Jade Legacy (The Green Bone Saga #3) by Fonda Lee
Published by Orbit Books
Release Date : 30th November 2021
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.
“The clan is our blood, and the pillar is its master.”
ARC provided by the publisher Orbit US through NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.
Fonda Lee stands to be the most renown modern fantasy voice that is worthy of legendary status. Jade Legacy is the satisfying conclusion to an epic fantasy saga that I will continue to sing about to the world. A story about honor, life, jade, and the legacy that lives on.
For a whole month I mulled over the thoughts that I will need to pour into this review that can fully convey the greatness that is contained within the pages of this third instalment to a series that has back to back proven to be one of the best series in modern fantasy to date. I was gracious enough (out of sheer luck and endless attempts of emailing) to receive the opportunity to read an ARC (Advance Readers Copy) of Jade Legacy. Henceforth before I start my review I would like to thank the publishers, Orbit Books, for giving me this amazing opportunity to read and review my most anticipated book of the year.
It is only fitting for me to reminisce on the experience of reading The Green Bone Saga as I write this review to give my final salute to a monumental series in my life. In 2020, I was relatively new to reading adult fantasy so I actively looked for books to read in the genre. Jade City is one of those books that I know I will love even before I read it. But luck wasn’t on my side as it took me over 8 months to get my hands on a copy of Jade City and Jade War. When 2021 rolled around I made it my mission to read all three books of The Green Bone Saga. In January I read Jade City for the first time and I immediately fell in love with everything about the book. Two months later, in April, I read the sequel Jade War. The sequel stunned me and left chills that I could feel to the bone. Vibrating with excitement to read the conclusion of the story I knew that Jade Legacy will surpass Jade War and Jade City which it accomplished tremendously. I had high expectations, fears for my favorite characters, and anxiety mixed feelings knowing a series that I’ve fallen in love with this year will come to an end. Separation anxiety already kicked in even before I read the book. With the strength of my friends (Sasha and Michelle) behind my back I mustered up the courage to read Jade Legacy as we share our pain and love together reading the conclusion to this epic saga.
“Good men are remembered with love by their friends,”
“Great warriors are remembered with awe by their enemies.”
Jade Legacy is the third book to of The Green Bone Saga that spans 20 years since the end of Jade War. When I first read Fonda Lee’s tweet I was ecstatic because we will get to see a lot of growth in all aspects of the story—from the Kaul family and the future of No Peak clan, the modernization and globalization of the world, advancements correlating to jade, the political strives and turbulences, the geopolitical landscape of the world, the evolution of the green bone culture throughout the years, and so on. There is so many things that Fonda Lee could do in Jade Legacy, it is only fitting that the story will span two decades to cover all the basis to show the accelerating growth of this phenomenal expansive world and characters that I’ve grown to love.
In Jade War, the two biggest green bone clans in Kekon, No Peak and The Mountain, waged war against each other that has dragged on for years creating a stand still that affected many facets of the country. The clans has opted to overseas expansion to gain more power and expand their roots through many investments and dealings. The expansion will continue to grow and evolve with time and effort in Jade Legacy as it covers a wider range and with it the implications of the clans endeavors. Readers will see how the expansion affects many aspects of the world from the evolving societal norms, to economical fluctuation, and the cultural evolution coinciding with globalization and technology. There are a staggering amount of machinations relating to these aspects that are fascinating and engrossing. The way Fonda Lee presented these machinations exceeds it’s predecessor Jade War by a landslide. Violence is no longer the only weapon the clans will utilize but patience, careful strategizing, planning, and influence will play a big part in turning the tides to favor them. The maneuvers are back to back that will leave you at the edge of your seat, heart pounding, and sleep deprived dying to know what will happen after each move is made. By now fans of The Green Bone Saga understands from reading Jade City and Jade War that danger lurks at every corner, Jade Legacy is no different. The stakes are higher and much more intense compared to the first two books.
Even when we win, we suffer.
As it says in the title ‘legacy’ is the main part of the story from the legacy of green bone predecessors, the current living green bones paving the way, and the future of how the legacy will live on in a world that has advanced and evolved throughout the years. Jade Legacy brings forth all the experiences and exploration that was endured in Jade City and Jade War to perspective by emphasizing the very part that makes this series a phenomenal force in modern fantasy by honoring and elevating the characters to new heights that is worthy of recognition by the gods. The themes about life and death are heavily weaved in and explored within the story tying close to the legacy they leave behind. The mortality of green bones is repeatedly reminded by Fonda Lee that no matter how good of a fighter you are or how jaded a green bone can be death will come when you least expect it. It is also a story about resilience, love and family having the Kauls at the fore front of this epic saga. Fans of the series have followed their story witnessing them shed blood, sweat, and tears to honor and build their clan to be a force that could weather any storm. They have experienced loss, betrayals, and disappointments but they always have family and endless amounts of love.
In this conclusion we will get to see the characters grow and see their development come full circle. Emery Anden’s position in the clan is solidified and strengthened by showing his worth and proving to everyone that doubted his decisions to walk away from clan life, forging his own path and becoming his own person but still loyal to the clan and embracing fully his identity as a Kaul. Kaul Shae grows to be a seasoned weather man reading the clouds as calculating, keen, and sharp as her enemy, Ayt Mada. Shae built the business side of the clan with the help of Woon and Hami expanding No Peak’s influence in other countries that we will see come to fruition in Jade Legacy. Kaul Maik Wen the so called ‘cursed’ woman being a stone eye grows to be a powerful and influential member of the clan carving a position for herself to be the Pillar’s most trusted ally. Wen is a wife, mother, and sister that broke the stigma of society paving way for a future of endless opportunities offered to everyone to have equal standing in the world of green bones. Consider Kaul Hilo beyond lucky to have Wen by his side.
Speaking of the man, Kaul Hilo grows to be a leader of his own right as he learns from his mistakes and experiences taking everything in then using it to go above and beyond blowing expectations that was put upon him by everyone else including himself. Hilo’s strong values and undoubted sense of honor as a green bone to his family and his country adding to his experience as Horn established him to become a much stronger Pillar exceeding his predecessors : Kaul Lan, Kaul Du, and Kaul Sen. His ability to bring out others potential and fuel confidence in the most dire times, to always listen and evolve, to never be afraid of change and challenges facing them with tenacity and stubborn resilience, and to keep an open mind embracing the world with new eyes but never losing yourself shaped him to be a strong Pillar. Hilo’s development in Jade Legacy is stark compared to the Hilo in Jade City and Jade War. He has matured so much becoming the man that has risen to his full potential as a father, uncle, brother, and Pillar of No Peak.
Even the biggest tigers grow old. But even the oldest tiger was still a tiger.
Besides the Kauls we also get to see the ambitious and cunning Pillar of the Mountain, Ayt Mada. Her ability as a Pillar leading The Mountain with an iron fist and the brains of a weatherman made her to be ruthless foe with unstoppable force. When we thought in Jade War we’ve seen everything, Ayt Mada is pulling all the stops in Jade Legacy. We’ll get to see more sides of Ayt Mada’s complex characterization as she is brought into vulnerable situations having to face the consequences of her decisions. The character development also extends to a persistent character that has involved himself in many dark dealings and business’ throughout the series. Bero is character that has avoided death far too many times. Some might say he’s lucky or maybe he’s the one truly cursed to a life of repenting for his sins. By the end of this third book I can see Bero in a new light and understand him fully as a character. I loathed him for his deeds but if I were to be put in his position seeing how the hierarchy in Kekon works, I would want to fight my way up the food chain too no matter the cost.
In Jade Legacy, we will be introduced to many new players in the story that will get intertwined with clans and the world. These new characters include the next generation of green bones that will continue the legacy of the clans and Kekonese culture. Seeing everyone in this series become aunts, uncles, and parents to the future generation is moving and touching. The Kaul family and their children especially brought me so much joy and tears. We’ve seen them grow up now they are growing old, raising their own children and seeing them guide the next generation to become future leaders of the clan. By showering their children with love, giving opportunities to choose what they want to do, and defining for themselves their own identities whether they choose to be a green bone or not. What I love seeing is the child-parent dynamics and sibling dynamics as it eases the tension of the story in between the intense serious moments. In this series we have joined them in celebration of their victories and during their most monumental moments, but there are two sides to a coin, we also joined them at their most fragile and vulnerable state as they grief and mourn their loses. Reflecting back after finishing this book I understood that Jade Legacy is a story about legacies. I’ll emphasize it again it is a story about the legacies of our ancestors that have shaped the characters, the legacies in making that will shape the future, and the future legacies that will continue to bring inevitable change to the world.
Final thoughts, Jade Legacy is the most stunning, heart pounding, gut wrenching, and satisfying conclusion to a series that I have read of all time. It is a story filled with hard hitting action sequences, mind blowing political and economical machinations, expansive world building that depicted the growth of world through time coinciding with globalization and modernization, a magic system that is versatile, fundamental, and deeply rooted within the world itself, and brilliant characterization that bleeds through the pages. The Green Bone Saga as a whole is a series that is masterfully written covering all the aspects of epic fantasy that is entirely unique and distinct from any other series I’ve read. This series has cemented Fonda Lee as a fantasy power house writer through her displays in master class world building, outstanding characterization and development, gripping exhilarating pacing, and explosive action sequences. Jade Legacy is the ending that gives fans of the series what they deserve and Fonda Lee combined all the aspects that is loved in the series into this book to conclude this epic saga.
Now I want to take this opportunity to share my personal feelings about this series. The Green Bone Saga has become a series that holds a lot of meaning for me this year. Though I didn’t know about it when it was first published the deep connection and love I have for it will persist for a long time. Jade Legacy further amplified my love for this series and made me form an emotional attachment to the characters that has engrained themselves to be a family I care about just like my own. I highly recommend for everyone that has never read this series or read the first book but never continued this series to please read and continue on. For fans of The Green Bone Saga that has read the first two books, Jade Legacy will truly blow your expectations in an earth shattering manner that will leave you incapacitated for months such as myself. Lastly, I would like to say good bye this series and saluting my farewells to Lan, Hilo, Shae, Anden, Wen, Tar, Kehn, Lott, Ayt Mada, Bero, Jaya, Ru, Niko, and all the green bones that I have met on this journey. For the last time, the clan is my blood and the pillar is it’s master. On my honor, my life, and my jade.
For Fonda Lee, thank you for writing this series and I can guarantee I will continue to support your other works in the future. You truly deserve all the awards and recognition for what you have done through this series. And I’m glad I am given this opportunity to add my voice in promoting this amazing series through my blog. Far do your enemies flee, Lee jen!
The quotes in this review were taken from an ARC and are subject to change upon publication.
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