Jade City by Fonda Lee

jade city recap

The basics

Title: Jade City


Series: The Green Bone Saga #1

- Jade City (2017)
- Jade War (2019)

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Goodreads Summary:

Magical jade—mined, traded, stolen, and killed for—is the lifeblood of the island of Kekon. For centuries, honorable Green Bone warriors like the Kaul family have used it to enhance their abilities and defend the island from foreign invasion.

Now the war is over and a new generation of Kauls vies for control of Kekon's bustling capital city. They care about nothing but protecting their own, cornering the jade market, and defending the districts under their protection. Ancient tradition has little place in this rapidly changing nation.

When a powerful new drug emerges that lets anyone—even foreigners—wield jade, the simmering tension between the Kauls and the rival Ayt family erupts into open violence. The outcome of this clan war will determine the fate of all Green Bones—from their grandest patriarch to the lowliest motorcycle runner on the streets—and of Kekon itself.

Here’s our recap of what happened in Jade City. Read on for a full plot summary to refresh your memory!

what happened in Jade City?

  • In the Twice Lucky restaurant, Bero and Sampa are planning on stealing jade from a Green Bone called Shon.
  • The pair lure Shon to the bathroom and knock him out, but he wakes up while Sampa is taking the jade from his ear.
  • Bero leaves Sampa behind and tries to escape, but unluckily for him the Maik brothers (two Green Bones) are around and they stop him.
  • Shon wants to kill the boys but Hilo, the clan’s Horn, stops him and also saves Mr Unes’ business.
  • The Maik brothers beat the boys. Sampa begs for his life and also tells Hilo that there’s a new jade smuggler in town who killed the previous one. This newbie is called The Carver.
  • We meet Kaul Lan, the clan’s Pillar and Hilo’s older brother, who is having trouble sleeping. Doru, the Weather Man, approaches and asks about his KJA vote. Lan doesn’t want to give Espenia any jade.
  • Hilo brings the teens to Lan and they tell him about the new Carver. Lan lets the boys go. Lan and Hilo think the new Carver is Tem Ben, one of the stone-eyed Mountain men.
  • Hilo wants to kill the people causing trouble but Doru advises against it. Lan agrees with Doru.
  • Kaul Sen talks about the war between the One Mountain Society and the Shotarians. Lan asks that Doru retires. Kaul Sen gets angry and insults Lan, then he challenges him and wins.
  • Hilo goes to visit Maik Wen, who he’s sleeping with.
  • Kaul Shae arrives back in Janloon.
  • Hilo goes to the Academy to speak to his cousin, Anden. He warns Anden that change is coming. We learn about Anden’s family history – his dad left the country, and his mother slowly lost her mind because she was super powerful.
  • On Boat Day, Anden gets into a fight with some Mountain boys. The fight is broken up by the Mountain clan’s Horn, Gont, who takes Anden away in his car.
  • Gont calls Lan to tell him he’ll return Anden in three hours as long as Hilo doesn’t cause trouble.
  • Anden is taken to the Mountain leader, Ayt Mada. She offers him a position in the Mountain, but in a nearby country where they’re producing SN1. Ayt wants to control SN1 so that things don’t get out of hand.
  • Anden is let go, and he tells Lan about what went on.
  • Lan decides not to get involved with this shine business, but he wants to keep an eye on the Mountain clan.
  • Bero wants to work for Mudt, a green fencer.
  • Lan asks Shae to look into the mines and make sure everything is in order with the KJA.
  • Lan cuts a deal with Chancellor Son so that a law goes into place to stop anyone from controlling the KJA.
  • The Mountain clan whispers Hilo’s name and everything kicks off.
  • Lan fights on of the Mountain’s fists and wins.
  • Hilo asks Wen to marry him.
  • Shae is looking into the KJA accounts. She finds that Gont has been buying a lot of equipment and there’s been a higher production of jade, but there’s not more in the vaults. So where is it going? Shae tells Lan that someone has been stealing jade.
  • So Lan was super injured in his duel, and he now can’t wear too much jade. To keep up appearances, though, he takes all of his opponent’s jade and puts it on. He has to start using shine in order to tolerate it.
  • Anden asks Lan to stop using shine, but Lan says he has to use it to appear powerful.
  • Shae suggests that Doru is allowing this jade theft to happen. Lan sends Doru away and suspends the production of jade.
  • Lan received a letter from his ex-wife.
  • One of the Mountain’s Green Bones gives Bero a gun, which seems like the worst idea every given Bero’s track record.
  • Bero goes after Lan, and is only able to take him down because Lan overdoses on shine. Lan drowns.
  • Since Lan is dead, Hilo becomes Pillar. Shae puts her jade on and starts to take this clan war seriously.
  • Shae advises Hilo to take back some territory from the Mountain. There’s a fight and a bunch of secondary characters die.
  • Hilo promotes Shae to Weather Man.
  • Shae confronts Doru about the jade smuggling, and he admits that he was involved. She spares him, and asks him to look after her grandfather for the rest of their lives.
  • Shae and Hilo meet with Ayt Mada, who Hilo argues with (and accuses of stealing the jade). 
  • Ayt asks Shae to betray her clan, but Shae obviously refuses because eff that.
  • Wen becomes a spy within the Mountain clan. She and Shae don’t tell Hilo about this because he would never agree to it. Wen takes a tonne of jade to a military base.
  • Doru escapes to the Mountain with the help of Kaul Sen, who gives him his jade.
  • Green Bones keep getting killed by the Mountain.
  • Hilo and Wen get married.

how did it end?

  • The two Horns fight each other in Mountain territory. Hilo does quite well, but is eventually worn out. Gont is about to kill him, but then Anden helps out and Gont dies.
  • Anden wakes up from a coma. He attends his graduation ceremony, and then refuses his jade because he doesn’t want to be a Green Bone. Hilo isn’t happy with this. Anden runs off to sit by Lan’s grave.
  • Bero visits the grave and digs up the jade that has been buried with Lan.

This is a full plot summary of what happened in Jade City by Fonda Lee. Check out our recap list for more recaps. If you can’t find what you need, you can request a recap from us!

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