**** - Jade, Fire, Gold
JADE, FIRE, GOLD
JUNE CL TAN
Her destiny. His revenge.
In an empire on the brink of war . . .
Ahn is no one, with no past and no family.
Altan is a lost heir, his future stolen away as a child.
When they meet, Altan sees in Ahn a path to reclaiming the throne. Ahn sees a way to finally unlock her past and understand her lethal magical abilities.
But they may have to pay a far deadlier price than either could have imagined.
MY REVIEW ****
I always enjoy dipping into a fantasy book although it isn't something I do as often as I would like due to feeling slightly apprehensive about starting an ARC for a series and knowing the next installments might be years away. Jade, Fire, Gold stood out to me though and I'm glad I decided to give it a go.
In some ways the story is a little generic - a lower-class girl stealing to survive finds out she has an ancient lost power and gets thrust into the world of politics and war. I could certainly see a lot of influences of other fantasy stories such as Shadow and Bone and even Lord of the Rings in places and there's nothing particularly original here. I liked the idea of magic vs religion where both have pretty much the same powers and the Priests are using their authority to cast the other side into exile. I would have liked a little more exploration into the magic system - even Ahn's Lifestealing magic wasn't really explained very well.
I liked that the story is split into two perspectives - we get a few chapters from Ahn alternating with chapters from lost heir Altan which kept the story well-paced and interesting. For a debut novel the writing was really engaging and the story flowed well. The formatting of my Kindle ARC wasn't great though - with a picture between each chapter which took up about 4 pages and interrupted my reading experience - hopefully this will be fixed for publication. I was also a little sad that I didn't really feel anything for either of the characters or their chemistry with each other. They were both a little wooden and I wasn't really believing or routing for the relationship. I kept waiting for the reveal that she was his long-lost sister as well which made the romance aspect a bit jarring in the beginning.
The story itself could easily be a stand-alone book, however the ending did leave events open to a new storyline which is much nicer than a massive cliff-hanger! Although the plot had a lot of build-up the end seemed very rushed and it all got a little confusing with me thinking I had missed a few chapters! I was content with the ending though and it could just be left without a follow-up if needed.
Overall, Jade, Fire, Gold is a slightly generic fantasy story with wooden main characters but it's an engaging read and has some interesting ideas which I hope are explored further in future books. Thank you to NetGalley & Hodder & Stoughton for the chance to read the ARC in exchange for an honest review.
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