• Jade City

  • The Green Bone Saga, Book 1
  • By: Fonda Lee
  • Narrated by: Andrew Kishino
  • Length: 19 hrs and 7 mins
  • 4.4 out of 5 stars (2,536 ratings)

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Publisher's Summary

Nominee for Nebula Award for Best Novel

In this World Fantasy Award-winning novel of magic and kungfu, four siblings battle rival clans for honor and power in an Asia-inspired fantasy metropolis.

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 - and of Kekon itself.

The Green Bone Saga

  • Jade City
  • Jade War
  • Jade Legacy
©2017 Fonda Lee (P)2017 Hachette Audio

Critic Reviews

Named one of TIME's Top 100 Fantasy Book of All Time

Winner of World Fantasy Award for Best Novel

Winner of Aurora Award for Best Novel

Finalist of Locus Award for Best Fantasy Novel

"An epic drama reminiscent of the best classic Hong Kong gangster films but set in a fantasy metropolis so gritty and well-imagined that you'll forget you're reading a book." (Ken Liu, Hugo, Nebula, and World Fantasy Award-winning author)

"A beautifully realized setting, a great cast of characters, and dramatic action scenes. What a fun, gripping read!" (Ann Leckie, Hugo, Nebula, and Arthur C. Clarke Award-winning author)

"An instantly absorbing tale of blood, honor, family and magic, spiced with unexpectedly tender character beats." (NPR)

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What listeners say about Jade City

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  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars
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    3 out of 5 stars
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    3 out of 5 stars

The Truth about the Godfather Connection

First- there are a lot of people saying this is/isn't like the Godfather. It most certainly is, and anyone who says it isn't probably hasn't read Mario Puzo's novel. What's similar? The story structure, the pacing, the levels of violence and sex, the themes of family/clan loyalty and honor. Even the conflict is the same (families/clans at war over whether or not to sell drugs/jade). Want a hotheaded fighter light Sonny Corleone? Check out the Horn. Or a thinker and planner character like Michael? Check out the young Pillar. If you enjoyed the political intrigue of the Godfather but you want a little fantasy? This is a book for you. It's a little more spelled out than the Godfather, but it's still there.

Second- The fantasy element is very light. That can be good or bad, just know what you are getting.

Third- The narration is competent. The narrator is Canadian, but many of the characters are read with an American accent that doesn't always fit the tone and setting I had in my mind. It's fantasy, so it's not that big of a deal, but I think that is what is throwing some people off.

28 people found this helpful

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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.

19 people found this 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!

15 people found this helpful

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An unlikable cast of boring antiheroes

This book tries so hard to be an epic fantasy story in the modern world. Sadly, it falls flat on every level. The characters are all one note and boring. The one interesting female character becomes far less interesting halfway through. The "magic" system in the book is interesting but not explored to its fullest potential. Ultimately the characters you are meant to pull for are jerks and unlikable meaning you don't care what happens to them.

I can't imagine I'll try the rest in the series.

Also, I hope you like the word "nonplussed" as the horrid editing missed about a dozen uses of the word.

14 people found this helpful

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ZZZZZZZZ......

I tried, I really tried, unfortunately I kept falling asleep. The blurb ticked most of my boxes so I thought it would be good. The writing, for what I was awake for, seemed cohesive. I have enjoyed the reader before. The fight scenes were well written, I just couldn’t get into the story.

9 people found this helpful

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My Blood for the Pillar!

If A Game of Thrones swapped out settings with Hong Kong and was made by John Woo, it might look something like Jade City. Instead of knights protecting the realm, jade-wielding clan gangsters protect the island of Kekon. It's relatively contemporary -- maybe set in an alternative 90s. Clan warriors from family bloodlines use jade -- believed to be thrown down from the gods -- to give them supernatural abilities such as strength and speed.

The way the clans matched wits, blades, bullets, and bodies against each other definitely put me in mind of George R.R. Martin's famous saga, but the other thing I wasn't expecting was how anxious I'd become for some of the characters and their fates. I was wasting time and gas sitting in parking lots or taking the long way home -- completely worried about whether or not these characters would survive...and not all of them did. All in all, the characters were incredibly engaging and I was surprised by how much I cared about them.

Andrew Kishino's narration is equal parts sharp and smooth. He has a knack for the character voices -- differentiating them without making them sound silly and juggling this cast of characters.

Fonda Lee has made a new fan of me with this one. I loved every minute of it -- even the minutes I was dreading. I can't wait to hear the next book in this series and check out more of Lee's work.

8 people found this 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.

8 people found this helpful

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Excruciatingly Slow.

When I have to talk myself into listening to more of a book, I know that I need to just let it go. Every time I forced myself back to this story, I found that I couldn't remember what had happened before (because nothing really happened), and I had trouble staying focused on what I was listening to. The narrator did a good job with the material, but the lack of plot and the one-dimensional characters didn't give him much to work with.

7 people found this helpful

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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 people found this helpful

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An acceptably confused story

6/10 | 3 stars

The purported purpose for the magic system is to provide a “reasonable” explanation for the ludicrous kung-fu moves in most kung-fu action films. But there are hardly any fight scenes to justify even having this magic system to begin with. It’s also not really unique or interesting. From what I could tell, it seems to resemble hard stimulants in psychoactive effect. But they also give you superpowers.

..? Odd.

This book is an urban fantasy gangster family crime drama, with some elements of action. I have to commend the idea. It’s a nice shake of pace from high fantasy. This notwithstanding, urban fantasy poses a particular challenge with regards to worldbuilding in that the reader’s familiarity with the technological advancement, way-of-life, governing system, etc. make it particularly difficult to evoke a sense of wonder at the novelty of exploring a totally foreign fantasy land. In this respect, this book does not deliver for me.

The characters aren’t super super deep, despite their deviations from the archetypes they conspicuously fit into upon first meeting them. Hilo is cookie-cutter. Lan is boring. Shae is pretty alright.

The plot was predictable, though I enjoyed it enough to get through the whole thing. I wish I could compare this to other crime dramas such as the grandfather, but I haven’t read them.

So yeah, that’s my take.

3 people found this helpful

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