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REVIEW: Jade War by Fonda Lee

After the events of Jade City, we enter our story with Kaul Sen having just died and his funeral occurring, and like in the epilogue of the previous book, Bero stealing Kaul Lan’s Jade from his grave because technically it’s his. The war between the clans has gone on for too long and because of outside forces, a war between Espenia and Ygutan over Shotaria, this forces the two clans to form a truce in order to help their country of Kekon get through this in one piece.

Anden is being sent to Espenia to learn and be an exchange student in the hopes of making him useful to the clan in the future considering he does not want to wear Jade whatsoever. Anden has a hard time fitting in at first but finds that there are some Kekonese people there which have formed their own clan within Espenia. He starts to feel at home within the walls of a club that the Kekonese-Espenians gather in. He sees a culture that is familiar to him whilst being in a country that is still not known very well to him. Meanwhile, after Doru betrayed Shae’s trust, she is out for blood and wants to find him. Knowing that he would most likely be hiding out in the Mountain Clan uses her cunning ways and finds out where he is. She kills him but feels like she might have been too merciful on him despite all that he did in betraying the clan.

Wen, Hilo’s wife, in the previous book became a spy for Shae and is doing very well at her job even though she is now pregnant. She uses her pregnancy as a reason why she is always going to the spa that borders the Mountain and No Peak clan and meets people there to gather intel. Wen, upon digging through some things, finds a letter from Eyni, Lan’s ex-wife revealing that she had a child. So Wen tells Hilo about this and he goes and retrieves the child but when things take a bad turn and Eyni says no to Hilo taking her son, she is killed and so the child comes back to Kekon with him to be raised as the next heir of the No Peak Clan.

The truce between the two clans start to break down when it is revealed that Shae used to ‘spy’ on the Kekonese for the Espenians whilst trying to be with her ex-boyfriend who she ended up moving there for. This information was of course leaked by the Mountain clan to get Shae’s reputation and integrity to be questioned. But Shae, annoyed as hell by this trick challenges Ayt Mada to a duel. The fight goes well for Shae but by the end she is tired and surrenders to Ayt Mada. In the fight, Shae manages to cut off Ayt’s ear, a symbol of penance in the country of Kekon and Ayt will not live this one down. Knowing that Shae might lose this battle, Hilo had a plan to take out everybody involved by dirtying his blade, something that is deeply forbidden within this duels but Shae does not agree with this. Ayt Mada knowing something might happen like that, allows Shae to live after she surrenders but states to her, I wish to watch your clan burn and you are going to watch it happen. Shae is pissed that they spread rumours about her but after this duel, it leaves her satisfied. This is also not the only plot to do with Shae going on at this time, she finds out that she is pregnant with her secret boyfriend’s, Maro, baby and so with the help of Wen, she goes to have an abortion but when her boyfriend finds out, he is pissed at her because he didn’t have a decision at all in this.

Hilo starts to hear rumours of a boy wearing Jade and telling people it’s Kaul Lan’s Jade. And so he goes to investigate but before he gets there, Bero’s partner in crime, Mudt, kills him and so Bero is not the one shouting this from the rooftops. Hilo kills Mudt believing him to be the one that killed Kaul Lan and somehow, Bero ultimately escapes death and survives his murder attempt by Mudt, but now he is jadeless and has to start over again. He joins the uprising against Hilo.

After a plot to kill Hilo ultimately ends in Kehn’s death, it is revealed that the Shotarians put Maro up to it as he was close to Shae. He has shotarian family and so the soldiers threatened them if he did not help them. Shae is heartbroken and ultimately has to kill him herself. If anybody else did it, they would not have been so merciful.

To help Anden out in Espenia, Hilo decides to give the Espenian gangsters access to Jade if they stay out of the way of the Kekonese-Espenians. But what Hilo does not know, the gangs are internally warring and this has just made it a whole lot worse. Wen and Anden whilst in Espenia corner the man responsible for the orders of the death of Kehn. But whilst there, they are taken and strangled by the Espenian gangsters that have now taken over control of the gangs. They luckily escape by the skin of their teeth and the Kekonese-Espenian Pillar promises to aid the No Peak clan but in doing so, Anden must break off his relationship with Cory, the pillars son. He does so to help the clan and heads back to Kekon. He decides that he will wear Jade again after he wore it to help Wen survive the ordeal, but he will only wear it for good, and not for killing thus making him become a Jade Doctor.

The war between the Espenians and the Ygutanians ultimately starts to dissipate when the mountain clan starts to take in refugees from Ygutan. This means that essentially the mountain clan one upped the No peak clan and the war between the two clans resumes when Ayt Mada and Shae meet in secret once again.

This book is full of twists and turns that ultimately make for a thrilling read that will make you want to just read it all over again. Fonda does an excellent job at writing this story and plot line as it is so intricately planned, as something that was only mentioned in passing in the previous book, is now picked up as a story line in this one. Truly remarkable. I cannot wait for the last book in the series!

4 out of 5 stars.


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