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Sisters of Jade 

by James Downe

Adventurers. Treasure Hunters. Thieves.

Long have the infamous Sisters of Jade raided the islands of the Sovanti Strait. Once, their names were whispered in fear. Now, their legacy is beginning to fade.

Their leader, Kylan Tier, is a woman adrift. Returning to the city of Mgen Riy, Kylan learns an old friend is a prisoner of the corrupt Gorgon Court. After a failed coup, Baron Iro Mezakis has been maimed, his family executed. Only his youngest daughter survives, taken across the strait by a villainous rival.

Hunted by agents of the Court, Kylan strives to hold her sisters together long enough to rescue the baron and reunite him with his daughter. Few have ever stood up to the Gorgon Court, but fewer still have lived to tell the tale.

SPFBO9 Review

The Shaggy Shepherd Book Reviews

The cover for Sisters of Jade by James Downe stood out to me since we were assigned our books at the start of this round of SPFBO. The prologue was quite dramatic and I loved the mixed feelings it left me with due to getting two opposing impressions about one of the characters between that prologue and the book blurb I read right before starting the book. It left me really intrigued and excited for the rest of the book so I could understand what was going on.

Something that I really enjoy (and that helps reduce being pulled out of the story due to awkward info dumps) is when an author uses epigraphs at the beginning of their chapters to world-build or add other relevant information. It allows me to learn more about their world and history without feeling like the story is getting tedious with too much detail.

Contrasting with that though, I did wish for more detail of the personal histories of the main characters. The mystery, the hinting around, about what happened to the Sisters of Jade before we were introduced to them felt a little forced to me, and I think I would’ve felt more invested in them had I known more about them sooner. I was hoping this would happen eventually but for the most part, their pasts stay pretty vague through to the end.

Making the victim of this story someone that was decidedly not a good person was an interesting choice and probably the main reason I continued to read even when there were elements I didn’t quite enjoy. I liked reading about his conflicting feelings about his past and his regrets about his life. It added a lot of nuance to his story thread and the changes he went through felt realistic with a fitting end to his part of this story as well.

For a good while, I did continue with this story despite feeling like there was something missing. It had intriguing components but lacked that… spark that made me feel truly invested. I’m not sure when exactly that changed but all of a sudden I was so absorbed that I didn’t even realize how much I had read in one sitting. The action really picked up and had a good flow to it in the second half of the book.

I was still missing that background knowledge of most of the characters and think that a deeper exploration of that would’ve really benefited this book but overall it was a good reading experience and I’m hoping to get some of that in the next book whenever I get a chance to continue with this series. However, this is a cut.

The Shaggy Shepherd Book Reviews

Proofreader ( SFINCS Founder. SPSFC/SPFBO Judge. Indie Reader.

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