Jade War takes us back to the warring clans of Kekon, presenting a compelling continuation of the shocking events of Jade City.
This second addition to the series doubles down on the intrigue and political maneuvering of the remaining members of the Kaul family, introducing us to new conflicts that threaten their hold on the island. There’s never a dull moment in Lee’s masterful world.
I was most impressed with the focus on politics and the tense negotiations necessary to keep a crime empire running smoothly. While the first book featured plenty of politics, it felt more like we were getting to know the characters. Now that we’ve come to know the siblings well, we get to see them flex their muscles in any number of business deals, back alley conversations with government officials, and extremely public duels that almost derail their entire empire. It’s a sign of an expert writer when a dense political conversation is equally entertaining to an all out battle.
We also get a broader glimpse of the world in which Kekon operates. With Anden living in a different country, we see how unique the culture of Kekon is. Whereas the clans rule the island with both an iron fist and a deep sense of honor, the rest of the world is more focused on macroeconomics and land grabs. These other countries don’t seem to have the storied history of this fascinating land, adding gravitas to Kekon’s past.
From a character perspective, the siblings and their cousin continue to fascinate. One struggles to keep hold of the family empire, the other struggles to keep out of the talons of the formidable leader of their rival clan. There are constant obstacles along the way to power, played out to great effect throughout.
Overall, Jade War continues the expert story that began with Jade City. We get to know the characters deeper, experience the struggles and conflicts of an ever expanding global economy, and marvel at the magic of jade. It’s a thrilling ride filled with twists and turns, and shouldn’t be missed.
By Fonda Lee
Published by Orbit
I was provided a free copy of this book via NetGalley in exchange for my honest, unbiased review.