________________ CM . . . . Volume XXIII Number 11. . . .November 18, 2016


Finding Jade. (Daughters of Light).

Mary Jennifer Payne.
Toronto, ON: Dundurn, 2017.
215 pp., trade pbk., epub & PDF, $12.99 (pbk.), $8.99 (epub), $12.99 (PDF).
ISBN 978-1-4597-3500-2 (pbk.), ISBN 978-1-4597-502-6 (epub), ISBN 978-1-4597-3501-9 (PDF).

Grades 8-11 / Ages 13-17.

Review by Tara Stieglitz.

** /4

Reviewed from Advance Reading Copy.



I swallow hard. Don’t be afraid. Don’t be afraid. I repeat the manta in my mind, knowing that if I allow the terror that is bubbling under the surface to be felt, these demon children are going to instantly be strengthened.

“Do you know how to get to the river?” Lily asks. She’s keeping her eyes on the children. They’ve stopped moving and are standing as still as statues, heads cocked to the right, as though intently listening to something. I wonder if they can hear us.

“Yes,” Raphael replies. “You follow me, and Jasmine will bring up the rear. No one is to stop or look back. No matter what we hear or think might be happening. Understand?”

I understand. He means if something happens to me, he and Lily are not to stop.

“On the count of three,” he says. “One… two –“ He doesn’t even get to three before there’s a loud scurrying sound as the demon children rush forward as us like an army of cockroaches.


Finding Jade is the first novel in the “Daughters of Light” series which is set in a near-future where climate change has run rampant and made parts of the world uninhabitable. The novel introduces readers to Jasmine and her host of real-world problems. Her twin sister, Jade, was abducted five years ago and hasn’t been seen or heard from since, Jasmine’s mother is dying of complications from lupus, and Jasmine’s been suddenly transferred to a new high school. Soon her real-world problems are replaced with much stranger problems. Her new school is populated by an odd overabundance of female twins, and, while riding the subway, she suddenly finds herself transported to the Place-in-Between where she spots her missing sister but is unable to get to her. Jade soon learns the truth, that she is a Seer and that she needs to rescue her twin from the Place-in-Between, a limbo-like world full of tortured souls and demons.

     Overall, Finding Jade lacks detail. Many characters are unmemorable, and others are a collection of stock stereotypes. The reader is reminded multiple times that climate change has ravaged the earth, but the book fails to demonstrate how this manifests in the day-to-day lives of the characters. Instead of being thought-provoking, this blunt approach comes across as heavy-handed. A good plot could have made up for these shortcoming, but the central conflict of the novel is poorly explained. The reader never finds out why demons have been infiltrating the world, and when the ultimate villains of the novel are revealed in the end, their motive is never satisfactorily explained. Perhaps this is simply because it is the first novel in a series, but it makes the book feel incomplete and insubstantial.

     Finding Jade is a weak start to an intriguing sounding series. The novel comes across as underdeveloped and scant on detail. While not an essential part of a library collection, it’s too soon to write off the whole series based on the first book.


Tara Stieglitz is a librarian at MacEwan University in Edmonton, AB.

To comment on this title or this review, send mail to cm@umanitoba.ca.

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ISSN 1201-9364
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