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Jade City (The Green Bone Saga, #1)
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Jade City > JC: Just not feeling it

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message 1: by John (Taloni) (new)

John (Taloni) Taloni (johntaloni) | 4075 comments I'm about a quarter of the way in and I am just not feeling this book. The premise is not in my usual wheelhouse but I've been pleasantly surprised before (looking at you, Uprooted and The Witcher.)

Anyway, reasons below...not really spoilertastic but for politeness' sake.

(view spoiler)


message 2: by John (Nevets) (new)

John (Nevets) Nevets (nevets) | 1593 comments So your going to "Hem" it :-)


message 3: by John (Taloni) (new)

John (Taloni) Taloni (johntaloni) | 4075 comments Sew you say, John, sew you say... ;)


katie (katekor) | 36 comments I didn't want to say anything because I'm more of a lurker anyway, and everyone seems to really be into this book so I didn't want to harsh anyone's buzz, but I did not like this book and was really disappointed about it because of all the great reviews from people who have similar taste to mine. I mostly just thought everything about it was super boring. The setting was interesting but I wasn't feeling the magic system, and I found the plot and characters just so boring.

I never Lem books and I was so curious about why everyone loved it so much so I finished it, but it really wasn't worth it.


message 5: by Rick (new)

Rick | 2869 comments Well if yo udon't like mob books... yeah, you're not going to like this. That strikes me as more a mismatch between what you like and what it is than a comment on the book per se. It's like me talking about post-apocalyptic stuff or zombie books- I don't like those things so I just avoid them.

I can't comment too much on the 'I thought it was boring' take of Katie because, well we need reasons why (that's a not very sneaky way of saying 'post more please!' :) )

Me, I liked it but felt it had flaws which I'll talk about later. 3.5 stars, maybe 4 for me.


Trike | 8768 comments Not all books appeal to all people. I genuinely don’t understand the love people have for books like Hyperion or China Mieville’s work, but c’est la vie.

I’m also Italian, but I don’t have an aversion to stories about organized crime. Despite those being the vast majority of stories told about Italians, it’s not something that sticks as the general perception of us by the general public.

“It’s not true that all Italians are in the mafia. They do all *work* for the mafia, but they’re all not in it.” — Richard Pryor

The name thing didn’t bother me, but as I mentioned elsewhere, I cut my teeth on Russian literature and Tolkien, where there are dozens of characters and all the names are virtually identical. Plus, those characters develop over time and most of them reappear later in the story.

But if you’re not feeling it, there are a million other books out there.


message 7: by Rick (new)

Rick | 2869 comments PS: John, Dara is going to beat you up, you know.


katie (katekor) | 36 comments The characters felt thinly drawn to me. I couldn't get a sense of most of them or their motivations, or what the stakes were and why I should care. I was sort of intrigued by Shae and Anden, but generally every time I picked up the book I'd be thinking about how maybe I should just put it down for good because I just did not care what was going to happen next. I know I prefer stories with likable characters, but I don't think it's fair to say (at least for me) that I just didn't like it because of that. I mean I adored The Fifth Season and Titus Groan and Bartleby the Scrivener.

I'm struggling to come up with a concrete example here, and I didn't leave a review with my rating because I couldn't think of anything nice to say so I don't have any reference to refresh myself with, but I didn't like the style of prose, either. It felt clunky with random chunks of exposition that I'd glaze over without even noticing for a few paragraphs. I'm generally not one to get annoyed over info-dumps and the like, but I was struggling to even pay attention for the action, so it really stuck out to me in this one.

I think maybe this one just wasn't for me, because it seems like a lot of people really loved the characters and prose.


Brendan (mistershine) | 930 comments This book felt to me like a better written California Bones, so I have it sitting at a solid "average."


Joyce (eternity21) | 177 comments I have to agree and say I'm finding excuses not to read it. That tells me I am not enjoying it enough to go back to it everyday. But it is holding enough interest that I don't want to Lem it. I have been surprised halfway through a book selection to find I enjoy it. I'll keep up and probably finish it. I do enjoy a couple of the characters and want to hear more about them. So if the story starts to include the sister more (I can't think of the name right now) I might just enjoy it more.

I do not find I like gang or mob stories. I started another book at the same time and already finished it and am going back to reading this.


Tasha I'm only about 20% into this so far, and haven't fallen in love quite yet. The only other mobster book I've read is The Godfather, and I kind of hated that. But it's too early to tell yet.

I don't get the name complaint though. I haven't yet encountered characters with the same/similar names.


Tasha Trike, Hyperion was awesome, but don't read any more in the series.


Trike | 8768 comments Tasha wrote: "Trike, Hyperion was awesome, but don't read any more in the series."

Yeah, see, we’re just gonna disagree on that. Which is fine, because that’s what makes the world go ‘round.

Maybe Hyperion lovers are Jade haters? They definitely scratch very different itches.


message 14: by Rick (new)

Rick | 2869 comments So I wasn't feeling it the first time I read it for a reason I'll put behind tags (and this IS a spoiler, not just being cautious)...

(view spoiler)


message 15: by Rick (new)

Rick | 2869 comments Trike wrote: "Tasha wrote: "Trike, Hyperion was awesome, but don't read any more in the series."

Yeah, see, we’re just gonna disagree on that. Which is fine, because that’s what makes the world go ..."

Don't worry Tasha... Trike hates The Empire Strikes Back too.


message 16: by Soo (new) - rated it 3 stars

Soo (silverlyn) | 93 comments I'm near the end of the audiobook. I love wire-fu, variety of Asian dramas, martial arts movies, good ole mob stories, action, etc and I am wondering why the book won awards. I still have an hour or so to go in the book. Maybe it'll redeem itself? I rather doubt it. The book started with decent momentum but it quickly became boring because the author doesn't describe the characters or setting enough to make a clear picture of anything. The intro to the "magic system" was kind of cool in the beginning but nothing really happens with it other than a bare bones description. Bare bones is a good phrase for the book. There's a ton of info on families, politics, rivalry and angst.

What do the characters actually look like? What makes one person truly stand out from another beyond a name or status? How would you describe the poor section from the rich? What's the big difference between the two power groups? Was any of the plot subtle because I felt like I had a sledgehammer of "think this, see that, feel this", etc thrown at me as the reader.

I could say that I'm the wrong audience for this book but I actually like a lot of the elements that make up the story. It should be a story that really grabs my attention and takes me on a fun adventure. Instead, I'm grumpy and wondering what I am missing because I do not love the book. I do not see how it won so many awards.

I'm female. I'm Asian. I want to root for an author that writes cool fantasy. I should really like this book but thus far I find it to be a poor rehash of Asian drama.


Brendan (mistershine) | 930 comments Soo wrote: "I'm female. I'm Asian. I want to root for an author that writes cool fantasy."

Have you tried The Poppy War? I found everything about that book much more... visceral, I guess. Much more gritty war fantasy, not urban fantasy like Jade City.


message 18: by Soo (new) - rated it 3 stars

Soo (silverlyn) | 93 comments Brendan wrote: "Soo wrote: "I'm female. I'm Asian. I want to root for an author that writes cool fantasy."

Have you tried The Poppy War? I found everything about that book much more... visceral, I..."


I have it and plan to read it. I'm curious to see how I will feel about the story because a friend of mine did not care for it and she was excited to read the story at the start. I like the blurb. I have my fingers crossed for the story.


message 19: by Dara (new) - rated it 5 stars

Dara (cmdrdara) | 2702 comments Rick wrote: "PS: John, Dara is going to beat you up, you know."

I'm not going to beat anybody up, I promise! :-) Not every book is for everyone and I totally get that.

Rick wrote: "So I wasn't feeling it the first time I read it for a reason I'll put behind tags (and this IS a spoiler, not just being cautious)...

[spoilers removed]"


Complete agree about the spoiler.


message 20: by John (Taloni) (new)

John (Taloni) Taloni (johntaloni) | 4075 comments I'm still kind of "eh, okay" about the book at the 40% mark. It's decent insomnia fodder so there's that.

To my personal amusement, I warmed up to the book somewhat due to a portion that would probably put most people to sleep. That's when Shae audits the mining operations. I've overseen audits and worked on a few, back in my film distribution days. Yep, that's about how you would uncover wrongdoing and about the level of evidence you'd be able to find.

The book also makes mention of Shae's degree in business, and two years in school is about what it takes for an MBA or similar degree, and I've got one of those. And yes, a graduate degree in business would train you to look for what Shae found. So I'm nodding my head at that section but otherwise thinking that unless you've been there, that section may not make much sense.


Sheila Jean | 325 comments Can't tell if I don't care for it, or if I'm just on a fantasy break. I had 2 hours at the car dealership this morning and instead of reading it, I browsed the internet, listened to A Closed and Common Orbit, looked at the cars I have no intention of buying, and just generally didn't even try to crack it open.


message 22: by TRP (new) - added it

TRP Watson (trpw) | 213 comments Also not feeling it.
The world building is good but, at about a third of the way through, I'm not interested enough in the characters.
I'm listening on Audible so should finish it but am not feeling enthusiastic.


message 23: by Rick (last edited Aug 09, 2018 05:21PM) (new)

Rick | 2869 comments Yeah I think those of you about 30-40% in are in the lull part. I know how you feel since I was the same way the first time I read it. It picks up in the last half. It may still not be for you, but it does move better ahead. I think the slower pacing to get to a pivotal event in this book does hurt the book overall.

PS: I also think this suffers a bit from 'first book in a series' syndrome where you want to have the book come to a conclusion but the entire story is something that will span at least two books so the typical structure is stretched out.

Instead of first act setting the theme, middle act revealing the conflicts and exploring the theme, third act resolving the story, you have a first act setting the theme which takes up about 50% of the book then a middle act that explores some of the themes, resolves a couple enough that the book isn't a cliffhanger but leaves other themes open for future exploration.


message 24: by Soo (new) - rated it 3 stars

Soo (silverlyn) | 93 comments John (Taloni) wrote: "I'm still kind of "eh, okay" about the book at the 40% mark. It's decent insomnia fodder so there's that.

To my personal amusement, I warmed up to the book somewhat due to a portion that would pro..."


I actually thought that was one of the positive parts that made the story have potential. That bit made me perk up & pay attention. Then I see-sawed back into "not sure if I care" mode.

The writing is green. There's potential to the book but it doesn't quite make it for me. I am very close to the end but letting myself get distracted by fluff books. I aim to get it done within the next few days.


message 25: by Michele (new) - added it

Michele | 1154 comments I lemmed it. I didn't get very far in, but it wasn't interesting me at all. I generally need something to hook me within the first few chapters, and this one just didn't. I may try it again some day. I've put aside books before and eventually ended up reading and liking them. I'm moody.


Trike | 8768 comments Michele wrote: "I lemmed it. I didn't get very far in, but it wasn't interesting me at all. I generally need something to hook me within the first few chapters, and this one just didn't. I may try it again some da..."

With your Kung Fu Hustle avatar, I’m surprised you didn’t go for this.


message 27: by Michele (new) - added it

Michele | 1154 comments Trike wrote: "Michele wrote: "I lemmed it. I didn't get very far in, but it wasn't interesting me at all. I generally need something to hook me within the first few chapters, and this one just didn't. I may try ..."

That's a fun and silly movie - plus, I do actually kind of look like the landlady (without the curlers though) :)

I don't find reading fight scenes very entertaining at all, though I'll skim them when I'm interested in the rest of the story/characters. I'm also not a fan of mobster stories unless a main character really hooks me at the beginning.


message 28: by John (Taloni) (last edited Aug 10, 2018 06:30AM) (new)

John (Taloni) Taloni (johntaloni) | 4075 comments And now, halfway in - HALFWAY IN - the inciting incident. I would say "that's got to be some kind of record" but then, Tolkien.


message 29: by Maclurker (new) - added it

Maclurker | 125 comments katie wrote: "The characters felt thinly drawn to me. I couldn't get a sense of most of them or their motivations, or what the stakes were and why I should care. I was sort of intrigued by Shae and Anden, but ge..."

What she said. I'm at about 50% now and it does seem to be picking up a bit. I'm also having fun guessing what comes next, as it seems to be fairly predictable. I don't like gangster books either. So this is really not the book for me. I probably won't read any others in the series. Also (view spoiler).


message 30: by Mer (new) - rated it 2 stars

Mer | 176 comments Brendan wrote: "This book felt to me like a better written California Bones, so I have it sitting at a solid "average.""

Glad to know I wasn't the only one to get this vibe.


Molly (mollyrichmer) | 134 comments I feel the same way. It's not badly written, and I can see why people like it, but it's just not my wheelhouse. I'm all about interesting characters, and none of the leads are particularly compelling to me. I'm a little over halfway now and will probably finish it, but I'm not exactly on the edge of my seat.


message 32: by Danielle (new) - added it

Danielle | 16 comments Thanks for this thread. It'll make lemming easier. I really like reading along, but two chapters in and I'm just not feeling it either. Life's too short and all that.


message 33: by Jon (new) - added it

Jon (jonmoss) | 10 comments I started this last night before bed and can confirm it's a great sleep aid. I read the first two chapters, unintentionally more than once since my mind kept thinking about anything/everything else than the poorly fleshed out characters. I read another chapter after waking up and almost put myself back to sleep and also had to re-read several paragraphs because my mind just wasn't engaged.

Not sure how much longer I will continue. I usually give a book 20 or 30 percent but I'm only at 7 percent and finding excuses not to read it.


message 34: by Jen (new) - rated it 3 stars

Jen | 222 comments So far (about halfway through) I'm finding this pretty predictable. I'm liking it more than I did when I first started, but having a lot of "saw that coming" thoughts while reading.


message 35: by John (Taloni) (new)

John (Taloni) Taloni (johntaloni) | 4075 comments I will note that the book picks up a lot at the 50% mark. I wound up enjoying the book overall. It's really like two separate books though.

Real spoilers below, not just for politeness...
(view spoiler)


message 36: by Rick (new)

Rick | 2869 comments Jen - that is, I think, a weakness (along with the leisurely pace) of th e book. It follows a fairly predictable path.

I think you have to like the setting and characters and not mind that aspect of the plot. If you dislike mob books as several here have noted they do, the book is very unlikely to work for you, too.


Trike | 8768 comments Jon wrote: "poorly fleshed out characters"

o.0

I think you’re reading a different Jade City.


message 38: by Nathan (last edited Aug 16, 2018 10:15AM) (new) - rated it 4 stars

Nathan (tenebrous) | 377 comments The thing is, there is enough of the characters in the first few chapters for one to see their outlines. They get fleshed out as the book goes on and circumstances change.

I don't see how one could not have a feel for the characters after the first few chapters.


message 39: by Phil (last edited Aug 16, 2018 10:17AM) (new) - rated it 3 stars

Phil | 1152 comments I'm about 70% in and I'm finding it ok but kind of dragging and exposition heavy. I'll finish it but probably mostly forget it as soon as I move on.
One weird nit-pick I have that others will find silly of me is that the word "jade" is used way too frequently; almost every page. Yes I get that's what makes this world different but it's probably mentioned more than "magic" is in Harry Potter.
Now that I think about it there are some comparisons to Harry Potter except that here even the "good" characters that won the genetic lottery terrorize the muggles into paying them protection money.
One also wonders why the non-green population doesn't flee the city or even the country and live elsewhere. It seems a pretty shitty place to live if your not one of the chosen ones.


Trike | 8768 comments Phil wrote: "One also wonders why the non-green population doesn't flee the city or even the country and live elsewhere. It seems a pretty shitty place to live if your not one of the chosen ones."

You can say about anywhere. If you can figure out why people still live in Chicago or Detroit or North Korea or DC or Hong Kong or Syria, you’ll solve an ancient human mystery.


message 41: by Phil (new) - rated it 3 stars

Phil | 1152 comments Well, people are fleeing Syria ,hence the Syrian refugee crisis, North Koreans are prevented from leaving, and Hong Kong lost a lot of the wealthy citizens when China took over and that's partly why Vancouver is more than 50% "English as a second language" now.
I don't really know the histories of the U.S. cities but it wouldn't surprise me to learn there was a lot of emigration when the mobs were in charge.


katie (katekor) | 36 comments Ugh, people are still picking on Detroit? And on this, the day the Queen of Soul passed away?

I was almost thinking I should maybe come back and revisit Jade City in a year or so to see if I can figure out why so many people find it so magical, but everyone's opinions here are reinforcing the idea that it just doesn't click with me. I'm curious to see if future books by Lee will fare the same way.


Stephen Richter (stephenofllongbeach) | 1339 comments I am glad I have seen the Godfather because Helio is Sonny, and Shae is Michael. I really had high expectation for this book and I will read the next book but I am on the fence about this one.


message 44: by Rick (new)

Rick | 2869 comments katie wrote: " I should maybe come back and revisit Jade City in a year or so to see if I can figure out why so many people find it so magical, but everyone's opinions here are reinforcing the idea that it just doesn't click with me..."

I don't know that you will find it magical (I liked it but wouldn't use that word) but you're in a thread that is going to gather the people who didn't like it. Those of us who did...aren't going to post much here. I mean, what am I going to say to people who don't like the book much, 'your taste should be like mine'? That'd be silly arrogant.


katie (katekor) | 36 comments Rick wrote: "katie wrote: " I should maybe come back and revisit Jade City in a year or so to see if I can figure out why so many people find it so magical, but everyone's opinions here are reinforcing the idea..."


Yeah, that's why it helped. Most of the reveiws on the book's page are super positive, and I had a hard time defining for myself why I wasn't feeling the same way, so this thread was helpful and made me feel less like I just read it wrong and more like my opinion was valid.

And that's why I haven't posted in the other threads. I'm glad other people loved it, and I wish I was one of them, but I don't like to harsh anyone's buzz when people are having a good time gushing over a thing they like!


Tasha Stephen wrote: "I am glad I have seen the Godfather because Helio is Sonny, and Shae is Michael. I really had high expectation for this book and I will read the next book but I am on the fence about this one."

This might help me; I didn't like The Godfather (the book, never seen the movie.) but Michael was cool.

I'm still having trouble, but I don't think I can blame the book. I'm reading two others and am bored with them too. I'm in the longest reading slump of my life.


message 47: by Rick (new)

Rick | 2869 comments katie wrote: "
Yeah, that's why it helped. Most of the reveiws on the book's page are super positive, and I had a hard time defining for myself why I wasn't feeling the same way, so this thread was helpful and made me feel less like I just read it wrong and more like my opinion was valid. ..."


Ah, I see! Makes sense. YOU"RE ALL WRONG WRONG WR... OK, need to cut back on coffee :)


Trike | 8768 comments Tasha wrote: "This might help me; I didn't like The Godfather (the book, never seen the movie.) but Michael was cool."

You should see it. It is, like Jaws, one of the exemplars of “bad book = good movie.”


Oleksandr Zholud Trike wrote: "You should see it. It is, like Jaws, one of the exemplars of “bad book = good movie.” "

The book isn't bad, I mean The Godfather


Sheila Jean | 325 comments Sheila Jean wrote: "Can't tell if I don't care for it, or if I'm just on a fantasy break ..."


I think the answer to the previous sentiments was a little of both. I finished this afternoon and read the last half of the book in essentially two sittings. I definitely felt the second half was more compelling, and personally I think I ended up liking the complexity and differences in the values and moral codes of the characters more than the plot itself.


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