'Jade Fire Gold' Book Club Readalong Day 2!By: OwlCrate . Photo By: @loganslovelylibrary
Welcome back to 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 6-12 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 priests put Ahn in a wagon and they travel what Ahn assumes is east away from the desert. She doesn’t know why they are keeping her alive. At a stop a priest she doesn’t recognize removes her hood and he appears to be gentle, loosening her ankle restraints and giving her food and water. He says he’s just doing his job, and as he put the hood back on her she asks his name. He tells her it’s Leiye.
Ahn is jolted awake by yelling voices. A soldier, Lieutenant Bao, has come to escort her and the priests to the Imperial Palace on the request of the Premier. Apparently, they are on the look out for “talent” to help with any potential threat of war.
They journey onwards, Ahn now in a carriage and not restrained, but Lieutenant Bao will provide no additional answers. One night Ahn is jolted awake by a yell - Tiensai have come to kill her - calling her life stealer. The priests and soldiers fight back against the Tiensai as Ahn attempts to flee. She is cut and cornered, but before she can be killed a priest comes between her and her attacker. She loses consciousness.
Altan and Tang Wei have been wandering through the desert on camels for nearly a week when they come upon a group of nomads. They welcome them into their group with open arms, especially when Altan tells them that he and his family lived among their people for a while. They aren’t the same people who saved Altan as a child, but it doesn’t matter. After some food a woman comes to sit with him, seeming to know he searches for the sword. Looking at his palm she tells him that she sees that the red threads of fate tie him and the Life Stealer together, but it’s hard to say in what manner. She also seems to know who he is, was, as a child.
Ahn clings to Leiye as they flee the massacre on horseback. He completely obliterated the Tiensai with his fire magic before finding a horse and getting Ahn out of danger’s way. When asked why he left with her he says it is his job to keep her safe. They stop eventually as Ahn is losing too much blood from the gash in her leg and he uses his fire magic to heat a blade to cauterize the wound. Once riding again, before drifting off to sleep, Ahn realizes she has been forever branded by a Diyeh priest.
When they reach the next town Ahn is treated by a physician who gives them rooms for the night. Leiye wakes Ahn the next morning with food and fresh clothing, and Ahn finally demands some answers. Leiye tells her that the Tiensai are trying to kill her because they believe her to be the Life Stealer, the only person who would be able to wield the sword of light, and the only person able to destroy their dark magic. It is said that a blacksmith long ago made a sword over 1000 days and 1000 nights and took it to be tempered with the tears of the phoenix, but when finished he took a peach from the Garden of Immortality. In punishment, the gods killed his son. Of course angered by this, the blacksmith cut off the phoenix’s head, sending it down into the mortal world and cursing the sword with the power to kill a god. The Sword split in two, one light, one dark.
Ahn arrives in the manicured streets of Beishou before being escorted to the palace grounds where a guard curiously greets Leiye as “young master.” Taken through a series of courtyards into the Outer Courts, they are greeted by Linxi who escorts Ahn to her chambers. After bathing and dressing, Linxi takes Ahn to a large room where she is to wait for the premier. Before Linxi leaves Ahn asks her what the number one rule of the palace is. Linxi tells her to be careful who she trusts. An man, the premier Zhao Yang, arrives, and he seems to recognize her.
Altan and Tang Wei arrive at a village at the base of the Wudin Mountains. After a night at the inn they start their assent, but only after Tang Wei agrees to let Altan go on alone after this first part of the climb.
After three days Altan reaches the misty ring of the mountains and after removing his weapons sits down to meditate. After clearing his head and slowing his breathing he realizes he has been transported to a chamber within the mountain itself. His cloak and knives are gone and he is surrounded by glittering glowworms. In front of him is a spring and in it he sees the Oracle Bones of the Phoenix. He sips from the spring but thinks nothing is happening and frustrated, he contemplates leaving. He then notices human shaped figures made of smoke and mist - his dead family. They entice him to come with them so they can be a family again, but Altan resists. It’s not until he sees his sister, still aged 8, that he start to give in.
Xhao Yang is Ahn’s father. When she was a child he was a general in the army and when Ahn started to show signs of magic her mother took her and fled to try to keep her safe. Although he tried to find them, the war had broken out and Xhao Yang had his duty to serve. Ahn doesn’t remember anything about her mother, or what happened. When Xhao Yang heard of a girl showing great magic he sent Lieutenant Bao to bring her back to the palace. Ahn tells him about the past ten years of her life and makes him promise to bring Ama to her. Back in her chambers, Linxi is again more formal with her, likely after finding out her identity, but Ahn implores her to stay. She asks her to teach her everything there is to know about life in the palace and how to act like a lady. Linxi agrees.
Ahn is determined to adjust to life in the palace and with Linxi’s help is making progress. Her father requests to see her and upon arrival at his study is greeted by Leiye. They show her a map depicting Dragon’s Teeth Pass, where the White Jade Sword is rumoured to be hidden. Shocked that her father believes the tale, the three of them take a walk together to the Dragon Pagoda where there is a view of the capital. He asks her if she will help him by learning to use and control her magic and finding the White Jade Sword in order to beat back the desert in this time of transition for the Empire. Ahn agrees, with Leiye to be her teacher, and although her father seems to trust him, Ahn decides she needs to be careful.
That night Leiye takes Ahn to a garden with a smell pond in the middle, as well as a table and a bowl of dirt. He has brought her here to test her magic and find out what other affinities she may have beyond life stealing. It’s then that Ahn realizes not only why they are completely alone, but why her father chose Leiye to train her. If she loses control of her life stealing magic it could kill everyone around her and to her father, Leiye is expendable.
- Do you the the magic that the Diyeh use is really different from that of the Tiensai?
- What do you think happened to Ahn's mother?
- Do you think Altan's sister will actually lead him into the water? Do you think what is happening to Altan is real?
- Do you think that Ahn is right to mistrust Leiye? What do you think he is hiding? Do you think she should mistrust her own father as well?
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