THE JADE REBELLION
The Jade Chronicles #1
by Alanna Mackenzie
YA Science Fiction/ Fantasy
1 May, 2018
A reckoning. A rebellion. The worlds of artificial intelligence and ancient magic collide.
Crystal City glistens with diamonds, but its dazzling beauty comes at a deadly price. The capital of Khalendar thrives on a steady supply of gemstones from the neighboring Barrens, a colony of the Empire.
Walter Saltanetska translates AI code for the Khalendar government, helping to breathe life into the ambitious vision of the AI Masters. When Walter discovers a terrible secret which could destroy the life of his lover, Elaine, he decides to tell her despite strict orders to keep what he translates confidential.
What begins as a catastrophe eventually grows into a rebellion. Elaine is taken captive by the AI Masters, and Walter must do everything in his power to rescue her. He starts his quest with a single goal in mind, finding Elaine, but along the way Walter discovers that saving her is only a small part of his destiny. During his travels, he encounters a long-lost relative, a warrior matriarch, and a mystical kingdom forgotten to time. Yet Walter's true journey occurs not in physical space, but the captivating depths of his mind.
An inventive blend of dystopian science-fiction and fantasy, the Jade Rebellion explores whether we can overcome technological determinism by preserving history, nature, spirituality, and ultimately, our humanity.
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Science fiction with AI, magic, and all of that mixed into a rebellion...this one was a definite 'read-me-please'.
AI Masters have taken over, leaving humans to exist either on the pitiful side of society or under constant, close watch in the sparkling city. Walter has a special knack for coding and has earned the right to work in a good job. But when his own mistake has the girl he likes captured and placed on a ship to an island, which, according to rumor, is barely better than a prison, he's determined to save her. Although this endeavor alone is already enough for a huge adventure, it's only the first small pebble in what fate really holds for him.
The world in this book is rich. The author has set up a future, which is not only intriguing, but also done a terrific job at describing it and letting it come to life. The misery and fear is tangible, but yet, the amazing scifi end and magic give it a fantastical flair. Myth, spirits and simply magic mix in seamlessly with the 'evil' AI intelligence, futuristic technology, and dystopian environment. It made my scifi/fantasy heart beat faster and was a treat to discover.
The tale itself is well woven with tons of twists and turns. Walter is in for quite the ride just as such a rich world demands. There are subplots and secrets upon secrets. It's impossible to guess what will happen next, keeping the reader on the edge of their seat until the end.
With so much goodness, this book promises to be a wonderful read. Unfortunately, the characters fell more than short. While potentially more than interesting, they are stuck an arm length's away thanks to the writing style. The dialogue, especially in the earlier part of the book, is almost non-existent, allowing everything to unfold as if watching it but not being there. I wanted to love them but never got to get close to any of them. Also, this is sold as a young adult novel, but Walter didn't give me the impression of being a teenager. He'd already passed tests to enter a profession and his actions, while risky, were too mature. Not that this would have mattered, since adults (and YA) would have loved the story if the characters had been easier to connect with.
Summed up, there is tons and tons of awesomeness in these pages. The world building and basic concepts...as well as the plot...promise so much and deliver. If the characters had been more 'real', it would have blown me away.
And here she is...
Alanna Mackenzie lives in Vancouver, Canada. She holds degrees in History, French studies, and Law from the University of British Columbia. An environmentalist at heart, she believes in using the law as a tool for social and environmental change. When she is not pursuing that passion, she can be found brainstorming the next chapter in her novels, playing Irish fiddle tunes on the violin, and hiking West Coast trails.
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