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.
Girls of Paper and Fire meets A Song of Wraiths and Ruin in June CL Tan’s stunning debut, where ferocious action, shadowy intrigue, rich magic, and a captivating slow-burn romance collide.
Disclaimer: I received a free Advance Reader’s Copy of this book from the publisher in exchange for this review. This does not affect my review in any way, which is honest and unbiased. Thank you to Kate Keehan at Hodder & Stoughton for sending me a copy of Jade Fire Gold!
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Jade Fire Gold is an exciting, action-packed fantasy. Highly reminiscent with its vast world lore and magic system, this book will delight fans of Avatar: The Last Airbender.
I thoroughly enjoyed Jade Fire Gold. While it took me a couple of chapters from each perspective to really get into it, once I did, I needed to know how it was all going to unfold.
Ahn and Altan made for two very compelling main characters. Ahn is a peasant, who’s life is flipped upside down when she’s taken away from her adoptive grandmother and discovers she’s the Life Stealer – a powerful Tiensai (magic user) capable of draining a person’s life force and using two mystical swords to either save the world or destroy it. Straight away from the very first page, I found Ahn to be extremely likeable. Her character arc was excellent; from the first page to the last, she grows so much as a person, becoming much more confident with her magic and believing in her ability to forge her own path.
Altan, is the lost prince, who is hellbent on getting his revenge and reclaiming his throne after his family was murdered. The Zuko comparisons are right there for you to see, and it would be easy for any reader to assume that Tan had lifted him from Avatar, made a few small changes and plopped him in this book. That being said, I don’t have any complaints!
Ahn and Altan are interesting, complex characters, and Tan made it easy to root for both of them, even when at times their desires clashed.
I did feel that they both got what they (initially) wanted a bit too quickly though. Very minor spoilers ahead, but I thought Ahn adjusted to palace life quicker than she should have, and Altan got his wish from the Phoenix with seemingly little trouble. This didn’t have too much of an impact on my overall enjoyment of the book though.
I can definitely see the Zutara comparisons with Jade Fire Gold and Ahn and Altan, but unfortunately, the romance element of this book fell flat for me. I could see that the two of them were drawn to each other, but I couldn’t feel it. Their chemistry didn’t jump off the page for me.
Despite the (seemingly) character-driven nature of the book, Jade Fire Gold doesn’t skimp on the action scenes, including a nice balance of physical weapons (e.g. swords) and magic. I do wish the climax/‘final battle’ of the book had been a little stronger though, with more detail and less time-skipping, but this is just a minor thing compared with the book as a whole.
Overall, I’d recommend trying out Jade Fire Gold, especially if you’re an Avatar: The Last Airbender fan and Zutara shipper. Even if the romance falls a bit flat for you (like it did for me), you can at least appreciate the similarities and Ahn and Altan’s dynamic. Tan ended the book on a major cliffhanger, so I’m eagerly awaiting the sequel to find out what happens next.