Jade Legacy by Fonda Lee – ARC Review!

Jade, the mysterious and magical substance once exclusive to the Green Bone warriors of Kekon, is now known and coveted throughout the world. Everyone wants access to the supernatural abilities it provides, from traditional forces such as governments, mercenaries, and criminal kingpins, to modern players, including doctors, athletes, and movie studios. As the struggle over the control of jade grows ever larger and more deadly, the Kaul family, and the ancient ways of the Kekonese Green Bones, will never be the same.

The Kauls have been battered by war and tragedy. They are plagued by resentments and old wounds as their adversaries are on the ascent and their country is riven by dangerous factions and foreign interference that could destroy the Green Bone way of life altogether. As a new generation arises, the clan’s growing empire is in danger of coming apart.

The clan must discern allies from enemies, set aside aside bloody rivalries, and make terrible sacrifices… but even the unbreakable bonds of blood and loyalty may not be enough to ensure the survival of the Green Bone clans and the nation they are sworn to protect.

I received a copy of this book from the publisher for review & can confirm all thoughts and opinions are my own.

What a Finale! I’ve been lucky enough to buddy read this whole series with Leah over at Leahs Books ( I’ve linked to her review!) which was a godsend cause there were so many moments when I needed someone to scream at. I’m not even going to try and do my own summary for this book because I feel like it would be impossible without giving away major spoilers, but suffice to say it was an outstanding ending to an already special series. Please note that this review will contain spoilers for the first two books.

One of the main things that makes this series stand out from so many others is the scope, not only in time but characters, pov’s and settings. As a reader, being able to follow the same set of characters over a 30 year period was certainly something special, especially for someone like me who can’t help but get invested in the lives of the characters. Lee ensures you have no choice but to become an honorary member of No Peak, their successes are your successes, their failures your failures, their enemies your enemies… I’m looking at you Ayt Madashi, and with the final book she certainly takes both her characters and readers on an emotional roller coaster.

If you know me, then you know that the one thing that will ensure I love a book is well written characters, something that this series has in spades. Though the story centres around No Peak and the Kauls, we get POV’s from both allies and enemies of the clan as well as the Kaul’s themselves. It’s honestly staggering the amount of POV’s we get to read from, but while they are plentiful it never gets overwhelming, each new POV come’s at a pivotal point in the plot, and all add in to the political intrigue, leaving little crumbs that come together to form one hell of an epic story.

As I mentioned before it’s hard not to feel as though you become a member of No Peak when reading this series, and though none of the clan are what I would call morally right characters, you can’t help but agree and empathise with their decision making. Throughout the series Shae has been my favourite character and that didn’t change with this book, but the two characters that really stole the show for me were Hilo and Anden. Both of these showed humongous character growth in the final book, Hilo realising that his quick to anger attitude isn’t always the best way and that maybe, just maybe, he can leave his children with a better legacy than was left to him. Anden really comes into his own in this book, he has always been a man of two worlds, inside the clan and out, but in Jade Legacy he realises that there are benefits to not really being wholly one thing, and that his benefit to No Peak might lie outside of clan business. Wen was another character that really came into her own in Jade Legacy. After the shocking ending of Jade War she was still overcoming her injuries and whilst Hilo would have been happy with her staying out of Clan business for her safety, she was unwilling to become a wall flower, someone trotted out at parties, she wanted a voice, a seat at the table, and she truly took No Peak to new heights in this book.

I keep talking about the scope and time frame of this book, but it really does make such a massive impact on the story. Because of it we get to see three generations of Green Bones leading No Peak, we get to see Hilo grow into his position as Pillar, not always making the right decisions but making them form the heart nonetheless, and with Jade Legacy we also get to see Hilo, Wen and Lans children grow into future leaders of the clan. I honestly would love to continue this series, following them as they grow into their roles in No Peak, seeing the differences in how they would run the clan, deal with disagreements, than their predecessors did. As well as this we get to see how each generation deals with The Mountain and their leader Ayt Madashi, the one true enemy of No Peak throughout the series. I had a conflicted relationship with her, not only because of the hurt and trouble she caused No Peak, but because she was a woman who had to fight for everything she had. I would have loved to have a chapter or two from her POV, if only to see if she was truly as ruthless as we thought, or if like No Peak, she had underlying reasons for her decisions other than power.

Lee also graces us with a master class in world building. From book one we see the troubles in Kekon with foreign investors coming in and trying to disrupt the culture and clans that have ruled it for generations. No Peak realise that to ensure their status and culture stays intact that they need to expand, people need to see Green Bones as something other than the dangerous hooligans that the foreign media portray them as, and from the first book we see them strengthening their ties abroad and through this we get to visit a multitude of different places from Espenia to Shotar, learning about these other cultures and their ways, as well as the Green Bones that inherit these lands and how they differ from the clans in Kekon. In Jade Legacy we get to see the fruits of their labour, all the hard work that Shae, Anden and Wen put into expanding No Peak, and I thoroughly enjoyed seeing Shae be able to turn around to those who questioned her motives at first, knowing that she had achieved something no other Weather Man had been able to before.

I don’t know how many different ways there are to say fuck, but I think I went through them all with this book. From the shouted FUCK! when something you weren’t prepared for happened to the slow fuuuuck when you see all the pieces coming together and just know you’re not going to like the outcome. There are some more of Lee’s usual epic fight scenes, and one in particular that made the hairs stand up on my arms. I’m adamant that this would make and unforgettable transition to TV. As I mentioned before, reading this book makes it hard not to become overly invested in No Peak and the characters which meant that this book took me through ALL the emotions. I laughed, cried, got angry, but in the end just felt content, content that it could have ended no other way. The story kind of went the full 360 degrees, ending in a similar way to when it started and I couldn’t help but love how it ended.

I know this is probably more of a series review than a review solely for Jade Legacy, but it’s so incredibly hard to talk about this book without invoking the previous two, or giving away spoilers. It’s a meticulously crafted fantasy trilogy filled with politics, family and the inner workings of clan life, with unforgettable characters that you will both love and hate, epic fight scenes and a scope like no other. Jade Legacy has cemented this series into my all time favourites, and I will certainly miss this world and the characters that inherit it.

6 replies »

  1. This is the perfect review! You talked about the world building, and this sets the bar ridiculously high! I couldn’t have found a better person to buddy read this series with – to celebrate the joys and shout “fuck” with, and just enjoy and reflect on all the incredible changes that we saw. The fact that it took place over such a long span of time provided the necessary perspective to see how much truly changed. We had no idea what we were in for when we started this series, but it was so worth the bumpy ride. 💚

    Liked by 1 person

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