Finally, we’ve reached the end.
And oh what an awesome journey it has been!
For those just arriving on the scene, I reviewed Jade City back in August (spoiler it was great!), and then Jade War much later in November (also loved it).
By the release of Jade Legacy on November 30th, 2021, I was so excited to get a copy, that I was pretty much squirming around my apartment, hoping to hear that the library had made my hold available.
It was still several days, maybe even a week until I was able to finally pick up the book and then almost a MONTH (twitter says December 22nd) until I started reading it.
But I was not disappointed at all when I finally did sink my teeth into this amazing final volume in The Green Bone Saga.
In a lot of ways, this book is more of the same excellent story that we loved while reading both Jade City and Jade War. But in many ways it’s quite different.
The detailed and miraculous world we are introduced to in JC and JW — a Kung Fu meets The Godfather esque city controlled by clans who use jade powered magic abilities to further legitimate and illegitimate business, personal, and family agendas — is expanded tenfold in Jade Legacy, reaching far across the Amaric Ocean into new territories with devastating consequences.
But the heart of the story (and greenbone culture) is still in Kekon and it was amazing to see how it’s history, mythos, and backstory was expanded, and how that contrasts with what the nation has become, and how it’s people deal with the legacy (ohhh lol) they’ve been given.
And of course, how they will shape that legacy themselves.
I’ve heard a few negative comments about the Jade Legacy’s scope, specifically as it relates to the timeline in the novel. Unlike JC and JW, which take place in relatively short amounts of time (a year or maybe several), Jade Legacy‘s story plays out over two decades, sometimes with only a few moments in between chapters, sometimes months, and sometimes years.
I’ll admit, this aspect was a little jarring at first, but easy to get used to, and (IMHO) completely necessary to be able to tell the kind of story which Jade Legacy needed to tell . . . one of tragedy and ultimately evolution.
I mentioned that Jade Legacy’s world expanded, but so did the nuance of it’s characters. It was fascinating to watch them grapple with the changing perception of Greenbone culture, and how they themselves changed (or didn’t) in light of the new world which does not wait for them to shape its mores, and constantly threatens to leave them behind.
Of course, there is a fair bit of tragedy in Jade Legacy. Honestly, the hits just keep coming, and many things did not go as I expected, while a few did, but were no less shocking or impactful for being predictable.
Finally, I’ll say that this book truly felt like an ending. It’s easy (I think) to leave the last book on a cliff-hanger, to hint that their could always be a fourth, or maybe a fifth book, but ultimately (unless more is written) I’ve found these types of endings unsatisfying. Jade Legacy does not do this. It takes painstaking effort to make sure that every little thread that’s been woven in the last two books and more gets resolved, whether the stakes be large and world-changing in scope, or small and individual. Even characters which seem secondary, get endings in this book, and while that certainly contributed to Jade Legacy‘s massive word count, it ultimately felt right and satisfying (it certainly was never boring).
So . . . Read it?
Yes! Go read it now! Then comment here on this blog with what shocked you the most! Keep this book alive. Ultimately, I’m a bit sad that the story is over. I’ve spent so much time with the green bones (though not the six years that the series took to write woah) and so naturally it’s a little hard to think the story is over, but ultimately I’m glad that it is.
Also, I haven’t titled this as one of my “should __insert book title__ get a Hugo?” style Hugo posts, but if you are nominating for 2022 Hugo Awards in March, I think Jade Legacy should go on your list for best novel, and certainly The Greenbone saga for best series. Definitely one of the best series I’ve read this year, and somehow, Fonda Lee has never been nominated for a Hugo yet.
This is the book to change that . . . let’s change that!
Anyway, thanks all! Have you finished this book? Or any of the greenbone saga? Let me know your thoughts.
See you next time!