Hi Mixed Mag! I’m Capri Huffman, a new contributor. I run a book-themed Instagram (@sobstorybooks) with my friend Gabby, reviewing and promoting books by LGBTQ and BIPOC authors. My goal with my new book review series here at Mixed Mag is the same: to help great books by marginalized authors find the audiences they deserve! I follow new releases from all genres, from YA to literary fiction to poetry, so I’m sure together we’ll find some great titles to suit any taste. So without further ado, let’s get started!
Jade Legacy Review: Fonda Lee is a freaking genius
Fantasy fans, hold on to your hats. Y’all are not ready for this one.
Jade Legacy is the masterful conclusion to Fonda Lee’s Green Bone Saga, a thrilling, intricate and heart-wrenching high fantasy/organized crime trilogy set in the pseudo-Chinese city of Janloon. In the dangerously divided and rapidly modernizing capital of the island of Kekon, everyone respects jade for the superhuman powers it gives its wearers, the Green Bone clans — but not everyone respects the costs. Foreigners around the world want Kekonese jade for themselves, and in the midst of the clan war between the Khals of No Peak and Ayt Mada of the Mountain, there’s no telling the lengths the power players will go to survive and achieve their visions of the future. Be warned: this series is not for the faint of heart. Prepare to throw your moral code out the window, because these characters are steeped in brutality, gore, and tragedy. (Lee clearly comes from the George R.R. Martin school of happy endings.)
I thought I was impressed after the second installment, Jade War, but Lee ascends to new heights in this one. The writing continues to be immersive, the plotting tight and ingenious, not a single word wasted. At the same time, the worldbuilding is incredibly detailed, convincing yet woven in with great subtlety: I’m amazed at how seamlessly Lee moves from the almost premodern setting of Jade City to what feels like the twenty-first century. Throughout the series, Lee explores questions of race, prejudice, and colonialism, especially through the gay and mixed-race Kekonese and White main character Anden. But I am perhaps most impressed by the handling of character: my beloved Khals of No Peak, as well as their enemy Ayt Mada of the Mountain, are joined by the next generation of the clans, who are given just as much personality and depth as their predecessors. Of course, the ending is pitch-perfect for the series, beautifully tying together character arcs, plot threads, and themes of foreign relations, violence, and family legacy. I’m trying to come up with more descriptors, but I just keep landing on ‘incredible’. Go read this book.
Where to get it? Here are some great options if you want to support independent booksellers:
- A Room of One’s Own (Trans and Queer Owned) Ships throughout the US
- Black Garnet Books (Black, woman-owned) Ships throughout the US
- Solid State Books (Black-owned) Ships throughout the US
- BetterWorldBooks — Secondhand and new books; Free shipping worldwide!
- Book Depository — Secondhand and new books; Free shipping worldwide!
Capri Huffman is a mixed-race (Chinese-Malaysian and White) writer and book lover from Colorado, currently in her third year studying a Bachelor of Arts and Sciences at University College London. She is half of the book-themed Instagram @sobstorybooks. Her work has been published in Middleground Magazine and Phi Magazine.