Jade City v Life & Death

Book: Jade City
Author: Fonda Lee
Publisher: Orbit
Published: 2019

Pretty much every review I’ve seen of this book has been almost manic in its praise. Perversely this level of hype tends to make me more apprehensive about trying out a book. Also, judging from the blurb JC wasn’t on the face of it a book that sat in my fantasy comfort zone (I.e. books I have no doubt I will like whether they are brilliantly written or not). If it wasn’t for the fact I found a perfect beer to go with it I might not have picked it up for ages.

All that is preamble to me saying I should have read this book years earlier. It’s brilliant.

Jade City is set in the city of Janloon on the island nation of Kekon. It’s closest real life inspiration feels like Hong Kong though it clearly draws from Eastern Asia more widely. It is the only place in the world where Jade can be found naturally & whose inhabitants have the predisposition towards utilising Jade to imbue themselves with enhance physical & psychic abilities. Those who wear Jade are known as Green Bones & they jealously control its distribution.

The book’s core themes are about duty & family, albeit a family whose status on Janloon skirts somewhere between organised crime dynasty & noble house. The Kauls rule one of the city’s Green Bone clans, No Peak. Lan is Pillar, the head of the clan, & relatively recently raised to the role. He’s struggling to leave the shadow of his infamous grandfather & earn the respect he’s due. Lan’s younger brother Hilo is the Horn, the clan’s ‘military’ leader in charge of keeping the streets under No Peak control/protection. Shae is their younger sister, returning home to Janloon after several years away & struggling to work out how she wants to be defined. Lastly the youngest Kaul, Anden, is the adopted cousin of the other three & a promising student at the Kaul Dushuron Academy.

Beer: Life & Death
Brewery: Vocation
Style: IPA
Strength: 6.5%

If you’re looking for something to replace Punk because you’re either annoyed at the recent shitty behaviour or just bored of it, might I direct you towards this beer. Vocation are, in my opinion, a good & widely stocked brewery who put out consistently drinkable beers.

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