'Jade Fire Gold' Book Club Readalong Day 1!By: OwlCrate . Photo By: @a.o.tales
Welcome to the first day of our book club read-along for OwlCrate's October book, Jade Fire Gold!
Just a reminder that this will be a SPOILER discussion for Chapters 1-5 of Jade Fire Gold, so make sure you read are finished this section before continuing.
Discussion questions are listed below, and anyone who participates in the comments will be entered to win a free OwlCrate box!
The story begins...
The boy and his family flee into the desert. They are the royal family but hide themselves - not for long. They are hunted down and massacred, but the boy survives, to be taken in by a group of nomads who raise him.
Ahn is trying to get medicine for her ill grandmother, but with not enough money and no job, she’s out of luck. While heading home she stealthily pockets a few bits of food, but is caught by her best friend, Li Guo. They talk about how much they desired adventures as kids, but Ahn will never be so ungrateful as to leave her sick grandmother now. They stop at a well for water and Ahn is shocked when a girl grabs her ankle. She’s branded a traitor - someone accused of helping Tiensai, people who are cursed with magic. People found helping them are branded and have their tongues cut out so that it’s obvious what they have done. Li Guo has other ideas, and despite Ahn’s protestations, helps the girl. He tells Ahn that if she isn’t going to help she can leave. Walking away she thinks it better that he doesn’t know that when she was found ten years ago she had nothing but a jade ring and a snowflake in her palm. A snowflake that wouldn’t melt.
Back in her village hut with Ama, Ahn prepares them dinner before bed. When she thinks Ama is asleep Ahn pries up a floorboard and takes out her only precious possession - the jade ring. Ama, very much not asleep, tells her she shouldn’t sell it, but Ahn doesn’t see a lot of other options. She asks why Ama didn’t ignore her or turn her into the priests when she was a child, and Ama tells her because of just that. She was just a child, and she doesn’t believe Ahn is capable of hurting anyone, magic or no.
Altan awakes from a nightmare of his sister being torn away from him. He’s in an inn and while looking out the window is surprised by Tang Wei - his best friend/rival. Tang Wei was raised by Elder Hong Feng, cultivator and leader of the Lotus Sect, while Altan was found and raised by Shīfù, cultivator and Tiensai, who is part of the Sun Clan, but they grew up close in the Southern Colonies. Shīfù and Elder Hong Feng sent her to keep an eye on Altan as he searches for the Phoenix.
They discuss what is rumoured to be happening in the palace, getting news via Tang Wei’s girlfriend Linxi who is there as a lady in waiting. After killing Altan’s father, Altan’s uncle Goa Long became emperor. But now he is dead, perhaps poisoned by his aunt Zhenxi or even his cousin Tai Shun, so now Zhenxi is empress dowager. With Goa Long’s reign raids on Tiensai by Diyeh priests became wide spread, and it’s said that it is getting even worse with the new empress. It was Altan’s great-grandfather that brought dark magic to the land that caused the desert to spread and the land to become barren. To fix it, Altan is trying to find the Life Stealer, who will give them the chance to overthrow the Diyeh. Together they will find the sword of light, a weapon only a Life Stealer can wield. Altan is searching for the Pheonix to be granted one wish - to be given immunity from the Life Stealer’s magic. What he doesn’t tell Tang Wei is he wants this immunity in order to kill the Life Stealer.
Ahn is at the bazaar trying to find someone to buy her jade ring when she is accosted by a boy who sees her pocket a mangosteen. Rather than turn her in, he buys her another and claims it a gift. Not sure why, but Ahn and the stranger end up walking through the bazaar together before running into a fortune teller who tells Ahn that she sees jade, fire and gold in her. A girl finds them and walks away with the strange boy, leaving Ahn alone. The fortune teller tells Ahn that in the ancient script her name can either mean peace or danger.
Moving on she finds a merchant who looks like they could potentially want her ring, but instead when she eyes a beautiful sword with a ruby in its hilt she decides to risk stealing it in order to sell the ruby instead. Unfortunately it seems the sword belongs to one of the burly men in the tent and they run in pursuit. Eventually Ahn gets cornered in a dead end alley. After begging the men to take the sword and spare her doesn’t seem to work, in her panic her suppressed magic makes itself known. The men want to take her alive to the Diyeh, but Ahn loses control and somehow her magic kills the two men. She drops the sword and runs.
Back at the inn Tang Wei and Altan are (not) enjoying some tea when a distressed man runs in yelling about an alley. Before Altan can get involved two Diyeh priests walk in and escort the man out. They decide it’s time to leave and head north to the Wudin Mountains.
Seeing no option but to flee town in case the priests come after her, Ahn goes to this inn to see Li Guo and beg him to take care of Ama while she is gone. Showing him the jade ring, Li Guo says to meet him at the temple in an hour as he might have someone who could sell her ring quickly.
Walking the streets Ahn hears a scream, the priests have Mali, one of the people who work at the inn. They’re torturing her while demanding if anyone knows where the Tiensai is that killed the two men. Li Guo arrives but before he can try to intervene Ahn confesses it was her that killed the men. They tie her up and put a hood over her head, leading her away from the crowd.
- Do you think the sword that Ahn stole has an significance?
- Where do you think the priests are taking Ahn, and what do you think will happen to her?
- What do you think the significance of Ahn's name being translated as both peace and danger is?
- Who do you think the Life Stealer is?
- Did you enjoy the first section of the book?
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