Jade City was unlike any book I’ve ever read; however, it wasn’t really for me. I honestly considered DNFing it 50 pages in, but I’m glad I stuck with it!
Jade City is described as a high fantasy, and that’s not entirely true. Sure, the world is a fantasy world, based on Japan, but the use of jade, which grants the Kekonese people superhero-like powers, is really the only fantasy element. The rest of the book has a gritty, almost noir feel. The best way to describe this book is The Godfather mixed with martial arts movies.
The writing style is cool, almost business-like, but it flows well. The worldbuilding is intense, and this book as a whole is very dense, so much so that it sometimes felt like a chore to read it. That being said, I did really enjoy certain parts of this book, and Lee is clearly a master worldbuilder.
My main critique is that I never became super invested in the characters. I enjoyed reading Shae and Anden’s perspectives the most, yet they never really shone on the page. The third person POV was too distant, and it didn’t help that each chapter was from the perspective of a new character, and there were a myriad of characters in this book.
If you’re specifically looking for a book that’s majority fueding mobsters, with a small dash of fantasy and political intrigue, then go for it. But unfortunately, it wasn’t my kind of read.
VERDICT: ⭐⭐.5 /5