First of all, thank you to Hodder for the eARC of this incredible book, and SORRY to Hodder for taking so ridiculously long to pick it up. I’m kicking myself for leaving it unread on my shelf for so long when I knew how much I was going to love it, and I’m very happy that I finally got round to it. Anyway!
Jade Fire Gold tells the dual stories of Ahn, a young woman who finds her life completely upended, and Altan, a former prince, as their lives and missions completely and unintentionally converge.
Ahn is an orphaned young girl living with a kind stranger in a small outskirts town, who is uprooted suddenly when she discovers that her father is a very senior ally to the royal family that desperately needs her help to solve an age old problem. Altan, meanwhile, is a presumed-dead outlaw former heir to the throne who realises that Ahn may be the key to regaining his position, and knows that he needs to do whatever it takes to do just that. What follows is an intense and epic adventure, filled with magic, slow-burn romance and a lot of action and adventure.
This story was so much fun to read. The imagery was vivid, the magic was intense (very ATLA-esque) and both protagonists were so well-developed that I found myself equally excited every time the perspective changed to either of them. I did find that the pacing was slightly odd at times, and that weeks seemed to pass by in the space of one or two lines but, whilst this was off-putting at first, I found by the end that it just allowed much more time to develop the story.
It’s rare in a fantasy book that the fight scenes are my favourite part, but it was definitely the case with this one as they were so intense and perfectly described that I found myself completely sucked into the action. I genuinely cried at multiple points and I felt so emotionally connected to the characters by the end of the story that I was truly sad to have to put it down. The romance was also really beautifully done, as what could very easily have been insta-love based on their first interaction turned into a beautiful slow burn romance with a couple of tropes and clichés thrown in along the way that I really found myself enjoying.
I think it may be obvious, but I adored this book. I couldn’t get over it for days after putting it down. The characters are still living in my brain at this moment, and I’m so excited to see what June CL Tan releases next.