This post was entirely inspired by Kate @ Your Tita Kate’s post, The Books That Defined My decade. I never thought to even reflect on my decade, but after reading Kate’s post, I immediately wanted to do the same.
I have a terrible memory, so I don’t remember much from my childhood, which makes me feel like I didn’t genuinely exist until 2010. At the start of this decade, I was eleven years old, turning twelve that March and, at the time of writing this post, I am twenty-one, about to turn twenty-two this March. I went from primary school, secondary school, college and university all in this decade alone. And just thinking about that blows my mind. In some sense, it shouldn’t because it’s just time passing but, at the same time, that is a lot of significant milestones in my life. I went from a child to a young adult, and reading Kate’s post made me realise that’s not a small thing. Reading is a big part of my identity, especially during this decade is where I had more choice over the books I read. While Kate’s post is more about books published in each specific year, my list is naming the books that I read in that year that made the most significant impact on me. So not all of them were great reads, but I feel like they deserve some acknowledge from impacting me in some way.
I’m going off what years I’ve put in my Goodreads profile but I feel like I might be off by a year or so hence I’ve added some books here that I actually read in 2009.
Thief – Despite Malorie Blackman being of the UK’s most beloved children’s author, I never read her acclaimed series Noughts & Crosses. Instead of the books, I knew her by were Thief and Hacker. I think this part is due to the face we didn’t have her books in my primary school library. (Maybe we did, and it was always being borrowed?) But anyway, I found Thief by accident when someone had randomly left it lying around after Golden Time. (lol remember Golden Time?) Anyway, someone remind me actually to read Noughts & Crosses in this decade.
Theodore Boone – The early 2010s was before I joined proper social media, so my ability to find books were severely limited. I don’t even remember how I managed to find Theodore Boone because it wasn’t from my school library, nor did anyone buy it for me. But I loved this series a lot as a kid. I used to watch a lot of crime shows with my family, so reading a series set in a similar environment to all the shows I was watching, but with a protagonist my age blew my mind.
The Lighting Thief – Funnily enough, this was the last time I actually up a Rick Riordan book before picking up the second one in 2019. I really loved The Lightning Thief, but my school library didn’t have the rest of the series so sadly, and with my fish brain that forgets everything every five seconds, I never got around to finishing this series. I tried continuing the series, but life got in the way. I really hope to get back to this series soon.
In Jade War, the sequel to the World Fantasy Award-winning novel Jade City, the Kaul siblings battle rival clans for honor and control over an Asia-inspired fantasy metropolis.
On the island of Kekon, the Kaul family is locked in a violent feud for control of the capital city and the supply of magical jade that endows trained Green Bone warriors with supernatural powers they alone have possessed for hundreds of years.
Beyond Kekon’s borders, war is brewing. Powerful foreign governments and mercenary criminal kingpins alike turn their eyes on the island nation. Jade, Kekon’s most prized resource, could make them rich – or give them the edge they’d need to topple their rivals.
Faced with threats on all sides, the Kaul family is forced to form new and dangerous alliances, confront enemies in the darkest streets and the tallest office towers, and put honor aside in order to do whatever it takes to ensure their own survival – and that of all the Green Bones of Kekon.
The universe was clearly working in my favour when I was given the honour of participating in the Jade War blog tour organised by Shealea @ Caffeine Book Tours.
Of course, the biggest thank you to Shealea for hosting this mammoth of a blog tour and working alongside Fonda Lee and her publishing team to give us all physical copies to review! The participants of this tour are all wonderful and extremely talented and I can’t wait to see what everyone’s thoughts are on this brilliant gem of a book! Check out my review and playlist!
Rating: ★★★★★ (5/5)
*I received a finished copy via Caffeine Book Tours in return for an honest review. This in no way affected my opinion of the book.*
We return to the city of Janloon, where the Mountain and No
Peak clans have seemingly announced a public truce. But secretly the leaders of
their respective clan continue to fight for control of their nation Kekon, home
to the only source of jade, a magical energy source which strengthens its
users. With the rise of jade smugglers, the Kaul family must work together to
if they wish to bring down Ayt Mada while also squashing rising tensions within
Kekon and its neighbouring countries.
My first thoughts after finishing Jade War weren’t even something I could describe. An incoherent stream of yelling seems rather fitting. The sheer joy I experienced from reading this novel is something that can’t be easily replicated.
I can’t decide what makes this series so exhilarating. It’s smart, action-filled with an intricate plot that doesn’t let you down. It truly has the perfect blend of brilliant worldbuilding and damn near perfect characters that reside within it. Everything felt so vivid and realistic and, more importantly, believable. The attention to detail is spot on, and nothing is forgettable. Jade War takes us out of Kekon and really delves deeper into the other countries. Usually, I would lean towards one or the other, worldbuilding or characters, but the Green Bone saga really hits the mark on everything.
Like in Jade City, there are many alternate perspectives, but the core ones remain the members of the Kaul family. And Lee solidifies her cast of characters that are immensely complex and ridiculously compelling.
Hilo was the game changer for me. There is so much growth
and development with him that he has become one of my favourite male characters.
His initial dangerous demeanour can be dissuading, but he is so protective of
his loved ones that he has no choice but to act out to protect them. He is one
of the series’ best characters.
Shae really stood out the most for me, personally, and her
character truly grabbed my heart and was clearly unwilling to let go. Her role
as Weather Man continues to be undermined daily, and she’s trying her hardest
to prove to everyone she can her job, and not letting her personal life, which introduces
a romantic relationship, conflict with her duty to the clan. Wen, now wife to
Hilo, really makes her mark in Jade War.
Hilo naturally fears for her since she’s resistant to jade, making her an
easier target. But she refuses to let anyone stop her from helping her clan,
her family. Her compassion and strength really amazed me. Wen and Shae,
especially, are unstoppable and when they work together, shit gets done.
Anden is genuinely my favourite character in the series. In Jade War, he embarks on a new life, jade-free, on his cousin’s order, and even then, he can never truly escape the green life he was born into. What I loved, especially about Anden’s arc is that it brought to life the land beyond Kekon. And Anden he comes as a stranger and slowly learns that there’s a way to living green that is entirely different from the way he was brought up. The rules are stricter in different ways. Everything is on a different playing field when living jade-less, making it quite different from his own upbringing where Jade was crucial to your identity. And despite his promises to his family to keep a low-profile, he still manages to find trouble.
Family is such a core theme, and the circumstances the characters
face put them under all sorts of pressure. Whether it be tradition, duty, honour
or personal feelings, they return to each other because that’s what they’re
fighting for. Stories that focus on familial love is what I love the most, and this
series has, hands down, one of the best fictional families ever.
I realise I haven’t touched on this on my previous review of Jade City, but the fight scenes deserve a more extended discussion of its own. It truly comes to life and takes your breath away. The fight scenes are so brutal that I wasn’t sure if I would survive what would happen next. Having a story this ambitious and complex is not an easy feat, and Lee is incredible to have created a story so intense and satisfying.
I was already head over heels obsessed with the Green Bone world, but Jade War just confirmed every feeling I had from Jade City wasn’t a fluke or a one-off. Jade City glittered with a promise of something bigger, and Jade War delivered that with a big bang. I have zero ideas of what will happen next, but I do know that is the clan is my blood, and the Pillar is its master. Fonda Lee deserves every word of praise and accolade she gets from this series, this series deserves it all and more.
Fonda Lee writes science fiction and fantasy for adults and teens. She is the author of the Green Bone Saga, beginning with Jade City (Orbit), which won the 2018 World Fantasy Award for Best Novel, was nominated for the Nebula Award and the Locus Award, and was named a Best Book of 2017 by NPR, Barnes & Noble, Syfy Wire, and others. The second book in the Green Bone Saga, Jade War, releases in the summer of 2019. Fonda’s young adult science fiction novels Zeroboxer (Flux), Exo and Cross Fire (Scholastic), have garnered numerous accolades including being named Junior Library Guild Selection, Andre Norton Award finalist, Oregon Book Award finalist, Oregon Spirit Book Award winner, and YALSA Top Ten Quick Pick for Reluctant Young Adult Readers. In 2018, Fonda gained the distinction of winning the Aurora Award, Canada’s national science fiction and fantasy award, twice in the same year for Best Novel and Best Young Adult Novel.
Fonda wrote her first novel, about a dragon on a quest for a magic pendant, in fifth grade during the long bus ride to and from school each day. Many years later, she cast her high school classmates as characters in her second novel, a pulpy superhero saga co-written with a friend by passing a graphing calculator back and forth during biology class. Fortunately, both of these experiments are lost to the world forever.
Fonda is a former corporate strategist who has worked for or advised a number of Fortune 500 companies. She holds black belts in karate and kung fu, goes mad for smart action movies (think The Matrix, Inception, and Minority Report) and is an Eggs Benedict enthusiast. Born and raised in Calgary, Canada, she currently resides in Portland, Oregon.
A feature section to highlight my favourite posts from my fellow bloggers that were posted this month.
63 Prompts to Help You Write That Book Review! – Even though I’ve been blogging for a couple of years now, I always struggle to write a review. Some days I can’t force the words out of me and I can’t seem to say what I want about the read I’ve read. The lovely bloggers over at The Quiet Pond have made a huge post with prompts to help get the words rolling. I’ve used this while writing two reviews and I’ve seen the immense boost it has given. I found myself writing a lot more and thinking more deeply about my review in places that I would’ve otherwise missed.
There Are No Small Parts in Jeanie Finlay’s ‘The Last Watch’ – A post that reflects on the final season of GOT. Despite whatever thoughts you have about the writing, getting to see the heart of the production was why I particularly loved The Last Watch documentary so much. Daisy, an old school friend who studied film, really summarises her the documentary really well!
That’s it for this month! Tell me what went on in YOUR life this month! What sort of things was important for you this month? New obsessions? New TV shows? Or book? Any new song recs (I’m always open to new music!)? Best books you read this month?
It’s that time again where everyone
in the book blogging community do their annual check in to see their reading
progress. As of the end of June, I have read 51 books so far this year. I never
really got into doing this the past years because I never really had time to
reflect on my reading choices until the end of the year. But I’ve really enjoyed
the books I’ve read this year.
I’m not sure if these are the correct questions since I can’t seem to find the original post but I had taken these from Saajid’s video. I also removed fictional crush because it just wasn’t applicable so without further ado, I present my Mid-Year Freak Out Book Tag!
Best book you’ve read so far in 2019.
I’m saying it now, I don’t think any book I read this year will beat Jade City. This book is my everything and I love it so much. I wrote a short review not long ago but honestly I don’t think that it gave it justice.
Best sequel you’ve read so far in 2019.
…. Jade War.
Don’t be surprised by the amount of times I will mention the Green Bone saga. I came to read Jade City by chance after receiving an email to join the blog tour for Jade War. So I delve into the first book and already knew I had to join the blog tour. I actually wasn’t expecting to be accepted but I’m so grateful to Shealea @ Caffeine Book Tours for choosing me. I’m holding off my thoughts for the blog tour but yes, the sequel raises the stakes and had me emotionally drained.
New release you haven’t read yet but want to
I bought a copy months ago and it’s still sitting on my shelf. I really like zombie apocalypse stories in any form of media so I definitely need to get around and read this.
I’m more disappointed in the fact it took me this long to discover JadeCity. This book has been in the world since 2017, and I’m only reading it now. Jade City is everything I’ve ever wanted in a book and more.
Set in the island
of Kekon, a land stuck in a dangerous territory war between the No Peak Clan
and The Mountain Clan, the Kauls of No Peak fight for control of their capital
and the growing jade market. More than a green stone, Jade holds bioenergetic
power that amplifies its users, and the two clans are fuelled by its power for
control of Kekon.
Jade City is a masterpiece. Never have I found
myself so captivated by a book that still lingered with me days after I had
read it. The worldbuilding is on another level, and Fonda Lee has created such
a vibrant and detailed world. I did find the beginning a little dense, but once
you’ve settled into the world, you’re thrown straight into, and I loved it. The
history of Kekon is vast and rich, you can see the level of detail that has gone
into creating this world. The rank system based on Jade, the history of the world
beyond Kekon and the inner workings of the diversity of lifestyle on the
island. You can truly feel this world come to life as you read.
One of the
book’s more stronger aspects is its characters. I truly loved how well thought
out all their goals and struggles were. Even those you aren’t supposed to root
for have a little piece of my respect. While the book follows multiple POVs,
the main three were the Kaul siblings: Lau, Hilo and Shae. Lau, the new head of
No Peak, struggles to garner the same respect his grandfather once had and living
in the shadow of his late war father. Hilo is rash and impulsive and finds
himself stepping into a role he was never meant to take. Shae returns to the island
of Kekon and has no choice but to return to her old life as a Green Bone, after
renouncing her role years before. Other characters I really enjoyed were Bero,
a petty thief with a much more significant role, and the Kaul’s younger cousin,
Anden, who was adopted into the family and struggles to come to term with his
future as a fighter. There’s so much more I could talk about, but this book
really balances the detailed world with complex characters quite perfectly.
Overall, Jade City will be one book I’ll
recommend forever. The nature of the ending tells us the new clan war is far
from being over. I’m so excited and interested to see what Lee will give us in
its sequel. From the writing, execution, characters and sheer depth of the
world inside, this series is on track to become one of my favourite series