Jade City: It’s a Book about Asian Magic Wielding Mobsters and it’s Fantastic!
Jade City by Fonda Lee
So kindle has daily sales and they do seem to have the most random books. But one day they put a book up for sale that sounded quite unique. It’s about modern day Asian mobsters who wield magic and are fighting for control of a city. It sounded nutty but fun and I had very very low expectations. There have been so many books over the years that sounded incredibly interesting but fails to live up to the promise it makes. As a reader I was very cautious of the novel. I only bought it for two dollars and then even after the purchase it sat on my kindle untouched for a long time. But finally one night I decided to get it a long overdue read and here is my review of Jade City by Fonda Lee.
So what is it about? It takes place in the Asian island city of Janloon. It was once a kingdom long ago full of warriors (who are nicknamed Green Bones) as they conditioned themselves over hundreds of years to wield powers of magical jade. After the multi nation war (What appears to this books version of world war two) the kingdom broke up into two clans. The No Peak Clan and Mountain Clan. Now in modern day each clan is controlling half the districts and Janloon. Each clan wants to control more than what they have and tensions are thick as they are trapped in a cold war situation.
The story focuses on the Kaul family (in modern day) who are the head of the No Peak Clan. There is Lan who is the Pillar (leader of the clan), his brother Hilo who is the Horn (the leader of the gangsters/military), Shae (An estranged sister who left the life of wielding Jade) and their adoptive cousin Aiden, who is merely a student Green Bone in training. The story jumps between these four perspectives, exploring both their personal stories and the slowly escalating trouble between the clans. As Lan tries to keep peace for the safety of the people in his districts, the Mountain Clan begins to overstep their bounds. They do so until there is thing that No-Peak cannot accept. The Mountain Clan is manufacturing of a drug so non Green Bones and foreigners can wield magic themselves, destroying the principles that Janloon stood for and creating threat out of foreigners. But even though Lan desires nothing but a peaceful resolution, it all escalates into something much worse.
The good? The book is a total surprise. I have never been a fan of kung fu movies and never enjoyed mobster films. They were never my thing. So I was not the intended audience because I am such an outsider to the genre. But this book clicked with me. It was completely enjoyable and accessible. It eases you into the world and its mechanics. I never felt lost as I know I would with other books in this same genres. Speaking of which, the whole concepts of magic wielding mobster set within a setting heavily influenced by Asian culture is astonishing. And characters are so layered. They all have their arcs throughout the story and the personal journeys are engaging. I ended up caring about everyone by the end and worried about who lived and who died. The story is also fantastic. It is so fun exciting and unpredictable.
The bad? When I was nearing the end of the book, I was wondering, if there was anything bad to say about this book. It was just perfect. Then came the ending with the conclusion of Aiden’s story. His ending is very sad. I just felt so sorry for him. I wished he could have had a better ending. That's my only complaint.
Overall, this was such a surprisingly great and amazingly imaginative book. If I had a clue that it would be so great, I never would have waited so long to read it. Its hands down a must read. This is one of the best fantasies I read in years and stands beside the greatest fantasies out there. It’s that good. Now read it.
4 smoothies out of four
Overall Rating: It’s a Book about Asian Magic Wielding Mobsters and it’s Fantastic!