Disclaimer: I received an eARC and physical review copy of Jade war from the publisher via Caffeine Blog Tour.
Bear with me, I have a full review as well as three graphics wallpaper to share with you today. After all, words are not enough for me to describe how much I love the Green Bone Saga and the Kauls.
Note: The review will have spoilers for the first book, Jade City. It will not contain spoilers of Jade War.
Jade City is one of my favourite books of all time, it encapsulated and elevated everything I loved about fantasy, Hong Kong gangster films, and family drama. I knew I would love Jade War, but I could not anticipate how this sequel would take everything I loved about Jade City and amplified it tenfold. If I was a No Peak loyalist by the end of the first novel, this second one made me a Lantern Man for life. The clan is my blood and the Pillar, the one and only Fonda Lee, is its master. I am here to love and support whatever she releases next, even if it’s sure to destroy me.
The tight pacing and nail-biting tension in Jade War are truly something else – I ended up reading most of the last half of the book while pacing around the house due to a heady mix of excitement and sheer terror. As we have learned with Jade City, no one is safe in the world of greenbones, and I spent the majority of the books praying for the safety of my favourite characters. The stakes felt so much higher in this novel, with the wars between rival clans being set aside for rumbling animosity on an international level. In the last book, we witnessed the fragility of the No Peak clan due to its abrupt shift and tragic shift in leadership. With Jade War, we see how the very culture of Green Bone society is at threat due to various new players on the field. There are no easy answers here, but the way Fonda Lee continues to probe at the question of jade and who deserves to wear it is endlessly riveting.
I can say with hand on heart that the Kauls is my favourite fictional family. The Weasleys have absolutely nothing on the leading family of No Peak. At the heart of the Kaul family is the relationships between the siblings. Kaul Lan, though long deceased by the beginning of this novel (writing that sentence still sends a stab of pain through my heart), is a looming spectre – his legacy and shadow loom over every major decision made by his siblings within his book. Like Hilo and Shae, I could not help but wonder what Lan would do at every crossroad, if he were still alive to make these decisions.
Hilo has always been a wildcard, and his new responsibilities as a Pillar has not made him any more predictable. He is as magnetic as ever, and although I don’t always agree with his decisions, I can’t help but want Hilo to come out on top – he’s my favourite okay please do not judge me. Shae underwent such magnificent personal growth throughout Jade War, where she learns to live as a green bone on her own terms – she also has the most complex relationships with all the other characters in the book, making her the emotional lever of much of this novel. Anden also develops so much over the course of this novel, and through his eyes we can see what it means to stand between two worlds yet never quite fitting in. However, the shining star of this novel has to be Kaul Maik Wen, who has never let her inability to wield jade get in the way of serving the clan. This cast of character, they just feel so vivid and flawed and real, and I love them all dearly.
The world building is also taken to the next level with this book, with Fonda deftly incorporating various nations and how Green Bones live among them. Seeing the Kekonese diaspora was delightful surprise, especially with the nuance that was weaved into their culture and the relationships with jade. With Jade War, I could see the infinite potential for spin-offs on this series, there is such a vast history and sociology that could be explored – not to mention some badass side characters we need to know more about. So Orbit, know that if you decide to give Fonda Lee that contract for a prequel or sequel – I will be one of the first in line. Please, please take my money.
VERDICT: 5/5 Stars. Obviously.
Graphics – Phone Wallpapers
Listen, jade is the new black, I don’t make the rules I just follow the clan.
- Characters and quotes belong to our Pillar, Fonda Lee.
- The phone wallpapers are free for your personal use only.
- Please do not edit, repost, redistribute the images.
- They are made for iPhone XS, but should fit most smartphones.
“The clan is my blood and the Pillar is its master.”
I could not possibly make quote graphics without featuring the quintessential Green Bone oath. In many ways, the bond that ties the Kauls and their greenbones to the clan is a living entity that drives the plot forward. While it leads them to some dark paths and morally gray areas, I can’t help but envy the certainty of that bond and yearn to be a part of it. No wonder I find characters like Wen and Anden so darn relatable.
“A misunderstanding between friends is okay. A misunderstanding between enemies isn’t.”
The relationships that the No Peak clan has cultivated between themselves and their many enemies is utterly fascinating. It’s no secret that many greenbone saga readers have a crush on Ayt Madashi (no? just me then?), the formidable Pillar of the Mountain clan. The implicit understanding between Ayt Mada and Kaul Shae makes for one of the most exciting protagonist-villain dynamics I have seen in a long time.
“Lasting peace came from unequivocal victory.”
As implied by its title, peace is scarce in Jade War, a book where battles aren’t only fought on the streets of Kekon, but also waged on an internal level. I still marvel at the sheer scale of the wars within this book, they’re fought between nations, between clans, between family members, between tradition and modernisation, between greenbones and the ever-present temptation of jade. It made for a gripping read that reduced my life span by about seven years. 200% worth it, though.
Find the rest of the Jade War Tour hosted by Caffeine Book Tours below!