Iron Widow

Iron Widow (Book 1)

Xiran Jay Zhao
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An instant #1 New York Times bestseller! Pacific Rim meets The Handmaid's Tale in this blend of Chinese history and mecha science fiction for YA readers. The boys of Huaxia dream of pairing up with girls to pilot Chrysalises, giant transforming robots that can battle the mecha aliens that lurk beyond the Great Wall. It doesn't matter that the girls often die from the mental strain. When 18-year-old Zetian offers herself up as a concubine-pilot, it's to assassinate the ace male pilot responsible for her sister's death. But she gets her vengeance in a way nobody expected-she kills him through the psychic link between pilots and emerges from the cockpit unscathed. She is labeled an Iron Widow, a much-feared and much-silenced kind of female pilot who can sacrifice boys to power up Chrysalises instead. To tame her unnerving yet invaluable mental strength, she is paired up with Li Shimin, the strongest and most controversial male pilot in Huaxia . But now that Zetian has had a taste of power, she will not cower so easily. She will miss no opportunity to leverage their combined might and infamy to survive attempt after attempt on her life, until she can figure out exactly why the pilot system works in its misogynist way-and stop more girls from being sacrificed.


Well, I’m not doing it. Yizhi is the one manning the tweezers my sister left behind. Kneeling on the bamboo mat spread beneath us over the damp forest soil, he lifts my chin while ripping out bristle ...

About the Author:

XIRAN JAY ZHAO is a first-gen immigrant from small-town China who was raised by the Internet . A recent graduate of Vancouver's Simon Fraser University, they wrote science fiction and fantasy while they probably should have been studying more about biochemical pathways. You can find them on Twitter for memes, Instagram for cosplays and fancy outfits, and YouTube for long videos about Chinese history and culture. Iron Widow is their first novel.

Ratings (4):

Loved It (3)
Liked It (1)

Reader Stats (11):

Read It (3)
Want To Read (7)
Did Not Finish (1)


Loved It

Great Story, great setting!

Only thing I mourn that could have turned it into a masterpiece: I think the characters are a bit too flat and not complex enough. It is too easy to hate who is supposed to be "not on the good side" and "lets oppress all women"-side and too easy to like who is supporting the main char. It lacks a bit grey characters who are not inherently evil or have some kind of redemption arc ging from a single-minded traditional mind to a more open and tolerant mind. At the same time it would have been nice to see some kind of development in the main char, she stays the same, just gets more powerfull. I like to have a non-traditional and not-perfect protagonist though, just wish she would have been a bit more complex.

3/22/2023 2:15:22 PM

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