Petrik's Reviews > Jade War

Jade War by Fonda Lee
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it was amazing
bookshelves: owned-physical-books, favorites
Recommended for: Asian-inspired, Urban, & Gangster fantasy fans

ARC provided by the publisher—Orbit—in exchange for an honest review.

Absolutely amazing; Jade War was a brilliantly compelling sequel filled with skillfully-written characterizations and tension-packed action scenes.

I buddy read this novel with four other readers of different ethnicities—TS, Emma, Jenia, and Nils—living in different parts of the world and all of us pretty much agreed that we were both in love with and terrified by the events in Jade War. I find it equally satisfying and astonishing that Lee was able to create a sequel that outshone the stunning quality found in Jade City, which won many readers’ hearts and the World Fantasy Award trophy last year. But Fonda Lee did it spectacularly; Jade War was unbelievably better than the first book. The fantasy genre needs more urban fantasy as refreshing and great as this series.

The story in Jade War takes place sixteen months after the end of Jade City. The official blurb on Goodreads and Amazon did a wonderful job of explaining the premise without spoiling any of the main events; read those if you want to know more about the general plot. Jade War took every factor of importance firmly established in the first book into account and expanded upon them deftly. Jade City took a bit of time—around 100 pages—for me to become comfortable and attached; Jade War flowed naturally with no dull moments from the first page until the last. All scene was necessary and crucial, and the plot points that I loved from the first book—such as a deadly clan war, engaging dialogues, and now, international politics too—not only existed but were improved further. Jade War also follows in the footsteps of the first book by making sure that the main themes of love, family, honor, and duty were evident in the narrative. Fiercer, more ambitious, and bigger in scope; the events that occurred in the first book subtly enhanced the looming tension hanging around behind the shadows of the characters. Lee gradually and continuously escalates the stakes that the characters encounter and the last 150 pages of the book comprised an unputdownable finale that can frankly be described as every single shit hitting the tornado.

“People are born selfish; babies are the most selfish creatures, even though they’re helpless and wouldn’t survive a day on their own. Growing up and losing that selfishness—that’s what civilization is, that’s what sets us above beasts. If someone harms my brother, they harm me—that’s what our clan oaths are about. Those men weren’t your enemies—they were our enemies.”


I don’t know why, but recently I’ve been having quite a bad luck in reading SFF books; it seems that majority of them have awesome actions and original world-building but lack the one feature that matters the most to me: stupendous characterizations. I’ve written more than 300 reviews and I’ve repeated this so many times already, but I simply can’t enjoy a book if I don’t care about the characters. Fortunately, Lee is the type of storyteller that prioritizes her characters and characterizations. I felt truly invested in the characters’ journeys. It was crystal clear that Lee understands and knows her characters really well. Let’s take Hilo for example. Being in his position, it was inevitable that he would have to do some bad stuff and my god he did. Even then, I was still able to understand why he did these things, and the good side of him that genuinely cares about his family compelled me to care about him.

“The clan was not just people and jade and money. It was an idea, a legacy that connected the pats with the present and the future. The family’s strength was a promise.”


Every character’s actions always had weight and comprehensible motivation behind them. Lee has created an exceptionally well-written cast of characters that’s so bloody compelling, complex, tangibly realistic, and easy to get attached to. There wasn’t a single moment where the characters felt like they behaved outside of their personalities, and the internal conflicts they had were all valid and empathizing. These are the kind of things that, in my opinion, separate the good and the great SFF authors from each other and Lee definitely belongs in the latter group. I also need to mention that within the cast of characters, the female characters—Shae and Wen—of this series were hands down some of the best female characters I’ve ever read in fantasy.

“If you’re not sure you’re in love, then you’re not.”


This doesn’t mean that I’m saying that Jade War was only good in characterizations but lacking in tremendous actions and intricate world-building. On the contrary, the existence of the characters and the terrific characterizations served to improve the sense of danger and immersion behind the battles and the fully-realized world-building. Jade War doesn’t take place solely in Kekkon; one look at the maps in this book and you will immediately realize that this is a much larger and ambitious sequel compared to its predecessor. The inclusion of Shotar and Espenia, to name a few, made the series more complex and yet still easily accessible.

“Out of small resentments, spring great wars.”


Lee once again astounded me with her fantastic blend of martial arts and jade magic. The clan wars provoked by each faction led to ignitions of violence that’s doubly gripping and memorable. The action sequences were utterly stylish and breathtaking. I have to give a round of applause to the duel featured in this installment; it was pulse-pounding, full of energy, menace, and ominous atmosphere. The crescent slash left by the clean moon blades detonated a frightening quality that quickened the beating of my heart. I mean it, the duel scene exhibited in this installment and the climax sequences were brimming with vivid imagery and perceptible intensity. Take the last battle in Jade City, increase that threefold and you have a notion of the crushing strength poured into the global jade war. I honestly can’t wait to read how Lee will improve from her cinematic set pieces in the next—and maybe the last—installment of the series.

“All that mortals could do was accept the lot they were given, and yet still fight to better their own fate and that of their loved ones.”


I’m gratified and impressed by the gangster fantasy I’ve read this year; Priest of Lies by Peter McLean is included in one of my favorite reads of the year so far and now Jade War joins the list. Jade War is urban fantasy at its best and Lee has cemented The Green Bone Saga as one of my favorite ongoing series with a groundbreaking impact. Do not miss reading this incredible book at all costs; The No Peak Clan awaits your enlistment in the Jade War. If you haven’t read Jade City yet, what are you waiting for? On my honor, my life, and my jade, this is a magnificent example of urban fantasy of the highest tier. The clan is my blood, and the Pillar is its master; let the gods recognize me as a clan loyalist who has stamped Jade War as one of the best book published in 2019.

Official release date: July 25th, 2019 (UK) and July 23rd, 2019 (US)

You can pre-order the book from: Amazon UK | Amazon US | Book Depository (Free shipping)

The quotes in this review were taken from an ARC and are subject to change upon publication.

You can find this and the rest of my reviews at Novel Notions
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Reading Progress

May 27, 2018 – Shelved
July 10, 2019 – Started Reading
July 13, 2019 – Finished Reading

Comments Showing 1-28 of 28 (28 new)

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Em Lost In Books *jealous*


Petrik Em Lost In Books wrote: "*jealous*"

Oh god, this one was so good! :)


Tara Yaaaay!!! I'm sooo looking forward to this!! I'm glad to see it met expectations, especially after the stunning debut!!


Petrik Tara wrote: "Yaaaay!!! I'm sooo looking forward to this!! I'm glad to see it met expectations, especially after the stunning debut!!"

Woohoo!!! The wait will be worth it, Tara! Only 10 days left til release date! :D


message 5: by Maja Ingrid (new)

Maja Ingrid This review makes me excited for the series! I have Jade City on kindle, but I only have the app and I hate reading on my phone. Will get to the series at some point though :)


message 6: by Colleen (new) - added it

Colleen Yay! So glad to hear that the sequel is even better than the first one! Wonderful review, Petrik!


Petrik Maja Ingrid wrote: "This review makes me excited for the series! I have Jade City on kindle, but I only have the app and I hate reading on my phone. Will get to the series at some point though :)"

You HAVE to read this series, Maja. I really understand the pain of reading phone though, e-reader is mandatory if you want to read ebooks imo; they're easy on your eyes and really look like pages from a real book! :)


Petrik Colleen wrote: "Yay! So glad to hear that the sequel is even better than the first one! Wonderful review, Petrik!"

Thank you, Colleen! Aaaaa I loved this one so much, I hope you'll love it more than the first book too! :)


message 9: by Maja Ingrid (new)

Maja Ingrid Petrik wrote: "You HAVE to read this series, Maja. I really understand the pain of reading phone though, e-reader is mandatory if you want to read ebooks imo; they're easy on your eyes and really look like pages from a real book! :)"

The kindle app does that too! But yeah, it's really hard on the eyes to read on phone. Both the size and the light. Only use it if there's no physical editions available for a book. I do have a sony reader, but it's old and doesn't function properly. And it's a real hassle transferring books to it.


message 10: by Audrey (new) - added it

Audrey I was already convinced to read this saga thank you petrik to confirming my choice. Now I have to see when I can read these lol


message 11: by Fran (new)

Fran Fab review, Petrik!


Petrik Maja Ingrid wrote: "Petrik wrote: "You HAVE to read this series, Maja. I really understand the pain of reading phone though, e-reader is mandatory if you want to read ebooks imo; they're easy on your eyes and really l..."

I agreed! Well, i hope you'll be able to save up for a kindle. I think it's a really worthy investment!! :)


Petrik Audrey wrote: "I was already convinced to read this saga thank you petrik to confirming my choice. Now I have to see when I can read these lol"

You're welcome, Audrey! Definitely a must read! I wish there's more urban fantasy like this! :)


Petrik Fran wrote: "Fab review, Petrik!"

Thank you, Fran! :)


message 15: by Maja Ingrid (new)

Maja Ingrid Petrik wrote: "I agreed! Well, i hope you'll be able to save up for a kindle. I think it's a really worthy investment!! :)"

Thanks Petrik! I hope so too!


Petrik Maja Ingrid wrote: "Petrik wrote: "I agreed! Well, i hope you'll be able to save up for a kindle. I think it's a really worthy investment!! :)"

Thanks Petrik! I hope so too!"


You're welcome! :)


message 17: by Jenna (new)

Jenna Kathleen I added the first one to my TBR!


Petrik Jenna wrote: "I added the first one to my TBR!"

Yessss!!! I hope you'll love it, Jenna! :D The world-building is very modern Asian-inspired; think like Hong-Kong, Seoul, Tokyo or China. I wish there are more urban fantasy like this!!


message 19: by Christina (new) - added it

Christina Pilkington I loved Jade City, so I’m so glad to hear that the sequel was just as good!


Petrik Christina wrote: "I loved Jade City, so I’m so glad to hear that the sequel was just as good!"

It's not only just as good, it's even better, Christina! You won't be disappointed! :)


message 21: by Travis (new)

Travis Sounds intriguing! Great review!


Bennett Great Review! I am so excited for this book. Jade War on the 23rd, Dark Age on the 30th, then The Dragon Republic on the 6th. What a lineup!


Petrik Travis wrote: "Sounds intriguing! Great review!"

Thank you, Travis! :)


Petrik Bennett wrote: "Great Review! I am so excited for this book. Jade War on the 23rd, Dark Age on the 30th, then The Dragon Republic on the 6th. What a lineup!"

Thanks, Bennett! Wow, now that you mention. Weeks of amazing books coming right up! :O


message 25: by Michael (new) - added it

Michael Great review, Petrik! I think I'm going to have to give this author a try.


Petrik Michael wrote: "Great review, Petrik! I think I'm going to have to give this author a try."

Thank you, Michael! Yessss you must! Super good and my current favorite ongoing urban fantasy series!


message 27: by Michael (new) - added it

Michael Mammay Thanks for this review. I was always going to read book 2 of this series, but now I'm going to move it to the top of my list.


Petrik Michael wrote: "Thanks for this review. I was always going to read book 2 of this series, but now I'm going to move it to the top of my list."

You're welcome, Mike! Yes yes, definitely do that. Just a few more days and you can experience this fantastic story too! :)


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