Review: Jade City


Posted on : 11/25/2018 09:06:00 PM | By : Dann | In : , , ,

Jade City Jade City by Fonda Lee
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Fonda Lee hits one out of the park! Almost....

Jade City is the story of rival criminal gangs. The gang members are genetically capable of using pieces of jade to give them near superpowers. They go through 8 years of intense training to be able to hold and use jade for that purpose.

The gangs maintain a tight control on who gets the jade and who gets trained to use it. Effectively, the gangs run the city in a way.

The author did a ton of research on real criminal gangs as well as depictions in movies and books over the years. The Asian influence is apparent as the gangs are on some sort of Asian island, draw inspiration from wuxia and use a version of kung fu (my interpretation).

The characters have multiple motivations and are well developed. The plot holes are few and minor.

The one thing that holds me back from giving this 5 stars is that Ms. Lee didn't trust her readers to get all of the subtext of the book.

It is apparent from the story that these gangs are largely male dominated. Yet as the society evolves with improvements in technology and exposure to other cultures, women find that they are able to create their own roles in that gang culture. It is harder for them at times. It is also just different.

Rather than let those features be self-evident, Ms. Lee put in a few direct statements confirming that the gangs were dominated by men. Well....yes....all the other words around those statements made it pretty clear.

Authors, trust your readers to "get it". You don't have to rub their faces in identity politics to get your point across.

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Review: Skin


Posted on : 11/25/2018 08:49:00 PM | By : Dann | In : , , , ,

Skin Skin by Peter Fugazzotto
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

A good novella from horror/grim-dark fantasy author Peter Fugazzotto.

A group of men guarding a border outpost find that they have invited some creature into their keep. The creature can mimic any person. And it is killing them off one by one.

Well constructed story. Compelling characters and decent world building.

As the author readily admits, this story seems to be a close parallel with John Carpenter's movie "The Thing". That was apparent to me early on in reading the story. But the writing was compelling enough to keep me interested in seeing how Peter would reveal his version of the story.

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Review: Fool's Assassin


Posted on : 11/25/2018 08:43:00 PM | By : Dann | In : , , ,

Fool's Assassin Fool's Assassin by Robin Hobb
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

A great opening book for this trilogy. Interesting world building and character development.

The biggest drawback was the lack of inventiveness for the magic system. Called it "wit" and "skill" was a bit lazy.

Otherwise, this is a great book and I look forward to the rest of the trilogy.

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