I don’t even know where to begin with this one. When one of your favorite series of all time ends, and you cry just within the last hour of reading three times, you end up feeling hollow. Jade Legacy has to be my favorite of the three. It’s epic from start to finish and felt so right. Keep reading this book review for my full thoughts.
Jade, the mysterious and magical substance once exclusive to the Green Bone warriors of Kekon, is now coveted throughout the world. Everyone wants access to the supernatural abilities it provides, from traditional forces such as governments, mercenaries, and criminal kingpins, to modern players, including doctors, athletes, and movie studios. As the struggle over the control of jade grows ever larger and more deadly, the Kaul family, and the ancient ways of the Kekonese Green Bones, will never be the same.
Battered by war and tragedy, the Kauls are plagued by resentments and old wounds as their adversaries are on the ascent and their country is riven by dangerous factions and foreign interference. The clan must discern allies from enemies, set aside bloody rivalries, and make terrible sacrifices… but even the unbreakable bonds of blood and loyalty may not be enough to ensure the survival of the Green Bone clans and the nation they are sworn to protect.
(Disclaimer: I received this book from the publisher. This has not impacted my review which is unbiased and honest.)
Jade Legacy is epic in every sense of the world. The Kauls are due for a reckoning. For all their past betrayals and choices to catch up to them. The times we’ve said we forgive someone, for decisions we can’t accept, but the cost of that choice every day since. When we wonder if we are bound by our own flaws faced with a war on all fronts. Fonda Lee wreaked emotional destruction on my heart with Jade Legacy. I knew it would be a masterful story, but nonetheless I’m still impressed with the scale, story, and the emotions.
My love for Jade Legacy comes down to two factors: the way that Fonda Lee is able to manipulate our hearts with endearing and flawed characters, and the expansive action that questions whether their world has evolved without them. Is it possible that Kekon, that the Kauls, that the world has moved past jade? We are so used to it being more than power, for it forming the backbone of society, of honor, and family. But as the world continues to crack open, how does this perception of jade and our places in the world change?
How can the Kauls fight not only the Mountain, but adapt or resist the tides of change? To navigate the way other countries see jade and wonder whether our traditions, our values, are flexible enough to withstand. Another piece of this theme is Lee’s examination of the ways our decisions, specifically our OG fave’s (Shae, Hilo, and Anden) choices have filtered down to the next generations. Not only our choices or circumstances, but our expectations, trauma, and experiences.The ripple effects of our actions as they spread between books and through cracks in sentences.
But besides this almost universal question about change in society, the characters wrung every emotion out of my heart. Jade Legacy broke my heart multiple times. And sometimes Fonda Lee put it back together and sometimes I needed to cry it out. I had a premonition that I would need tissues from the very beginning and I was right. Jade Legacy is a finale that builds upon the rich and gritty world Fonda Lee has established. Even more than that, it builds on the characters we have come to love. The ones who we have witnessed fall in love.
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All the times they’ve had their hears broken, forced to pick up the pieces, and evolve into something they never expected. Jade Legacy is as emotional as you may be expecting and more. Upon finishing, I feel hollowed out. That feeling when a series that has seen you through up and downs, that you’ve grown with, is over. But even now, I’d re-read it all again, because it has to be one of my favorite books of 2021. It should be straightforward to tell you that if you enjoyed Jade War, you need to read Jade Legacy. But if you aren’t sure yet, this series finale is a perfect resolution to one of the most complex and heart wrenching stories.