Jade City by Fonda Lee

The Big Peat

Darth Buddha
Joined
Apr 9, 2016
Messages
3,685
Hrrrrm.

I first resolved to read this after reading an article by Fonda Lee talking about writing the book. I liked her process, I loved her ideas. Do I want to read a wuxia-themed take on the Godfather? Do you have to ask that question? Does anyone not want to?

For the most part, Lee delivers. The tone is very good - uneasy compromise and conflicted loyalty is the rule of the day, with a counterpoint of occasional bouts of ferocious single-mindedness. The characters are well defined and have enough depth to avoid being stereotypes alone. The action is well written - some excellent - the prose lucid...

If there is a weakness, it is the plot. Arguably that's largely a matter of there being too much for the pages. There's four major arcs and another minor if important one, plus a lot of world to explain. Readers who don't like unvarnished exposition might not enjoy this book.

But I feel more critically there is an issue in that none of the other characters' dilemmas really grip. A fork in the road appears, the character dithers, then events force their hand. They don't really attempt to hold onto any interest in the other path. As a result, the story and characters don't quite engage for me.

How much that's personal taste and how much that's good objective judgment though I struggle to say. And pretty much everything else is right, particularly some of the fight scenes. Anyone looking for a criminal, modern or Chinese flavouring for their fantasy should look into this book. I'm glad Fonda Lee took the time needed to bring Jade City to this state.
 

Similar threads


Back
Top