Fonda Lee's Jade City centers around a
fictional island country called Kekon and specifically around the Kaul family, the head of a Green Bone crime syndicate called No Peak. Green Bones are people who have been specially trained from a young age to handle jade specifically mined from the island. This special jade gives them super human powers, which they use to fight each other and essentially run things.
Meet the Kauls
Next in power is Hilo, Lan's younger, hot-headed brother. Hilo was born to be the Horn, or general, of No Peak, having been all about fighting from a very young age. He rolls around town with the Maik brothers, a pair of fighters with a troubled family background.
And last is Shae, the prodigal sister, who left Kekon to go to school in Espenia and ended up marrying an Espenian man, much to the disappointment of her family, especially her grandfather. She finds herself divorced, moving back to Kekon, but wanting to keep her distance from the family business.
There's also Anden, an adopted son of the Kauls who faces the added challenge of having the heightened jade sensitivity of a foreigner while training to become a Green Bone.
The World of Janloon
A while back she posted a great thread on twitter, which you can read here, but I think the key post was this one:
This really does give the reader way more opportunity to suck up setting without being overwhelmed.If your scenes are always in the castle or headquarters or wherever, you're passing up a huge opportunity. I have my characters meet up in an office building, a temple, a restaurant, a sporting event, a school, etc. So you SEE the world w/o the focus being on what's around them.— Fonda Lee (@FondaJLee) January 23, 2018
A New Magic System
A really fun part about this magic system is how ingrained it is in Kekonese culture. There's a whole religion built around it, but this religion doesn't take center stage.
"Each sat cross-legged with hands resting on the top of a mounted jade orb the size of a small bowling ball. To be in contact with so much jade … Shae was reminded of the boulders she’d seen at the mine pit, the mad temptation to put her hand on one of them. The penitents must possess exceptional training and control. They could probably hear a fly landing on a cushion in the back of the room, or Perceive the people on the street outside, yet they were motionless, breathing slowly and steadily, their faces relaxed."
Lee, Fonda. Jade City (The Green Bone Saga) (Kindle Locations 3927-3931). Orbit. Kindle Edition.
"He’d imagined that perhaps the Pillar of the Mountain would be a glamorous and deadly femme fatale. Or perhaps a hard-bitten she-man who exuded toughness and iron authority. Instead, she appeared ordinary, except for the spectacular amount of jade running up both her arms. Mounted in coiling silver bracelets that twined up her forearms and biceps like snakes, there must have been at least a dozen stones on each arm. So much jade, worn so unpretentiously—Green Bones had no need for any other symbols of status."Lee, Fonda. Jade City (The Green Bone Saga) (Kindle Locations 1512-1515). Orbit. Kindle Edition.