The Jade Setter of Janloon (The Green Bone Saga #0.5) by Fonda Lee
Published by Subterranean Press
Release Date : 30th April 2022
The rapidly changing city of Janloon is ruled by jade, the rare and ancient substance that enhances the abilities and status of the trained Green Bone warriors who run the island’s powerful clans.
Pulo Oritono is not one of those warriors. He’s simply an apprentice jade setter with dreams of securing clan patronage and establishing a successful business. His hopes are dashed, however, when a priceless jade weapon is stolen from the shop where he works.
Now, Pulo has three days to hunt down the thief, find the jade, and return it to its rightful owner if he wants to save his future prospects, the people he cares about, and his very life. The desperate mission will lead Pulo to old vendettas, vast corruption, and questions about everything and everyone he thought he knew.
Source : fondalee.com
“I’m only a humble jade setter, but I’m content with the last thing I was able to fix.”
ARC provided by the publisher Subterranean Press and NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.
The Jade Setter of Janloon is the perfect introduction to The Green Bone Saga for new readers and the perfect bite sized flex of Fonda Lee’s masterful writing..
It is no secret that I am a HUGE fan of Fonda Lee’s masterpiece trilogy The Green Bone Saga. The trilogy has a special place on my shelf and in my heart as one of my favorite series of all time. The conclusion of the epic trilogy released back in November 2021. Since then Fonda has teased a novella set in the same universe as the trilogy to be released by Subterranean Press as a limited edition book. This announcement got me really excited and I am happy to be able to snag a copy for my collection. Readers who are interested to read the book but didn’t manage to get a copy of the physical book can read the book by buying the ebook. The cover illustration for the novella is done by the talented artist Charis Loke. As you can see the illustration is insanely beautiful and intricate. The jade carvings of well known characters : Hilo, Lan, Ayt Mada, and Gont Asch caught my eye immediately.
The Jade Setter of Janloon is set in the growing and rapidly changing city of Janloon on the island of Kekon. The home of notorious green bone warriors and the origin of jade. For centuries jade has become a symbol of the Kekonese people especially the honoured green bone warriors as a show of status, power, and respect. Behind every stud of jade on a green bone’s ear, the necklaces, bracelets, studded belts, and many other accessories decked out by a warrior are the craftsman such as Pulo Oritono. Pulo is an ambitious apprentice of a famous jade setter in Kekon that has big dreams of opening his own jade setting business and leaving his master. All those dreams come to a halt when a thief stole one of the most prized weapon from the shop. With limited time, his life, and the lives of the people he loves on the line it is up to him to find weapon before it is too late.
Fonda Lee’s world has enamoured me since I read the first book of The Green Bone Saga and that world has organically expanded and grown to be one of the best fantasy worlds that I have ever visited in my reading journey. The world building in this short novella is more focused and less expansive but it still takes readers around for a ride around Janloon. I can confirm that readers that have not read The Green Bone Saga trilogy can definitely read this novella without prior knowledge. The experience of knowing the world of The Green Bone Saga comes with the novelty that never wears off and only becomes more stronger the longer you stay in Lee’s world. As someone that has read the trilogy seeing some of the notable characters make an appearance never fails to make me tear up. To new readers that will jump into this story with new eyes and meet these characters will be treated to an introduction that will surely leave an impression that will make them want to start the trilogy.
In this novella Fonda Lee’s signature style of concise and descriptive writing is as sharp as ever and yet there are certain notes in this novella that are different from the trilogy. There is a certain noir and murder-mystery undertone to it that I find exciting as it enhances the premise of the story. The main characters of The Jade Setter of Janloon also has a strong presence and is fully fleshed out in this 140+ pages long novella which takes a tremendous skill to do. Fonda Lee’s writing is addictive and fast paced that immerses you deep into the story that readers can easily get invested in every aspect of the story. For returning readers if you are expecting a lot of action there aren’t many but Fonda Lee has effectively spread out the action scenes to a few that will definitely leave a strong impression. The amazing thing about this novella is that Fonda manages to flesh out Janloon and the current political landscape of that time within the novella. The structure of the hierarchy of clans and the people that tied to the big clans are just as intricate as it is in the novel. Trust me The Jade Setter of Janloon is like a bite sized version of the epic world that Fonda Lee has created that is a perfect introduction to The Green Bone Saga.
The core main characters that are involved in the overarching plot are all well written and fleshed out. This isn’t something new about Fonda Lee for returning readers but for new readers that aren’t familiar with Fonda Lee’s book this is just the tip of the iceberg. Fonda Lee’s ability in writing characters, for me, is top tier S class. Lee can make readers care about all characters even the side characters that makes an appearance for a short period of time.
Bright lights distracted from darkness, while money and success flowed through the gutters toward the cunning and the ruthless. Jade was not the only thing that was gained at the expense of lives.
Final thoughts, The Jade Setter of Janloon is a good bite sized piece of The Green Bone Saga that can be a good starter for new readers to familiarize with Fonda Lee’s writing and pacing. I definitely highly recommend for readers to read this novella first to experience the world of The Green Bone Saga for the first time or revisit it again because I’m sure for returning readers that have read the whole trilogy would want to see their favorite characters one last time.
The quotes in this review were taken from an ARC and are subject to change upon publication.