I don’t usually review novels on this blog.
Although I do read a lot, I tend to stick to reviewing movies and shows, mostly anime and manga these days.
Yet, the instant I finished The Green Bone Saga by Fonda Lee, I just knew I had to talk about it.
Consisting of a trilogy of books, Jade City, Jade War, and Jade Legacy, the most basic way I could describe The Green Bone Saga is fantasy’s answer to The God Father.
The story is set in an alternate version of Earth, on the island of Kekon, the only place in this world where the mineral resource of Jade is mined.
Jade can only be wielded safely by the Kekonese population and it gives them superhuman abilities, which are divided into six disciplines, Strength, Steel, Lightness, Channeling, Deflection and Perception.
Control of Jade is overseen by the various clans of Kekon, with the clans of No Peak and the Mountain being the most powerful.
However, with tensions between these two main clans rising, and foreign powers creating drugs which allow non-Kekonese people to wear Jade, Kekon seems set to fall into open clan war.
The novels follow four siblings in the Kaul family, the leaders of the No Peak Clan.
There is Lan, the Pillar of No Peak, who is a much more lenient man than one would expect of a clan leader.
His brother is Hilo, the hot-headed Horn of No Peak, who is an expert at gaining the loyalty of others, while also being fiercely loyal to those he cares for and trusts.
Their sister is Shae, who has only just returned to Kekon and is reluctant to get involved in clain affairs again.
Finally, there is Anden, the Kaul’s adopted sibling and an up and coming Jade prodigy, who is understandably terrified of his power, given his traumatic family history.
Each of these four main characters are fantastic, and many of them change so much over the course of the story, which spans decades.
Of course, just because they are so likeable does not mean they are good people.
This is pretty much a mafia story, after all, and many of the characters make very morally grey decisions.
This is most apparent in Jade War, where one character commits such a horrifying act that it lead to me audibly declaring them to be a monster.
But what made the choice that character made so good is that, despite me being disgusted with them, their justifications for what they had done made complete sense with their character.
There are moments like this with the Kauls across all three books, yet it is not just them because there are plenty of other fantastic morally grey characters.
There are the Maik siblings of Wen, Kehn and Tar, the ambitious and always pathetic Bero, the Mountain assassin Nau Suenzen, and, of course, the leader of the Mountain, Ayt Mada.
Ayt Mada in particular is one of my favourite characters as, despite not having any POV chapters, I still completley understood how she became so ruthless and why she believes she needs to be so.
She made for an excellent antagonist among a cast of fantastic characters.
Of course, fantastic characters in a mafia story makes reading The Green Bone Saga all the more nerve wracking because that is not exactly a safe environment and characters do die, many shockingly, as the stakes rise with every book.
Along with the stakes rising every book so does the quality, with my ranking of the books from weakest to best going Jade City, Jade War and Jade Legacy at number one.
Jade City is a great start to this story, introducing the fantastic cast of characters well and delivering great fight sequences when the times comes for those.
Jade War expands on the first book’s focus, exploring the world outside Kekon, while making it clearer than ever that many of the characters we are following are not good people.
Finally, Jade Legacy lives up to its name, focusing on the legacy of the characters as decades pass, resulting in a fitting ending that had me tearing up as well as chuckling.
Overall, The Green Bone Saga is a brilliant trilogy with brilliant characters, and is already among my favourite novel series of all time.
Upon finishing, I immediately thought that this story was deserving of an adaptation, however was disappointed to discover that one had been greenlit, only for it to be cancelled.
I hope the adaptation gets picked up again because, if done right, I could easily see The Green Bone Saga being a highly celebrated show for years to come.
I will just have to keep my fingers crossed that it gets adapted eventually, I suppose.
Fonda Lee has crafted an excellent story, which I am going to remember for a long time.
I cannot recommend The Green Bone Saga enough.
The Green Bone Saga Review: Fantasy’s Answer to the God Father.
I don’t usually review novels on this blog.