June CL Tan’s debut novel is the tale of two haunted teens, one by traumatic memories of losing his parents and his rightful claim to the throne, the other by the absence of any memories whatsoever.
Ahn feels stuck in the small village where she lives with her adoptive grandmother. She struggles to earn—and sometimes steal—enough to survive and grapples with the blank space that is her past. When her illegal magical abilities are discovered, she is brought to the palace, certain that imprisonment and execution will be her fate.
Meanwhile, Altan is traveling through the country, tracking down and exacting vengeance on the people who murdered his parents and twin sister. Relying on his clan’s training and his friend Tang Wei, Altan is desperate to find the legendary Life Stealer, a person with a rare magical ability that’s integral to Altan’s quest.
When Ahn’s and Altan’s paths intersect, they soon realize that working together will be more thrilling and more dangerous than either could have predicted.
Jade Fire Gold is a complex and fast-paced fantasy that alternates between Ahn’s and Altan’s perspectives. Readers will be quickly swept up in Ahn’s efforts to discover who she truly is and who she wants to become and in Altan’s battle between self-fulfillment and the personal sacrifice required to serve the greater good.
The novel is vivid, thrilling and occasionally humorous as it honestly and powerfully explores colonization and oppression, the long-term ramifications of violent conflicts and how easily the truth can be lost when history is written by the victors. This mix of epic storytelling, Chinese mythology and adventure-filled romance marks the arrival of an exciting new voice in young adult fantasy.