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Jade City

The Green Bone Saga, Book 1
By: Fonda Lee
Narrated by: Andrew Kishino
Series: The Green Bone Saga, Book 1
Length: 19 hrs and 7 mins
4.5 out of 5 stars (402 ratings)

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Publisher's Summary

Award-winning author Fonda Lee explodes onto the adult fantasy scene with Jade City, an epic saga reminiscent of The Godfather with magic and kung fu, set in an Asia-inspired fantasy metropolis.

Family is duty. Magic is power. Honor is everything.

Jade is the lifeblood of the island of Kekon. It has been mined, traded, stolen, and killed for - and for centuries, honorable Green Bone warriors like the Kaul family have used it to enhance their magical abilities and defend the island from foreign invasion.

Now, the war is over and a new generation of Kauls vies for control of Kekon's bustling capital city. They care about nothing but protecting their own, cornering the jade market, and defending the districts under their protection. Ancient tradition has little place in this rapidly changing nation.

When a powerful new drug emerges that lets anyone - even foreigners - wield jade, the simmering tension between the Kauls and the rival Ayt family erupts into open violence. The outcome of this clan war will determine the fate of all Green Bones - from their grandest patriarch to the lowliest motorcycle runner on the streets - and of Kekon itself.

Jade City begins an epic tale of family, honor, and those who live and die by the ancient laws of jade and blood.

©2017 Fonda Lee (P)2017 Hachette Audio

Critic Reviews

" Jade City is addictive...with intense martial arts action and high-stakes character drama. I'll never look at jade the same way again." (Beth Cato, author of Breath of Earth and The Clockwork Dagger)
"As this ambitious and complex story unfolds, Lee skillfully juggles a huge cast. Her action scenes are flashy, brutal, and cinematic, while the family dynamics hold their own weight and significance. This is an engaging blend of crime drama and Asian martial arts film tropes...an intense, satisfying experience." ( Publishers Weekly)

What members say

Average Customer Ratings

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  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars

Beautifully realized world, vivid characters; makes you think

An intelligent, exciting, thoughtful novel that teeters on the edge between science fiction and fantasy. One part The Godfather, one part Dune, one part The Left Hand of Darkness, one part John le Carre, this book is also unremitting and unsentimental in its meditation on colonialism, imperialism, and gender politics. The characters are vivid, and their complex traits, sorrows, and weaknesses are entirely believable based on their pasts. Perhaps Lee’s most impressive achievement is making the reader care about and sympathize with leaders who are essentially ritualized gangsters, ruling an entire society through violence and the threat of violence. The narration of this story is splendid as well.

8 of 9 people found this review helpful

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A fresh take on fantasy

There's a little something for everyone in this book. A lot of people have said it's like The Godfather, but with a fantasy twist. Personally, I thought it was a bit more like a more modern twist on Game of Thrones. Magic? Check. Sociopolitical complexity? Check. Characters who must reconcile their ideas of honor and their goals? Check. I recommend this book for any fantasy fan who is tired of Tolkien-esque settings. Can't wait for the next book!

6 of 7 people found this review helpful

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    4 out of 5 stars
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I really like this book.

I really love this book and the world that it created. I thought all of the characters were interesting and deep and even though it's switched between it least five different points of view throughout the novel I didn't find it hard to follow at all. Andrew's performance was really top-notch each of the characters felt different. My only complaint was with how one of the characters was written near the end of the book. I felt like it made his character Arc less important, but you should still read it and I highly recommend this book.

4 of 5 people found this review helpful

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Felt like a video game...

I gave it 3 hours. I felt like i was listening to a video game. Cool world, but thin video game characters, thin video game dialogue. A story that didn't draw me in.

Kishino gave a solid narration.

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

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I'm now a Fonda Lee fan

interesting complex characters combined with a fully developed world and a well thought out storyline performed in an excellent fashion. what's not to like. I hope there is more to come in the series.

2 of 3 people found this review helpful

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    4 out of 5 stars
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Slow to start but really good

Initially, it was very slow to start but once the very clear storylines were defined, it was a great listen. The narrator was fabulous. Is it bad that I was already picturing this on my television? Good use of the credit.

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Fresh Fantasy World Building, Cool Magic System

I’m sick of reading fantasy that takes place in a society inspired by medieval Europe, populated by white people and white cultures. Fonda Lee’s island nation of Kekon, which takes heavy inspiration from more modern Asian societies, is a world where people are driven by honor, family, and magical jade.
This novel also scratches my Brandon Sanderson itch- the world and magic Lee has built bring to mind some of his work. So for anyone like me who had finished all of the cosmere novels, consider Jade City as you wait for Stormlight 4.
I also thoroughly enjoyed the narration. The voices of the characters feel authentic, and his narration gives life to the culture of Kekon.
5/5, would recommend to any fantasy lover

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left wanting more

only left me wanting more of this story, these characters, and this universe. impatiently awaiting book 2.

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Elegant, inviting, relentless

I'm left in awe. Please try it. This was really great. All expectations were exceeded. The story combines power, identity, family, legacy, politics, and loss in very satisfying way. The action scenes were gripping. The characters felt understandable and relatable. The setting feels like a real place. I haven't read a setting this clearly articulated and felt in a long time. There was a ton of atmosphere.

The central concept of a type of jade that bestows heightened abilities on those who wear it was handled in a compelling and intriguingly layered way. Jade isn't just a one dimensional power booster. It can damage just as much or more than it gifts if not handled the right way. There are dangers to wearing it, and inborn senstivity as well as level or lack of training affects one's capacity to use it. It can make people godlike martial artists but also destroy their lives. It's hard to sum up in a quick way but it worked very well as a focal point for character struggles and action sequences and the way it informed the culture of the country the story happens in.

There are a lot of POV character changes from chapter to chapter. It was reminiscent of the Game of Thrones books in that way, but with a smaller cast of characters and everything feels much tighter because POV characters are dealing with connecting situations within one city.

There looks to be a degree of criticism around people not being able to relate to the characters but I never found it a problem. Certain characters are more sympathetic than others of course but even ones harder to connect with are well written and who they are and why they do what they do was very understandable. I could see the switching of perspectives could potentially make it hard to bond with any single character but for me that's subjective to one's taste and not a problem of the book itself. I never found it an issue.

The narrator is trustworthy. He manages the different voices well. There were only a very few times I was unsure who was speaking and it never lasted long. He's easy to listen to and some of the character voices in particular suit who they are for quite well.

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Hong Kong triad wars with magical superpowers

"Hong Kong triad wars with magical superpowers" was enough to get my attention, but what really sets this book apart is what it builds on that premise: a well-constructed story about interesting characters. The pacing is just right; consistent enough to keep me always wanting more, but varied enough to not burn me out with non-stop action. The characters are where the book really shines. At first glance they seem fairly archetypical: the old wise one, the gentle one, the hot-headed one, the black sheep; but every major character in the book, and several supporting ones, finds depths that surprise in thought-provoking ways. In short I think this is my favorite book that I've read all year, and I read every 2018 Hugo nominee and most of the 2018 Nebula nominees.