Title: Jade Fire Gold
Author: June C.L. Tan
Release Date: October 12th 2021
TW: self-harm, child abuse
- Ahn – Ahn has spent her life trying not to want more than she has. Abandoned as a child, Ahn has no memory of her parents, of what her life was like before Grandma Jia found her and took her in. Everyday has been a struggle to survive. Ahn is also harboring a secret that could get her and the people she loves killed. During the course of Jade Fire Gold, Ahn has to contend with all the voices inside her. Her magic feels reckless and uncontrollable, but it also makes her feel powerful. And power is so very enticing for someone who has lived such a powerless life.
- Altan – Altan’s journey has been defined by revenge for so long, it’s difficult for him to see any other path for himself. He lost everything he loved years ago and for him, taking his throne back and killing those responsible for his family’s death is the only option for him. Altan is willing to go to extreme means to take down the usurpers of his throne, but his anger often blinds him to what is right in front of him.
- Magical system and politics – I really loved the elemental magic in the novel especially how it intertwined with the politics of this world. Though magic has been banned in the Empire, there are a certain sect of priests who are still allowed to practice. They play a vital role in who holds power in the Empire. It was also interesting delving into the politics of history, how truth gets buried when those in power want to erase the past.
- Time jumps – One of my major issues with the novel is the time jumps. I feel like as a reader we miss out on so much because of this. Ahn in particular goes through a lot of changes as she goes from living in poverty to living in a palace. But those changes feel very abrupt with a time jump and I really wanted to see things slow down, especially when Ahn begins to develop new relationships that I, as a reader, am supposed to feel invested in as various other storylines come to fruition.
- Minor Character development – Jade Fire Gold has so many interesting minor characters, but we never really get to know any of them. I was really disappointed that we didn’t spend more time with Tai Shun, the current prince and Altan’s cousin.
- Romance – I wish I could say I enjoyed the romance in this novel, but most of the time I felt that it got in the way of both Ahn and Altan’s individual development. In the end, I think the book would have been better without it.
June CL Tan’s Jade Fire Gold has incredibly epic action scenes, but I couldn’t help but want more in terms of character and relationship development.
★ ★ ★