jade fire gold – june c.l. tan | blog tour + arc review

Jade Fire Gold by June C.L. Tan


Standalone
Expected publication: October 12th 2021 by HarperTeen
Age Range: Young Adult
Genre: Fantasy
Representation: POC (Chinese-coded characters), LGBTQ+ (side sapphic and gay romances)

Rating:

Rating: 3.5 out of 5.

Synopsis:

Girls of Paper and Fire meets The Tiger at Midnight in June CL Tan’s stunning debut, inspired by Chinese mythology, with rich magic and an epic slow-burn romance.

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 arcane magical abilities.

But they may have to pay a far deadlier price than either could have imagined.

Ferocious action, shadowy intrigue, and a captivating romance collide in June CL Tan’s debut, a stunning homage to the Xianxia novel with a tender, beating heart, perfect for fans of The Bone Witch and We Hunt the Flame.

Goodreads | Amazon | Book Depository

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Thank you to Caffeine Book Tour for choosing me as one of the participants in the #JadeFireGold tour. I received an ARC in exchange for an honest review. If you’re interested in the other tour stops, check out the schedule!

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trigger and content warnings:
  • self-harm (gouging, eye horror; non-graphic), child abuse (physical, verbal, emotional manipulation/gaslighting), parent death (implied, off-page), character deaths, mentions and descriptions of fantasy/magical violence (blood, war, political violence), mentions and descriptions of physical symptoms that might be triggering to those with emetophobia, alcohol consumption

His thirst for revenge and her unknown destiny intertwines before they even meet. Brought up by her adoptive grandmother, all Ahn knew was poverty and hardships. She never expected to be someone crucial in the world. Meanwhile, her magic is threatening to ruin the life that she knows. If it was discovered that she possessed forbidden magic, the Diyeh priests would burn her at the stake. Long gone was the peaceful empire built by his father. Bidding his time, Altan is somewhat ready to reclaim his rightful place. Alone in the world, without his parents and sister, Altan seeks a way to destroy the Life Stealer due to immense guilt inherited from an ancestor’s past actions.

Ahn’s hardy, independent and trusting. Though thrown into a world she never knew before, she adapted well. Broody and mysterious Altan has a difficult past. Witnessing his father’s murder and then losing both his mother and twin sister, Altan walked the earth alone. Their dynamic was pretty interesting at the beginning, but I thought things developed a little too quickly between them.

Lives are fragile; your palm can be a refuge or a cage. Are you certain you are ready for this?

For someone who grew up with wuxia (武俠) and xianxia (仙侠) TV shows, Jade Fire Gold was bumped up my most anticipated releases of the year list. To differentiate the two genres, characters in xianxia practice qigong to attain immortality with supernatural powers set in a world with immortal beings such as gods, monsters, and mythical creatures involved. In fact, TV series such as Three Lives, Three Worlds, Ten Miles of Peach Blossoms (三生三世十里桃花) and The Untamed (陈情令) are some of my recent favorites. Wuxia features martial heroes who typically devote themselves to fighting evil and aiding the helpless. I remember watching The Legend of the Condor Heroes (射鵰英雄傳) on repeat when I was younger.

Since this is a xianxia-inspired novel, I did wish there were more elements of it. It might just be me for being overly picky though. Most of the xianxia/wuxia novels and TV shows follow the journey of the protagonist for years while they cultivate and become stronger. However, I would have to take into account that Jade Fire Gold is a standalone (that epilogue!!) With these limited pages, I believe June C.L. Tan did her best to explore the world of xianxia and its core elements.

I can’t change the past, but I will change my future.

I adored the elements of Chinese mythology. The Mandate of Heaven in which the Emperor is deemed worthy of ruling China with the blessings of the gods is an aspect that was explored. Dragons and phoenixes are common mythical creatures in Chinese stories. When mentioned together, they could describe fraternal twins (龙凤胎) which could be a nod to Altan and his twin sister.

Ultimately, I enjoyed June C.L. Tan’s debut novel. Jade Fire Gold definitely satisfied my need for more xianxia/wuxia content. However, I would have liked if there were more time to develop things properly. Though I liked their individual journey, I wanted more yearning and longing between Ahn and Altan, and more wuxia fighting. Despite that, being able to read a story embedded with Chinese mythologies and culture just warms my heart. With that epilogue, I’m hoping we get a continuation from June C.L. Tan because I’m intrigued.

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author information

Website | Twitter | Instagram | Goodreads | TikTok

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