Jade City by Fonda Lee

Rate: 4/5

Medium: Audiobook

Overview (No Spoilers):

Friends! I have a confession. I’m further behind in my book reviews than I’ve ever been, eight whole posts! Cue the gasps! That being said, life happens, and in this instance it was a happy but stressful event. Luke and I bought a house! We could have been defined as passively looking but this beautiful 1895 farm house caught our eye. Shortly after, lo and behold we are how homeowners. That still feels quite strange to type.

74503152_10102392385033530_838182783577751552_nHow does this event tie into my ever expanding queue of posts? Well, between packing and moving, we went without internet for two weeks while we were waiting for service to be installed at our new home. Let me be the first to attest that it was a long, long two weeks filled with reading. I, for one, was thrilled to be back in the modern world, and ready to tackle my long review list.

Now to switch gears back to the topic that inspired you to click on this link in the first place, Jade City. I first stumbled across this first installment of The Green Bone Saga from a list recommending high fantasy reads. Especially after realizing Lee’s novel won the 2017 World Fantasy award, how could I not add this title to my TBR list. Jade City did not disappoint as Lee formulated a unique, complex literary world that slowly drew the reader into the fold. There were no soft edges to this novel, and malleable components that existed in the early chapters were soon ground down to a sharp edge. As such, due to my own literary personal preferences, this novel was often difficult to read with each interaction being fraught with danger, thereby keeping the reader on edge. As a whole, the read was not a happy one, and even when fortunate events transpired there were often darker implications yet to be unveiled. Overall, while Jade City contained all of the key elements and complexities I crave in fantasy, the dark mood of the material soured my lasting impressions of the read, making it difficult to continue the series.

Additional Insight (Spoilers Abound):

  • Honestly, I can’t think of one character I truly liked in this read except for maybe Shae and Anden. I wanted to like Hilo so much but his temper and how quickly he would cut off family members or perceive a slight was beyond frustrating.
  • Ok I did like Lan. Poor, Lan. Why did no one realize that he was overdosing on Jade?
  • The family nuances throughout were captured excellently by Lee from Lan’s complex relationship with his Grandfather to that of his Weather Man, Doru who was a relic of the previous leadership.
  • I have a hard time wanting to pick up the sequel, and if I were pressed to pinpoint a moment that cemented this lingering feeling it would be when Hilo cut off Anden, instead of understanding his fears. I didn’t fully comprehend the big deal regarding Anden rejecting the jade initially, however now realize he was rejecting being a Green Bone. Will he go over to the Mountain?
  • Shae would be such a better Pillar than Hilo!
  • Will Bero never go away? He is seriously so lucky. What havoc will he wreck in the future novels now that he has Lan’s grave stolen jade?



    • Hello! I totally agree with your points. I didn’t really think I’d recommended Jade City. Although, I suppose I did give it 4/5, totally based on the world-building, which I totally admit I’m bias toward. I’ll have to be better next time about not allowing that bias to slip into my overall score, even if my review is reflects the subpar content. Thanks for catching that discrepancy!


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