A stunning, action packed sequel to Jade City. As you can see from my previous review, Jade City is one of my all-time faves, so I was wary of Jade War right from the beginning. Middle books can be hit or miss, but Jade War does not disappoint. This review will contain Jade City spoilers so if you haven’t read it yet I wouldn’t read any more because the plot twists really do make the book.
Star rating: 5 stars
SPOILERS FOR JADE CITY AFTER THE COVER PICTURE
When Fonda Lee killed of Kaul Lan, a protagonist, in about the middle of the first book in the series, I knew this was going to be a wild ride of a series. Jade War re-unites us with Hilo as Pillar, his wife Wen, his sister Shae theWeather Man, Anden the cousin who gave up his Jade and Bero the youth who wants nothing more than Jade of his own.
Jade War expands upon the world even more beyond Kekon. Anden is in Espenia, studying and living with a Kekonese family. Between Shae’s knowledge of the country from her own time there and Anden’s presence, the ties between No Peak and Espenia have never been more complicated – or more important. I really enjoyed seeing Anden integrating with the small Kekonese community in the city of Port Massy. He sees an approach to being in a clan and using Jade different from everything he has known – partly as Jade possession by civilians in Espenia is illegal. Anden even gets a little bit of romance in his life, which was really cute.
Hilo becomes a father, which really highlights his character growth over the course of the books. Wen is less keen for a huge family, and is eager to keep up her secret clan work that Hilo doesn’t know about. Wen is one of my favourite characters in the book and I’m glad we still got to see the friendship between Shae and she. Wen doesn’t let being a stone eye stop her from doing everything she can to support and protect her family which I really admire.
Shae has a romantic plotline herself, but I think her main arc focusses on how much she is willing to push Hilo’s boundaries and operate without asking for his permission. In this book we see a more fierce side to Shae, alluded to from her reflections on her time at the academy and her reaction to Lan’s death in Jade City. I like how Shae is so different from her brother Hilo, but this book showed they’re not actually that different after all in places.
Even though the bulk of the book is No Peak countering smuggling operations and the different threats that brings to Janloon, The Mountain is an ever-present threat that Fonda Lee doesn’t let us forget. The war between the clans is more covert and underhanded than before, but it still exists, underlying most of the plot.
Overall, this is a great sequel that starts and ends with chapters from Bero’s perspective, who comes a full circle. It is well written, fast-paced, and my only criticism is that sometimes it’s hard to understand how much time has passed between chapters. I honestly can’t wait for Jade Legacy, which will be one of my most anticipated books of 2021.