AUDIENCE: Adult, Young Adult
LENGTH: 80-100 k
EDITOR: Boyd Bottorff
PUBLISHED THROUGH: Air Castle Media
One part action/adventure, two parts romance, Across the Jade Sea is a novel geared towards young adults and more than suitable for the young-at-heart adult. Batiya, a nineteen-year-old tomboy, has managed to get a position as an engineer onboard a steam ship, thanks to an accommodating uncle. The novel opens when the ship rescues a boat full of foreigners, who have been set adrift after their ship was attacked. Shortly after, Batiya’s ship is also attacked, and in the chaos she ends up in a small rescue boat with one of the foreigners.
Following the escape, the two strangers spend five harrowing days at sea. During this time both Batiya and the foreigner, whom she knows as Chunru, show their mettle as well as their dedication to keeping each other alive. It becomes clear that Chunru is being chased by a dangerous group of people, but he is either unwilling or unable to tell Batiya exactly who it is that wants him dead.
When they are rescued by a cruise liner, their troubles have only just begun. Onboard, the ladies snub Batiya for the nights she spent alone with a stranger, and the men think she can be used because of her supposedly promiscuous past. Meanwhile, Chunru is looked down on because of his foreign appearance. Eventually, they are sent ashore, and what ensues is an action-packed trip back to Batiya’s home, in which Chunru’s killers are in hot pursuit.
With a fast plot and truly engaging dialogue, Across the Jade Sea was an easy book to get into, and a hard one to put down. My main complaint was with the romance, which felt unnecessary and forced. Also, it is never clear who, exactly, is chasing Chunru, but perhaps that question will be answered in future novels. Otherwise, the characters were well developed and Batiya was an instantly likeable heroine.
Across the Jade Sea is the perfect beach read for fans of seafaring adventures, strong female leads and action-packed chase scenes. Beware of the rushed romance, but don’t let it scare you away. The snappy dialogue and charming characters are well worth your time.
4 out of 5 stars
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Amy R. Biddle, co-founder and editor at Underground Book Reviews, was raised in the Blue Ridge Mountains and has since made a living on the great blue sea. Find out more at www.amyrbiddle.com or check out her book, The Atheist's Prayer.