ARC Book Review: JADE FIRE GOLD by June C. L. Tan

I received an ARC from the publisher in exchange for an honest review. It has not affected my opinions.

Title in white on gold next to sword and block of orange
Genre: Fantasy
Age Range: YA
Star rating: 4 stars
Series: standalone?


Book cover for JADE FIRE GOLD: title in black and while on a half yellow half orange cover split in two by a knife

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.

Synopsis taken from Goodreads. Add to your shelves here.


JADE FIRE GOLD feels like someone took a series of an epic fantasy series and put it into a 450 page book. You have all this mythology and tangled pasts (the three main boys have this interwoven mess of a childhood and all these hurts and friendships.) There is a quest, and of course a relationship full of up and downs. A deposed crown prince everyone thinks dead, and a girl with the dangerous magic. It’s a romp, and you can see it translating perfectly into a TV show.

There were a few points where things seemed to happen too easily. This is a reasonably short(ish) book and it covers months and a lot of physical group. It did mean that there’s often not a lot of time getting characters between events, and sometimes not much time spent on the event itself. It’s not always noticeable, but there were a few points where it seemed like things happened a tad too fast.

A full series from a single book only tends to work for long books or where there are additions made – but this feels like the entire series was put into the book. It’s a consequence of the YA industry having very short word count standards. Stories that are fantasy epics (like this) have to cram stuff in.

The relationship between Ahn and Altan goes through so many ups and downs of attraction and various secrets pushing them apart. It’s another thing that felt like it suffered a bit from the word count constraint as there were so many ups and downs it was like a rollercoaster, but generally it was quite fun to just see it like someone going “and across a 10 episode show there will be a lots of ups and down because each episode needs something – let’s recreate this in book format.”

The funny thing about the relationship is that I read the blurb and went “they’re going to fall in love,” then read the epilogue and went “nah, she’s the missing sister.” And then they met for the first time and were instantly going “oh, hot” and I very much hoped my initial assumption about the relationship was correct (it was.)

I don’t know if this is a standalone or the start of a duology. I thought it was a duology, then did some digging and it looks to be a standalone. The books feels like a standalone, until the epilogue which is definitely trying to set up a sequel (which I suspect will happen if this book sells well enough.)

2 thoughts on “ARC Book Review: JADE FIRE GOLD by June C. L. Tan

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