Jade City introduced us to a story of two Jade Bone Clans in Kekon at war with each other. Jade War brought us a new angle, with growing foreign influencing and a whole lot of sneaky plays to solidify the clans’ positions. Jade Legacy expands on this again, building the world larger and larger but in the end, reminding us that everything comes down to two clans on a small island and the legacy they will leave. It’s a recipe that has created one of my favourite book series of all time.
Star rating: 5 stars
At the end of Jade War, the world’s reaction to jade varies across countries. No Peak and The Mountain would rather foreign allies than join together, but the foreigners have other ideas. I mean, what’s a clan against a nation, right? Times are changing. Set in a period after the invention of cars but before widespread mobile phones and internet, Jade Legacy takes us through the years where technology is advancing and the clans are adapting. This is a book of the old guard and the new guard, Hilo leading as Pillar, Shae as Weatherman, but with the baby Kaul’s growing up, No Peak is in for some big surprises. And the biggest surprise? The whole series covers a 30 year period. Insane.
It’s hard to write a review of a book that blew my mind without spoiling but I’m going to try. Let me tell you, Fonda Lee is a complete mastermind. Every character has some significance and you never know when they’re going to pop up and surprise you. Everything is deliberate. The clans have grown arsenals where they can pull social, political and economic levers – it’s no longer just duels and jade. It all has consequences- they’re connecting with nations, with criminals, with business people (usually corrupt, lol). There are military contractors, terrorist organisations and all the decisions each character makes. It ties together beautifully even with such a huge scope.
It’s got all the detail of a respected political thriller combined with characters you can’t help but feel for. Hilo, who has to learn his children may not be the same as he is. Wen, recovering from severe injury. Shae, masterminding all of No Peak’s overseas interests. Anden, back in the clan but being his own person. Every central character has a journey even if they move in and out of the plot over the years the book takes place. I honestly can’t explain how Fonda pulled this off in a way that could appeal to such a wide range of audiences. Not many series execute a balance of love, heartbreak, brutality and really subtle real-world like plot points that all have a purpose.
It’s always scary reading the final book of a trilogy, but let me tell you, I was sobbing for the last 100 pages of both sadness and happiness. Nothing else I have read has matched Jade Legacy. Some of my highlights were Ayt and Shae’s strange fate-like connection, the Kaul children’s journeys and how unexpected they were to their parents, the surprise character appearances, and the parallels to reality. And you’re all wondering what I thought of the ending, right? Perfection. Couldn’t have called it, couldn’t have imagined anything that fit better.