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Saturday, July 30, 2022

The Jade Setter of Janloon (The Green Bone Saga, #0.5) by Fonda Lee

BOOK review
Started on: 20 July 2022
Finished on: 22 July 2022
Title: The Jade Setter of Janloon (The Green Bone Saga, #0.5)
Author: Fonda Lee
Publisher: Subterranean Press
Pages: 144 pages / 144 pages (e-book)
Year of Publication: 2022
Price: $5.99 (
Rating: 5/5

"You have all the skills to follow in my footsteps if you choose. But a jade setter's life is dedicated to uncelebrated work that might be undone.Every day, we give ourselves to the craft of setting jade that will give power to others. They do with it what they will, and we keep none of it for ourselves. That's our place. Do you want that?"
The city of Janloon is ruled by jade, the rare and magical substance that enhances the abilities and status of trained Green Bone warriors who run the island's powerful clans. Pulo Oritono is not one of those warriors. He's just an apprentice jade setter who dreams of securing clan patronage and having a successful business. However, his hopes are dashed when a priceless jade weapon is stolen from the shop where he works at. He has three days to hunt down the thief, find the weapon, and return it to its rightful owner if he wants to save his future, the people he care about, and his own life.

"Bright lights distracted from darkness, while money and success flowed through the gutters toward the cunning and the ruthless. Jade was not the only thing that was gained at the expense of lives."
As a huge fan of The Green Bone Saga, I always welcome the possibility of reading another book written in the amazing universe created by Fonda Lee. After I finished reading the trilogy, I found out that the author has released a standalone novella that takes place two years before the events of Jade City. Without hesitation, I decided to pick this book up and read it immediately while my memory of the series is still fresh. Even though this book is only 144 pages long, Fonda Lee successfully delivered a compelling tale that makes me want to read even more side stories in the Green Bone world. I also would like to mention that this review is written based on my experience reading this prequel after I'm done with the main trilogy; because I think some people will have a different opinion if they decide to start with the prequel first 😊.
"Over many years, I've seen jade change hands in unexpected ways, so I know that people often don't get what they deserve. But whatever you decide to do, if you find success and happiness, you'll deserve it."
In this novella, the story focuses a different aspect of the city of Janloon—which is the role of a jade setter. Isin is a well-known jade setter who's trusted by Green Bones from even the biggest clans. His service includes carving, setting, piercing, and even repairing jade according to people's needs. We also got a new perspective from the neutral Haedo Shield clan, which is completely different from major clans like No Peak or Mountain. I think the world-building in this book was very well done within such a short time, enabling new readers to ease into the story and get the gist of some unfamiliar terms that will be frequently used throughout the series. The main character of this book is Pulo Oritono, Isin's apprentice who ends up being tangled in deep trouble after a valuable weapon was stolen from the shop and he only has three days to retrieve it. The plot itself wasn't too complicated because it focuses only on one problem, but the author still managed to made my jaw drop with how the story unfolds. I can feel Pulo's urgency and worries as he thinks about the consequences that he needs to face if the weapon is not found. He also has compassion toward his co-worker, Malla, an Abukei girl who suffered a lot in the past. I find it very interesting to get a glimpse of the history of Abukei race that I never knew before. Although this prequel is written in the same world as the main trilogy, it's fascinating how Fonda Lee allows us to see everything from a totally different perspective.
One of the best parts about reading this book is being able to see some of the prominent characters from The Green Bone Saga trilogy once again. My heart instantly warms up when Hilo and the Maik brothers showed up, especially seeing them so young and carefree back then 😢. Witnessing these characters from Pulo's point of view shows how the stronger Green Bones can seem very intimidating to those who are weaker. I'm also really glad to see Lan again; I didn't realize I missed his tendency to remain peaceful and how he always maintained his composure. Characters like Gont Asch and Ayt Mada also made an appearance here, still exuding the same charisma and power just like I remembered them. They're technically secondary characters in this book, but they represent the stronger side of Green Bone clans that is feared and revered by the citizens.
"A man doesn’t have to be unkind or unlikable to have enemies… Sometimes, it’s good people who’re hated for who they are."
Reading The Jade Setter of Janloon absolutely made me crave more stories like this—exploring other aspects of Janloon that we've never seen before. It was a quick and fun read that I thoroughly enjoyed from start to finish. As I mentioned earlier, I devoured this book right after I finished the main series; so I already harbor deep feelings and connection with the world and its characters. Nonetheless, I think this book will still be a pleasurable read for those who are diving into The Green Bone Saga for the very first time. It's sad to say goodbye to this amazing world that Fonda Lee has created, but at the same time I'm looking forward to what kind of story she's going to write next 😊.
"I'm only a humble jade setter, but I'm content with the last thing I was able to fix." 
by.stefaniesugia♥ .

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