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Cup of Crow Book Review: Jade Legacy (The Green Bone Saga, 3)

Fonda Lee’s Lasting Legacy

By the time I hit page five-hundred of the seven-hundred-plus page epic that is Fonda Lee’s remarkable finale, Jade Legacy, I was emotionally worn out. With so

much left to go in the book, I was afraid to fire up my Kindle and hit the screen to change the words, with each pixel shift being as much a horror inducing flip as it was a humorous, or romantic, or dramatic, or tragic unpacking of the lives for which I’ve invested so much of the first quarter of my 2022’s free time.

That is the testament of Jade Legacy as a remarkable triumph, the push and the pull, the anxiety, and the relief.

Subverting expectations is what every author would like to do at some point in their work and it has been years since I have felt a structural payoff like what I found in book three. Lee’s greatest strength in her trilogy is her masterful use of balance–balance with growth and loss, with decisions in the past and present; with characters holding on to secrets and lies and outwardly communicating visions of the future; and with asking for trust from the reader and then straining that trust with violence.

Jade Legacy, is not for readers who like to feel safe and have a weekend comfort read – it is much closer to the feeling of the emerging grim-dark sub-genre in fantasy, where if you blink you will miss the subtlety of why your current favorite character met tragedy. Like others in the fantasy-violence space such as Martin, Abercrombie, and Gwynn, Fonda Lee successfully juggles her very breathable and hospitable world with her best thematic muscle – a constant sense of suspense and anxiety.

If you have made it to book three, your time is very well rewarded. Down to the last thirty pages, I did not know how it was all going to end, and to the very last minutes, I was thrilled.

Some fuss has been made about how Lee manages time and events in Jade

Legacy, especially compared to the structure of the first two novels. Without giving too much away, I would highly recommend you continue to trust what Lee is doing with concluding her arc, and as a reader of some long (some far too long) fantasy series, I wonder if her intention was through economy of scenes and respecting our time with her characters. I am sure there were many more events that Lee wanted to show us with Hilo, Niko, Shae, and even Bero, but while reflecting on my experience with the finale of the Green Bone Saga, all that comes to mind are the words, “thank you, Fonda.”

Not a plot was missed, not an emotion was left un-wrung, not a moment wasted. I learned and emoted and my time was well spent in your care. Thank you.

Jade Legacy is a masterpiece of fiction and urban fantasy and is well-deserving of 5/5 stars.


Cup of Crow is a monthly book review installment from The Author Website.

Michael Crow is an avid fantasy reader, runner, and coffee addict. You can check out his reviews @TheAuthorWebsite and follow him on GoodReads to see what he's reading.


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