JADE LEGACY by Fonda Lee
Orbit, paperback, £9.99
Reviewed by Stephen Frame
Jade Legacy is the third and final book of Fonda Lee’s Green Bone saga. If you’ve read Jade City and Jade War, chances are you’ll want to read Jade Legacy, and if you enjoyed the first two books, this one will not disappoint.
It continues the story of the Kaul clan, the big difference with this final book is that it is greater in span than the earlier two, taking place over a quarter of a century, so where it lacks the immediacy of the first book, it makes up for by feeling far more of an epic saga. It’s a big, sprawling book, topping out at just over 700 pages, giving plenty of space for the author to chase down and tie off the numerous plot threads from the first two instalments while at the same time ushering in the next generation of the Kaul clan into adulthood.
This is perhaps something which will divide readers. Those who enjoy the detailed world-building the author brings to the page (such as the cataloguing of the make and models of the fictitious cars the characters drive) will find an awful lot to immerse themselves in. On the other hand, the amount of unnecessary detail and the broad span of the story leaves the main characters feeling distant from the reader. There are times when it feels like reading a history that is interesting but not particularly emotionally engaging. There are other points when the narrative drive dwindles to a meander. Fortunately, there are enough moments of drama and twists in the plot to counter the slower sections. Much more so than the second book, which felt very much like 600 pages of “a day in the life of …”
All the characters from the previous books reappear (the ones who survived, that is). More character development would have been welcome, especially as we’re seeing the main players growing older in this book, but the whole series has more the feel of an action-adventure story rather than a crime saga, so perhaps it’s a forgivable sin.