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Publisher's Summary

She was born in poverty, in a dusty village under the equatorial sun. She does not remember her mother, she does not remember her own name, her earliest clear memory is of the day her father sold her to the tall pale man. In the Court of the Pomegranate Tree, where she was taught the ways of a courtesan and the skills of an assassin, she was named Emerald, the precious jewel of the Undying Duke's collection of beauties. She calls herself Green.

The world she inhabits is one of political power and magic, where Gods meddle in the affairs of mortals. At the center of it is the immortal Duke's city of Copper Downs, which controls all the trade on the Storm Sea. Green has made many enemies, and some secret friends, and she has become a very dangerous woman indeed.

Acclaimed author Jay Lake has created a remarkable character in Green and evokes a remarkable world in this novel. Green and her struggle to survive and find her own past will live in the readers mind for a long time.

©2009 Joseph E. Lake, Jr. (P)2009 Audible, Inc.

Critic Reviews

"Lively and thought-provoking...Lake effectively anneals steampunk with geo-mechanical magic in an allegorical matrix of empire building and Victorian natural science." ( Publishers Weekly)
  • 2009 Recommended Reading (Locus Magazine)

What members say

Average Customer Ratings


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  • Story

Gods, Cat People, Female Assassins, Whips--

--and Necrolocutors, temples, ships, self-mutilation, violence, love, and more!

The fantasy world that Jay Lake depicts in Green is vivid enough, with gods, myths, different cultures, races, and sentient species. It's a medieval world in which some cultures use some steam and gunpowder, a religious world in which people may become gods and gods may answer prayers or even be killed, a magical world of ghosts and spells to extend life. The themes, concerning the relationship between gods and believers, the mixture of good and evil in human beings, and the difficulty of making the world a better place, are interesting. And Lake has created a strong protagonist in Green, a narrator of conscience and empathy who honestly tells the story of her lonely childhood and youth being trained into a mistress/spy but struggling instead to choose her own path in life. Green abhors the violence she must often use and discovers how difficult it is to act solely for oneself without causing unexpected harm.

The first half of the story is absorbing, as Green details her training in the Pomegranate Court of the Factor's House, but in the last third things get, perhaps, a little too frenzied, fabulous, and divinely influenced. The conclusion ties up the immediate story well enough but also leaves things open for future volumes in Green's autobiography.

Some listeners have objected to the lesbian love that plays a significant (though not overly graphic or frequent) role in the novel. Given Green's education, experiences, and personality, I find it appropriate (and even moving), though her interest in whipping and being whipped seems a bit far-fetched and excrescently kinky.

Katherine Kellgren gives a strong reading, just as she does for Bloody Jack, full of understanding and compassion, modified for different characters, and enhancing the story's exciting, scary, tender, or sad parts. But she has such a distinctive voice that at times I thought "Katherine" rather than "Green."

21 of 22 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
  • Hanako
  • Cornelius, OR, United States
  • 01-11-11

Wonderful, Pushing the Envelope

There is nothing more annoying than a protagonist who is whiny, weak and indecisive. This book is none of that. The way a young girl is shoved into an adult world can be unsettling if you are a sensitive person, but this is life on the streets in all its brutal reality.
As for "god possession" and "no such thing as sin", this is Sci-Fi not bible literature, what did you expect?
Its actually a fairly short book, I was hoping for more, but that's how it is with all great stories. The author did a great job of wrapping things up. If you want a long book read Robert Jordan, that will put things in perspective.

18 of 19 people found this review helpful

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I wouldn't listen to this with your grandma.

If you could sum up Green in three words, what would they be?

trials, training, revenge

What was one of the most memorable moments of Green?

spoiler alert... the death of the Ghost King guy

Which character – as performed by Katherine Kellgren – was your favorite?

The catwoman, her name escapes me at the moment.

Was this a book you wanted to listen to all in one sitting?

I listen to the while working, so I finished it in two work days,

Any additional comments?

This is a book I added at random. I think this book falls into the category of an epic, by the true definition not by the more recent overused one. Lots of interesting characters, travel, vivid details of landscapes, etc. I loved that. The numerous sexscenes seemed oddly out of place to me, but they didn't offend me or anything. The part where the wicked priest says "The boy had the ass of an angel" was a little awkward but whatever. I'll probably read the other two books.

5 of 5 people found this review helpful

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  • jesse
  • PRINEVILLE, OR, United States
  • 01-11-14

This is probably my favorite series ever!

Any additional comments?

This book is about a bad ass girl who grows into a woman during this series. The plot is amazing and the stage is phenomenal. I can't say enough about this series, so I won't. I have hundreds of audio books from Audible, so don't take it lightly when I say this is my favorite. Get it. Listen to it.

4 of 4 people found this review helpful

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  • Jes
  • Hobart, IN, United States
  • 10-05-16

Green is/was the new Metatropolis Universe

When I began listening to this book I kept thinking of Metatropolis and that whole Universe. I think if Jay Lake was still alive he could have adapted this story to that Universe which would have given a whole new dimension to Metatropolis.

This is a good story as a stand alone story and if you want there are more books in the series. However, I haven't read them at this time and may never.

Here we have a story of a young girl who was sold to a stranger and was forced into a world where she didn't fit in. She was conditioned and trained in many skills except critical thinking. This story follows this young girl into womanhood with all her misadventures leading her to critical thinking!

I really enjoyed this story and again I kept thinking Metatropolis with how that story will never be completed with Jay's passing. Which means after book three this one will not be completed either. You are missed Jay!

3 of 3 people found this review helpful

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  • Ciana
  • Smithfield, RI, United States
  • 08-23-11

Redundant and Boring

I was really looking forward to reading this book. I like fantasy books with a strong female character. However I had a very hard time liking Green. There was no character development, the supporting characters were flat and I felt like there was no cohesion with the story line. The first part of the book describing Green's childhood was ok, but the rest went on and on and on. If I heard Green say one more time "What would Endurance do?" or "I want to go home.", I think i would scream. There are much better books out there. Try Mya by Richard Adams or the Kusheil series.

8 of 10 people found this review helpful

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Any additional comments?

I made it through about 1/4 maybe it was a 1/3'd of the way, right at the Temple of the Lily goddess. Green is a 12/13 year old girl at this point and is sexually abused. I'm sorry - at that age ANY sexual description - action - writing is ABUSE. I made it through the abominable physical beatings in the first part of the story, becoming less inclined to finish the book and then --- the temple. NOPE, I'm done.

As far as Katherine Kellgren's performance, she read well, too well. The older women of the temple became even more disgusting in their acts of abuse with Green because of the voice given them by Kellgren.

4 of 5 people found this review helpful

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  • Mary
  • WESTERLO, NY, United States
  • 05-12-16

From a women's point of view. From a child to wome

Sold as a child she fought to free herself and all children. Well written good transitions from conflict to conflict. No sudden drop at the end.

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

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  • Jennifer
  • Cuayhoga Falls, OH, United States
  • 08-06-10

Wanted to love it.

I thought I had found a gem hidden away on Audible, because I love nothing better than a strong-willed heroine, but alas, I never finished this. I found this through Katherine Kellgren's narration, and she does a fantastic job here, and the story was very well done and maintained my interest for quite a while before I gave it up. Maybe the issue was that it dragged out a bit longer than I had hoped. It starts with the heroine as a child, and so much happens over such a long period of time that when I realized she was only 12 I was a bit shocked. I put it down with every intention of finishing it, but I just never got around to it.

16 of 24 people found this review helpful

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Wonderfully read. Immature plot.

When I was listening to the first chapter I was immediately impressed by the narrator. Her voice held the right amount of thrill and heart. The words also intrigued me that I wanted to buy the print or kindle version to read for myself. But as the story unfolded the quality of the plot deteriorated. Halfway through I still had no clear idea as to the point of the story. It wasn't until the last 2 hours of the book that it became clear and by that time it has become predictable as well. The author repeated several facts as if he did not trust the reader to have understood his point the first time around. Teenagers exploring their bodies in sex was acceptable since it's quite natural (I even tolerated the slight reference to consensual BDSM) but having the underage protagonist enjoy sex with her teachers and the teachers practicing sex with their students was just too green (pun intended), distasteful, and in this day & age criminal. No more from this author for me.

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  • Beverley
  • 05-14-10

Good at half the length

If this book had finished half way through, it would have got 4 stars. We had followed the main character through her kidnapping and escape - if it loose ends had been tied up there, the story would have been pretty good.

However, the character now had to discover she was a lesbian and become an assassin for a group of lesbian nuns (for want of a better word). Since she's only 13 this is a little distasteful. The writing also seems to becomes more graphic, gruesome (and tedious) at this point.

The final straw is the narrator's pronounciation - a minor point, but why does somebody with an apparently British accent in all other ways pronounce 'passengers' as 'parssengers', 'passage' as 'parssage' and (for want of an example I can remember) eg 'oddment' as 'orddment'.

I can't see me finishing this.

5 of 6 people found this review helpful

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  • Kelly
  • 05-16-11


I have been highly recommended this audio book, not only did it sound like a plot that would interest me, it was also from an author I hadn't come across before and was keen to give it a go.

I found the plot was trying to be more complicated than it actually was. I kept forgetting that Green in only a Child/Young Adult for the main of this book, as the plot is certainly of a more adult nature.

I found it really odd that the story tends to conclude at just before the half way point. It then goes off on another tangent and one not to my tastes.

This is the first time that I have ever stopped listening to an audio book because it's crude and poorly written charachters. The adult tone doesn't bother me or the lesbian lead, I think it's more the age of the main charchter in relation to this.

It's a shame as this had the promise to be an exciting listen, the suggestion was it would be similar to Jacqueline Carey's Kushiel Legacy, with a deep plot and complicated charachters appealed to me, but it did not live up to the expectations. And if I ever hear the word 'sweet pocket' again.... grrrrr!

3 of 4 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
  • Stuart
  • 09-10-10

Had more potential then it delivered

I found that the start of Greens journey had more potential then was delivered. It all felt a little disjointed after Greens initial story of being raised and I found myself enjoying small sections of the story and then getting disappointed with the rest. I did not enjoy all the sections about the gods but found the pardins and the sisters of the lily (minus the god stuff) interesting.

The best part about the book was the narration. It was first class and I found her voice a joy to listen to.

Although I did finish the book I don't think I would recommend it. It wasn't awful but wasn't great either. If I could I would give it a 2 1/2 but Audible doesn't allow this so I would say its a 2 star as I can't recommend it.

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

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  • shygalroo
  • 05-17-10

Not sure about this one

It took me a long while to get into the story and personally I did not enjoy it. For me, the story sort of stops and starts but with no real or satisfying conclusion. I was left think what's the point of that. I also narrator slightly irritating, but I think she was only trying to embody the character, Green, who was arrogant and annoying. Not a great heroine.

3 of 4 people found this review helpful

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  • Richard
  • 02-26-15

Worldbuilding, Godkilling and Great Potential

Starting small, Jay Lake provides an impressively intricate portrait of an engaging character and unfolding world. The first person narrative lends itself brilliantly to Katherine Kellgren's reading, which is smooth and self-assured. Occasionally the story seems to stumble, but always regains it's footing cleverly to reveal another breathtaking vista in this at once innovative and familiar fantasy world. There are echoes of Dickens, of Treasure Island and Lankhmar, but this is also a strongly feminine story. I can't wait to start the next one.

  • Overall
  • James
  • 02-28-10

Well written and highly recommended!

At first I thought this was going to be a bad choice as at the start it does not seem to go anywhere fast and I think it takes a while to get settled into the story.

After I was firmly planted into my seat I realised more and more I had to keep on listening. I totally enjoyed this book and recommend it to anyone who has a little too much time on their hands.

I almost found this book slightly erotic in some places as well as fast paced with a few suprises chucked in for good measure.

Very good indeed.

3 of 6 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
  • Steve
  • 03-09-10

Very good but with caveats

I was searching for a Fantasy novel, and this is a very good one, but don't be expecting dungeons and dragons, it is more unstated than that, but no less powerful or enjoyable because of it. As long as you know what to expect.

The world is well imagined with a rich background and some strong characters, I also liked the place names as I find it deceptively difficult to come up with good names for stories!

The reader is very good, she doesn't have a wide range of voices but it doesn't cause much confusion.

possible minor-ish spoilers------
My Caveats would be that I am unsure about the physical abilities of some of the younger characters if it is possible to be so fast / strong when so young. And the sex made me a little uncomfortable, but the scenes are handled well and sensitively, but might not be for everyone given that there is a certain amount of incest and underage lesbianism

1 of 3 people found this review helpful

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  • Kelly
  • 06-30-13

Absoloutly Disappointed!

What could have made this a 4 or 5-star listening experience for you?

Listening to a different book would have made this a better listening experience.

What could Jay Lake have done to make this a more enjoyable book for you?

Less use of the term 'sweet pocket'! I think he had great intentions and then let the sex get in the way, it was overdone, tasteless and a bit hypocritical.

How did the narrator detract from the book?

I would also say that the narrator for the audio book was terrible, she kept trying to put on oldy worldy london street urchin voice on alongside a posh brit accent, just slipping between the two randomly.

What reaction did this book spark in you? Anger, sadness, disappointment?

Disappointment, definitely. The cover looks great and the blurb looks make the book very appealing. The first hour of listening to this audio book made me a determined to keep listening to see if it would improve, then I just kept going out of morbid curiosity. I couldn't wait to remove this from my iPod.

Felt disappointed so much as the book could have been concluded much earlier, probably at the end of the first part. Less going on about bells, the ox and the mistresses.

Any additional comments?

The first part of the book was a little whingey and that darned ox and bells drove me bonkers. The second part seemed so disconnected from the storyline. The third part comes back to the first part and finishes off the story. I had to take a break for a while during the second part. Just hated the term sweet pocket and found myself grinding my teeth in frustration.

I found this book a bit ridiculous, the fact that man/man relationships are frowned on but girl/girl was fine. And every girl was throwing themselves at the lead character, no matter their age and she was accepting it.

This book felt like it wanted to compete with Jacqueline Carey's Kushiel Series, in fact I was hoping it would. But it doesn't even come close.

0 of 1 people found this review helpful