Jade City by Fonda Lee

Jade-City-final-cover-e1495648519644Title: Jade City
Series: The Green Bone Saga #1
Stand-alone: Yes
Author(s): Fonda Lee
Publisher: Orbit
Format: ARC
Release Date: November 7th 2017
Pages: 444
Genre(s): Fantasy
ISBN13: 9780316440868


If anyone had told me that they would publish a book that would blend The Godfather with magic in an Asian setting, I would have probably been skeptical and overlooked it without second-guessing my decision. Fonda Lee brings shames to doubters with her latest novel part of The Green Bone Saga series, Jade City. Maybe it is my love for anything related to organized crime (Goodfellas, The Sopranos, The Godfather, etc.) that helped me enjoy this more than I thought I would, but the author strives to deliver a brilliant story that stands tall and proud with its detailed world-building.

This urban fantasy is a fine example of a tale that focuses on a family-oriented development with an Asian touch to its lore. The organized crime structure incorporated in this story has all its rules, traditions and superstitions spiked with a dose of fantasy. On top of all the elements that constructs your typical family dilemmas in organized crime (honor, deception, betrayal, etc.), the story also finds originality with the inclusion of this mystical object known as jade in which clans find their power and respect.

Through jades, individuals find enhanced powers (Strength, Steel, Deflection, Channeling, Perception and Lightness) and use them to protect their clan’s interests or their own. Fonda Lee makes fantastic use of this element of fantasy to drive her narrative forward and create unique relationships and obstacles for her characters to develop in. You would think that this source of magic would create chaos in forms that a society could never recuperate from, but somehow Fonda Lee succeeds in incorporating it brilliantly and using it to build a world that stands firmly on a foundation supported with excellent history, culture and tradition.

The story puts the No Peak Clan into perspective and showcases the evolution of a war against the Mountain Clan. Without ever truly focusing on a particular member of the No Peak Clan, readers are given a third-person omniscient look at each character’s point of view. With each of them going through their own crisis, their position in the clan adds a constant threat to their lives and their loved ones. While their interests don’t always coincide, the story finds ways to align their destinies and create phenomenal bonding moments that will leave readers in awe.

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As much as I’d love to share the structure of these clans reminiscent of Mafia families with their boss, consigliere, underboss, caporegime and soldiers, it is something that is just worth discovering for yourself. It does take a little bit of time to get used to the ranks and the names, but as soon as you finish the puzzle, the story flows perfectly and readers will be stunned at how well Fonda Lee manipulates the lore to her advantage. Her masterful grasp on the mythology she creates is one of the reasons why this new series should be on your radar.

There is a little downside to the third-person omniscient narrative, but it’s most likely something that’s more personal than universal, and it’s how I found that the author hands us on a silver platter the very thought process of a character, dissecting their intentions and the reasoning behind what they say or what they do. It would’ve been heavenly if these moments were sometimes left for readers to deduce for themselves. I do love to understand by myself the weight of an action by a key character instead of being told how important it is. Nonetheless, it doesn’t ruin the experience at all. Everything is conveyed with great precision and keeps you glued page after page.

The story is also filled with some intense sequences, whether they are adrenaline-packed fighting scenes or massive plot twists. Fonda Lee does a wonderful job at keeping the intrigue high and strong while laying out all the scrumptious details to the lore. In fact, the fight scenes are marvelously described and are easy to visualize throughout this story. Being a black belt martial artist definitely has its perks!

Fonda Lee’s latest novel has me sold on her potential to deliver exactly what I didn’t know I needed: a war among clans considered as organized crime with a touch of magic in an Asian setting. It’s the hint of drugs and magic that just heighten the experience and promises great things. Now I’ll have to impatiently wait for her to write up the next installment in this slick jade-filled story.

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Thank you to Hachette Book Group Canada for sending me a copy for review!


You can order your own copy now!

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Amazon (USA) – Amazon (Canada)Chapters IndigoBook Depository

MY OVERALL RATING: ★★★★☆

Have you read it yet? Do you plan to? What do you think about Jade City?

Share your thoughts with me!

Till next time,

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47 thoughts on “Jade City by Fonda Lee

  1. Beth (Reading Every Night) says:

    See where it would have made you hesitant the description of ‘the Godfather blended with magic in an Asian setting’ actually really makes me want to read this book! 🙂 It sounds amazing and I’m really glad to see you enjoyed this book as well Lashaan. Granted it’s a little bit of a shame about the omniscient narrator, but that’s more of an issue with the POV in general than the book I’m guessing. Also it doesn’t seem to have spoiled your enjoyment of Jade City. 😀
    Great review. Will you be picking up more books by Fonda Lee do you think, given how much you enjoyed this one? 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

    • Lashaan (Bookidote) says:

      It did honestly intrigue me when it said “Godfather with magic” with a giant font on the book’s back though. I just would never have thought it could work out so well! That’s where Fonda Lee impressed me! 😁 And yep. It’s definitely just a point of view thing, I doubt its an issue that anyone would really point out. I’m most excited for the sequel for this (even if the wait might be long) but I haven’t thought of trying out the novels she’s written before this though. However, if I stand correct, they’re mostly YA! After enjoying this adult fantasy by her, I’d have a tough time exploring YA hahah I won’t say no though, maybe someday I’ll come across her older books and test out for fun! 😂 Thank you for reading Beth!!

      Liked by 1 person

      • Beth (Reading Every Night) says:

        Well in that case I’m glad this one did work out well. Always better when things go that way when they could have gone the other. 🙂
        I feel like it’s always a long wait for sequels to books we love. It’s feels like too long anyways. Well I suppose there there if you ever feel like picking them up, but I get what you mean it’s got to be hard jumping from one genre to another when you’re so used to it. Either way you enjoyed this book so hopefully it means you’ll enjoy the others by her even if they are YA. 🙂
        That’s all right! 😀

        Liked by 1 person

  2. Dani @ Perspective of a Writer says:

    Actually I am NOT a fan of organized crime but I LOVE paranormal Asian and actually it may be a great thing to read to mine for what the future of organized crime may look like… Yes I do research reading sometimes! 😉 I’m not a fan of the idea that everything is told to me about whys and motivations because like you Lashaan I like to deduce things myself but I love that you pointed it out and I can watch for it and see what I think (I don’t need to go in blind!) Quite a review… I like when battle and fight scenes are good and not page flippers! YAY… I ADDED it, lol. (And I’ll recommend to the WP!)

    Liked by 1 person

    • Lashaan (Bookidote) says:

      Paranormal is definitely one of those genre I haven’t touched too much just because it often comes with romance… But I am super glad that you’d still read books like these just to find out more on how they write on certain things. I wouldn’t however say that the author portrayed organized crime as it is today or in the future though. It’s much more a stereotypical vision of it, something you’d often see from the Mafia for example (just my inner criminologist talking). Reading The Godfather by Mario Puzo would always be a nice asset to anyone’s life though!!! 😀 Although it has no fantasy element or Asians in it! 😛

      It’s also something I HIGHLY prefer from movies too. I hate when they just grab you by the hand to make you understand things. I want to understand it by myself and amazed by what I discover!!! One of the reasons why The Dark Knight movie by Christopher Nolan was such a success for me.

      Glad to hear you’ve got it on your list! Hopefully you’ll get the chance to read a little bit of it. I’d be curious to hear how you like as a reader/writer. It takes a bit of time (50-100 pages) before everything settles down and you can finally understanding the lore and be fully immersed in the story.

      Liked by 1 person

  3. Bookstooge says:

    What is the process behind all the bolded words? I’m curious.

    I read your whole review first. Then I went back and just read the bolded words. On your next review I’m going to read them first to see if comes across as a min-review within the full review.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Lashaan (Bookidote) says:

      Sir, you’re the only person who’d ever ask questions like these, and I’m glad you do hahah I honestly don’t do the bold words thing, but since I’ve been trying new things with the format of my reviews, I thought I’d test this one out… All I honestly do is bold anything that seems important to my review. I try to bold a sequence of words instead of just one word, while also not bolding up a whole sentence.

      I doubt it’ll make much sense if you were to read just the bolded words. But I do love the idea of the hidden mini-review within my…long reviews! I’ll maybe try harder so that the bolded words can honestly be read without going through the whole thing though.

      Sometimes I do wonder if people skim through my reviews, so the idea of bolded words became interesting. Anyone who flies over the review won’t be able to resist the bolded words, their eyes will have to read them, whether they want to or not. I have no clue how efficient it is or if it’s even visually interesting (what was your impressions when you saw all those bolded words as you opened up the review? Happy? Troubled? Annoyed?). Thanks for noticing. 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

      • Bookstooge says:

        Ok, so no hidden, secret messages. Well, I can strike you from my suspects of Illuminati Agents that are stalking me 😉

        You are right that the eye is drawn to the bold words. I was finding that with so many words and phrases bolded that I was having a hard time reading the non-bold because my eyes kept wanting to skip ahead of what I was reading because I could “see” a bold word further along. Kind of like if I was talking to someone in a restaurant and the barkeep kept screaming out peoples names. You have to pay extra attention to the conversation or you get distracted.

        Liked by 1 person

  4. LizScanlon says:

    This is one helluva great review, Lashaan! Tells me everything I need to know about the book as a potential reader… I think the Godfather plus Asian magic is kind of blowing my mind as a concept but I am so glad to read that it worked out so well. It definitely takes a brilliant mind to pull something like this together!

    Liked by 1 person

    • Lashaan (Bookidote) says:

      Thank you, Liz! I try my best! 😛 Now that I’ve witnessed that it was actually possible and quite the concept, I can assure you that it’s definitely mind-blowing! Loved it, and would love to see more. It even had some of those old Asian martial arts movies vibe, with the whole dojos and fighting for turfs thing. I’ve watched a lot of those classic movies, and it reminded me a lot of those! I do hope she’ll be able to deliver something just as good or better for the sequel! 😀

      Liked by 1 person

    • Lashaan (Bookidote) says:

      Thanks, Nicole! By far one of the most unique twist to the whole Godfather story. I rarely even see any bestsellers around that idea nowadays too (probably not something people want to promote either though…)! Hope you get the chance to read it some day!! 😀

      Liked by 1 person

  5. Sophie Li says:

    Hello Lashaan!
    Great review! I am glad to hear that you liked this book. It is different from the sort of book that I usually read (I don’t think I have read a book about organized crime in a long, long, long time), however, I think I will give this one a try 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

    • Lashaan (Bookidote) says:

      Hey there, Sophie! Thank you!! 🙂 I find books about them are quite rare too (organized crime). I’ll always pin Mario Puzo as the only author who really had a nice (and maybe too much) grasp on the subject. Seeing this one now was pretty refreshing! 😛 Glad to hear your interest in it though. Hope you get to read it some day!! 😀

      Liked by 1 person

      • Sophie Li says:

        You are right Lashaan. Now that I think about it, I haven’t seen many books about this topic. Glad that you are able to discover another author who writes about organized crime 🙂 I have this on my tbr so I am hoping to read this some day!

        Liked by 1 person

  6. Captain's Quarters says:

    Ah so ye did in fact read and review this! I am absolutely delighted that while I didn’t finish it, ye loved it. Yer review was so fun that I wanted to read yer version of the book. Oh wait I did. So it is me and not the book in this case. Ah well. Happy reading.
    x The Captain

    Liked by 1 person

    • Lashaan (Bookidote) says:

      Silly, Captain! Maybe there were a little too much non-action chapters that loosened up the books grip on you and made you disconnect from it all for a while, but I wish you could’ve finished it up! Especially since you were still able to appreciate the world and the characters before DNF’ing it. Thanks for reading though! Hope you’ve been reading some good ones lately too! 😉

      Like

  7. Books, Vertigo and Tea says:

    Splendid review Lashaan! I have been waiting to read your thoughts on this and they do not disappoint. I think you had me at organized crime and fantasy with the mixed elements of Asain lore. This sounds truly original and that seems rarely lately (well at least for myself I am seeing a lot of similar concepts in fantasy titles). I do understand what you are saying about the narrative though. Sometimes I like interpreting situations as opposed to having them laid out for me. I am certainly adding this 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

    • Lashaan (Bookidote) says:

      Thank you Danielle!! It’s definitely a unique blend and something that I totally needed without knowing. It’s been a while since I’ve read anything like this after all and it had everything I enjoyed. And yes! That’s exactly it. But it’s definitely not something that can ruin this book though. It is done in a very entertaining way. 😀 I’ll be waiting patiently till the day you finish it to hear your thoughts on it!!!

      Liked by 1 person

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