldbuilding in Jade City. The magic system was clear, but not overly simple. I also liked the 20s gangster vibes—very Legend of Korra season 1. Some twists were a surprise, and I liked the characterization. I never mixed anyone up, which is saying something with so large a cast. While the book was long (500+ pages) the pacing kept things moving very well.
On the downside, I did see one of the major twists coming from a mile away. This could be, once again, the curse of studying plotting.
Overall, I really liked Jade City. If you’re into unique magic systems, Asian inspired fantasy, or 20s gangsters, you’ll love this book. It’s not for you if you can’t handle violence (because ooh boy there’s a lot of blood).
Have you read Jade City? Have you read the rest of the series? Let’s discuss in the comments.