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Fonda Lee

Fonda Lee is the award-winning author of the YA science fiction novels Zeroboxer and Exo and the gangster fantasy Green Bone Saga, beginning with Jade City. Fonda is a black belt martial artist, a former corporate strategist, a foodie, and an action movie aficionado. She lives in Portland, Oregon with her family. Learn more online at www.fondalee.com and on Twitter @fondajlee.

Jade City: Methodical, complex plotting

Jade City by Fonda Lee

Fonda Lee brings her experience with martial arts to Jade City (2017), her first novel for adults and a sprawling tale of family, power, and an intangible but all-too-important element: control. Whether it concerns finances, emotions, or a person’s mobility through the world and their social station, control is at the heart of this novel, and informs every single moment.

Jade City is chiefly concerned with the Kaul clan of No Peak: adult siblings Lan, Hilo, and Shae, who were all trained up from childhood to eventually assume the top three positions of power within the clan. Lan is the Pillar, the leader everyone looks to for instructions and guidance, though he struggles against his grandfather’s living legacy; Hilo is the Horn, maintaining the clan’s power and strength by defending territorial boundaries and enforcing justice or hon... Read More

Exo: An exciting YA SF thriller

Exo by Fonda Lee

A hundred years ago aliens defeated and colonized Earth. For the most part, humans now live in peace with the aliens. A minority of humans have been chosen to go through the aliens’ hardening process when they are young. This gives them a type of exoskeleton that makes them very hard to kill. These Exos constitute a military upper class and they look down on “squishies” — those humans who can’t be, or refuse to be, hardened.

Donovan Reyes, the son of the Prime Liaison to the aliens, is an Exo. One of his jobs is to patrol his city, flushing out and arresting any dissidents who remain. When a raid goes wrong and Donovan is captured by a rebel group, his father refuses to negotiate with the terrorists. Donovan’s whole life is turned upside down and his loyalties are challenged.

Exo (2017), the first book in Read More

Cross Fire: A good read for the young adults who will someday be our leaders

Cross Fire by Fonda Lee

Cross Fire (2018), which is a finalist for the Locus Award for Best Young Adult Novel this year, is the second book in Fonda Lee’s EXO series. You need to read the first book, Exo, before picking up Cross Fire. Please note that this review of Cross Fire may spoil some of the plot for Exo.

When we left Donovan Reyes in Exo, he had been devastated by some severe losses but his loyalty to SecPac was recovering, thanks to personal pain inflicted by the terrorists/freedom fighters and thanks to the kind attention of his SecPac friends, especially his best friend, Jet.

The terrori... Read More

Jade War: An Asian-inspired mob drama

Jade War by Fonda LeeJade War (2019) is the second book in Fonda Lee’s GREEN BONE SAGA series and a finalist for the 2020 Locus Award for Best Fantasy Novel. It follows Jade City, which won the World Fantasy Award, and which you’ll need to read first (this review will contain some mild spoilers for that novel). Jade War picks up a year after the dramatic events of Jade City. Hilo and Shae are trying to keep the Kaul clan’s empire together on the island of Kekon but ther... Read More

Zeroboxer: The truth will set you free

Zeroboxer by Fonda Lee

Carr “The Raptor” Luka has been rising in the ranks of zeroboxers — men and women who fight in zero gravity. He’s just signed with an agent, been assigned a brandhelm (publicity manager), procured a sponsor, and he hopes to be able to compete for the championship title. As political tensions rise between the residents of Earth and Mars, Carr’s success becomes a point of pride and an inspiration for Earth, “the old dirt ball.”

While on a publicity tour, Carr discovers some information about a crime that someone close to him has committed. This brings on a major ethical dilemma as he decides whether or not to report the crime. It’s not as simple as “doing the right thing” because not only is Carr’s career threatened, but so is the fragile peace between Earth and Mars. Not to mention the devastating effect this information would have on all of Carr’s fans, especially the young boys who i... Read More

SHORTS: McGuire, Link, Chiang, Leckie, Lee

SHORTS: Our column exploring free and inexpensive short fiction available on the internet. This week's post reviews several of the current crop of Locus Award nominees. 


Phantoms of the Midway by Seanan McGuire (2019, anthologized in The Mythic Dream, edited by Dominik Parisien and Navah Wolfe). 2020 Locus award finalist (novelette).

Most kids dream of running away to join the carnival. Seventeen-year-old Aracely dreams of running away from the carnival. Her mother, Daisy, is the boss and the tattoo artist of the traveling fair, and she’s overprotective, forbidding Aracely to step out... Read More

SHORTS: Roanhorse, Liu, Lee, Goss, Kingfisher, Bear

SHORTS: Our column exploring free and inexpensive short fiction available on the internet. This week's post reviews several more of the current crop of Locus Award nominees in the short fiction categories.

“A Brief Lesson in Native American Astronomy” by Rebecca Roanhorse (2019, anthologized in The Mythic Dream, edited by Dominik Parisien and Navah Wolfe). 2020 Locus award finalist (short story).

In the future, people’s memories can be stored and preserved even after they’ve died, and other people can inject them like drugs. Dez Hunter is an actor who has spiraled into depression after the death of his beloved girlfrien... Read More