The Iron Widow, by Xiran Jay Zhao, reviewed

//The Iron Widow, by Xiran Jay Zhao, reviewed

The Iron Widow, by Xiran Jay Zhao, reviewed

The Iron Widow

We look at this interesting fusion of ancient and hyper modern by The Iron by Xiran Jay Zhao. See more about this book on the publisher’s website here.

The Iron Widow, by Xiran Jay Zhao, reviewed

This is an interesting book, quite steam punk with it’s atmosphere of old, ancient cultures, and very new, blended, mashed up cyber tech. Before reading it we didn’t know that it is the retelling of old Chinese stories / myths / legends around the only female empress. Reading the book several younger female members of the team expressed interest in it. The book is definitely aimed at the audience, and in terms of creating a kick-ass bold female character it does seem to work well.

The lead character has a credible and believable personality. You can see that the author is making some effective and well observed comments about the role of women in modern and older societies – but it is done in a good way, and doesn’t feel overly polemic or preachy. The story remained readable, and didn’t suffer for those points being made. It is an interesting debut and we will be passing it on to our younger readers, of both sexes, to check it out.

The author of the book is described as ‘they’, but the bio mentions one person, so does this mean two people wrote it, or one person who wishes to identify as gender plural? These new elements of self description seem to still have some aspects to resolve if clarity is desired, though may it’s not? Either way it is a fun romp though future, dragon-esque battle machines and also felt relevant in the context of the terrible war machine battle plays taking place in the Ukraine too.

More about the book

The boys of Huaxia dream of the celebrity status that comes with piloting Chrysalises – giant transforming robots that battle the aliens beyond the Great Wall. Their female co-pilots are expected to serve as concubines and sacrifice their lives.

When 18-year-old Zetian offers herself up as a concubine-pilot, her plan is to assassinate the ace male pilot responsible for her sister’s death. But on miraculously emerging from the cockpit unscathed after her first battle, she is declared an Iron Widow – the most feared pilot of all.

Now that Zetian has had a taste of power, she sets her sights on bigger things. The time has come to stop more girls from being sacrificed.

More about the author

Xiran Jay Zhao (they/them) is a first-generation immigrant to Canada from small-town China. A recent graduate from Vancouver’s Simon Fraser University, they wrote sci-fi and fantasy books while they probably should’ve been studying more biochemical pathways. You can find them on Twitter @XiranJayZhao for daily shitposts, Instagram as xiranjayzhao for cosplays and very extra outfits and YouTube as Xiran Jay Zhao for videos about Chinese history and culture. Iron Widow is their first novel, has sold in 11 territories worldwide and was a No.1 bestseller.

Category: Teen & Young Adult Fiction | Teen & Young Adult Science Fiction | Teen & Young Adult Social Issues

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By | 2022-03-04T13:15:28+00:00 March 4th, 2022|Technology|Comments Off on The Iron Widow, by Xiran Jay Zhao, reviewed