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Iron Widow
Iron Widow | Xiran Jay Zhao
94 posts | 75 read | 49 to read
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.
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review
TheBookKeepers
Iron Widow | Xiran Jay Zhao
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Pickpick

I loved this book!! It reminded me of Transformers but in the best possible way 😂 the main character Zetian was unapologetically herself and set fully on revenge. Paired with a fierce prisoner, Shishin, (aka my new book boyfriend) she is determined to survive a world designed to kill her. The ending was pretty epic and I‘m looking forward to the next book!

58 likes2 stack adds
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rachelsbrittain
Iron Widow | Xiran Jay Zhao
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I am so unbelievably excited about this news!

https://www.tor.com/2022/09/22/xiran-jay-zhao-iron-widow-movie/

Soubhiville Oh yeah! It‘s got great potential, hopefully they stay true to the story and characters with it. 2w
kaysworld1 I follow this author on Instagram. 2w
43 likes2 comments
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dylanisreading
Iron Widow | Xiran Jay Zhao
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Starting this today. I finished Kiss & Tell by Adib Khorram earlier. It was a nice escape. I also started Stephen Graham-Jones' latest audio only release but wasn't feeling it. I've been reading a lot, but a lot of it has been a really long, amazing fanfic. 🤣

thegirlwiththelibrarybag There is something very appealing about long fanfics 2mo
Eyelit Same for me on the fanfic! 😃 2mo
dylanisreading @thegirlwiththelibrarybag @Eyelit I'm glad I'm not the only one! 2mo
54 likes3 comments
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abostwick24
Iron Widow | Xiran Jay Zhao
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Pickpick

This was everything I have ever wanted in a sci-fi fantasy novel! The plot kept me on my toes with all of its twists and turns. The message of women‘s empowerment was so well written. And the characters! Oh man, the character development was SPOT ON and beautifully done. I wish I hadn‘t read this book so quickly because I enjoyed every second of it. I will probably reread later this year.
My Review: ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️

booklover3258 Just waiting for the sequel to come out... sigh... 2mo
abostwick24 2023 is just too far away! 2mo
2 likes2 comments
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NomNoms
Iron Widow | Xiran Jay Zhao
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Mehso-so

Iron Widow started off smart, intelligent, and exciting. It hit some strong topics about gender inequality and discussed the true differences about gender roles in a futuristic, yet ancient Chinese society.

However, while it started off strong, it didn't finish that way. The book meanders off into too many topics including polygamy, corruption, love, drug abuse, and independence. Ultimately never addressing any of the topics at all

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Imogen_Price
Iron Widow | Xiran Jay Zhao
Mehso-so

The concept of this book was very exciting, modern sci-fi based upon historic China. I had high hopes. Queer and polyamorous relationships being represented in this story was the reason I stuck it out to the end. The plot twist gives me hope that a sequel may be more enjoyable. Unfortunately, the execution was fairly poor. Even for YA the writing was poor. The feminism was also obvious and ham-fisted.

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Kenyazero
Iron Widow | Xiran Jay Zhao
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Pickpick

This was intense and awesome! I loved seeing historic China reimagined in a sci-fi context with epic mechs. The characters are strong, as are their motives, and the world building is vivid. I also love that everything I wanted or predicted happened, from relationship development to two major twists toward the end. #LGBTQIA #Chinese #SciFi #Mech

13 likes1 stack add
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roronoazoro
Iron Widow | Xiran Jay Zhao
Pickpick

I loved the fact that the plot seemed really obvious and typical, but then there was always a little plot twist and suddenly you had no idea what was going on.
Definitely worth reading.

Full Review: https://www.goodreads.com/review/show/4613070629

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vlwelser
Iron Widow | Xiran Jay Zhao
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Pickpick

This is great. The audiobook is fab. If you're into fantasy, definitely read this one.

#BookSpinBingo @TheAromaofBooks

TheAromaofBooks Woohoo!!! 3mo
36 likes1 comment
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BC_Dittemore
Iron Widow | Xiran Jay Zhao
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Mehso-so

Iron Widow certainly has an agenda, which I don‘t mind, but there are times when it does feel like Xiran Jay Zhao is pummeling their readers. Granted, I am also not Iron Widow‘s target audience, so there‘s that. There are some very fine moments of prose and a lot of great action scenes. The love story didn‘t bother me at all. There was enough in the story to keep me invested. I think it‘s worth reading and I am looking forward to the next entry.

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lissafraser
Iron Widow | Xiran Jay Zhao
Mehso-so

So this book was interesting... I feel like I am totally lost though. I have to admit that I don't know a lot about Asian mythology. This book seemed like a strange mix of mythology and science fiction! I will definitely read the sequel to find out what happens. But the book was not one of my favorites.

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Blerdgal_Fenix
Iron Widow | Xiran Jay Zhao
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Pickpick

This book is 8.5/10 — I would have liked more battles, throuple could have been flushed out better, book was left on a cliffhanger, and little more detailed world building. I would recommend this book. Great long weekend read. I really enjoyed this book. #libby #aapi #lgbtq #poc #woc #china #ironprincess

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Blerdgal_Fenix
Iron Widow | Xiran Jay Zhao
This post contains spoilers
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This book is a cross between pacific rim (movie)/hunger games/ with Chinese historical influences. I think this book could have become a series. A lot of people associate this book with handmaidens tale references, I would have to disagree. If you know anything about Chinese history and the gender inequalities during certain dynastys that would make more sense with hunger games and pacific rim sprinkled in there.

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Blerdgal_Fenix
Iron Widow | Xiran Jay Zhao
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I was at a car show and brought my book. I sat down and read while people walked around. Weather was nice but this pic reminds me of this book. I will say this is a page turner. There are very few slow parts. Gets to the point and the action. #woc #battleready #pilot #poc #aapi #boundfeet

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Blerdgal_Fenix
Iron Widow | Xiran Jay Zhao
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I started this book — Umm we started off rough 🥺 this book will not be easy #poc #woc #boundfeet #fight #figtlikeagirl

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kwmg40
Iron Widow | Xiran Jay Zhao
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Pickpick

Nominated for the Aurora YA and Lodestar (Hugo YA) awards this year, this novel is a hard-hitting, fast-paced story that plays around with the usual YA fantasy tropes. I really enjoyed it and I love the gorgeous cover too.
#auroraawards #hugo2022 #hugoawards

I'm at a bit over 12 hours for the #20in4 readathon. @Andrew65

#BookSpinBingo @TheAromaofBooks

TheAromaofBooks Woohoo!!! 4mo
Andrew65 Well done 👏👏👏 Sounds good. 4mo
28 likes2 comments
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staci.reads
Iron Widow | Xiran Jay Zhao
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Pickpick

Great premise, fast, entertaining read. But I have a problem with a story about a bad ass woman fighting the patriarchy when she hates all the other female characters and most of them are written as pathetic and petty. I also felt it suffered from underdeveloped world building. It's very plot/action driven and needed some depth. I have noticed this in a lot of recent YA books, ⬇️

staci.reads great buzz because they touch on hot-button topics or are written with "own-voices." I love the representation and I am thrilled about the diverse offerings in YA. But shouldn't they also have to be well-written in order to be marketed and hyped? I feel like publishers/editors have gotten lazy. If they know the premise is marketable, they rush to print, without worrying too much about the quality of writing. ⬇️ 4mo
staci.reads It then comes out sounding like semi-decent fan fiction or a great first draft of a novel. Ok, rant over. I just love YA and hate to see this happening. Young readers (and older readers who love YA) deserve better. I'm still calling it a pick because it was entertaining, but 😔. 4mo
Soubhiville Well put! I felt the same way about it. Lots of potential but needed more work. 4mo
thereadingpal I wanted to read it, but... your review is making me second guess my choice 😅 I love representation, but I also love well written books 4mo
67 likes4 comments
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ThePageantHam
Iron Widow | Xiran Jay Zhao
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Pickpick

This is a barbaric yawp of a novel. Our protagonist refreshingly skirts the line of hero and antihero, (justifiably) enraged and out for justice at any cost.
We've got an F/M/M poly relationship wherein the two men are as enamored with each other as they are with her.
On the downside, nothing is given enough time and space, and our protagonist having no women on her side in fighting patriarchy felt misogynistic and too "chosen one" tropey. ?

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Marialou
Iron Widow | Xiran Jay Zhao
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Pickpick

Ferocious and fearless. My favourite book of 2022 so far.

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wideeyedreader
Iron Widow | Xiran Jay Zhao
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Pickpick

Despite a somewhat rocky start, but the end, this book had me DYING to know what happened next!! Zetian is a wild protagonist, and I‘m so excited to see what she gets up to next!

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kera_11
Iron Widow | Xiran Jay Zhao
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new girl boss just dropped !!! Zetain fights so hard against patriarchal definitions and heteronormative ideals that she becomes the opposite of all of them, becoming the Iron Widow, a female pilot who sacrifices the men who are supposed to be using her as a sacrifice. she is angry and brutal and bloodthirsty and you will bow down

8 likes2 stack adds
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Sara_Planz
Iron Widow | Xiran Jay Zhao
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Next up from the TBR pile. I‘ve heard a lot of good things about this one!!!

rachelsbrittain I loved Iron Widow! 6mo
39 likes1 comment
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booklover3258
Iron Widow | Xiran Jay Zhao
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Pickpick

My review of this book can be found on my YouTube Vlog at:

https://youtu.be/wPtcDZaC6Jc

Enjoy!

37 likes1 stack add
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Gnora
Iron Widow | Xiran Jay Zhao
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This color is perfect for this book and this character!

#readingchallange #colors #fantasy #scifi

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IndoorDame
Iron Widow | Xiran Jay Zhao
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Clwojick 🖤🖤🖤 7mo
51 likes1 comment
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IndoorDame
Iron Widow | Xiran Jay Zhao
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Clwojick Stunning! ❤️ 7mo
Christyco125 Ooo, that‘s a good match. 7mo
55 likes2 comments
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IndoorDame
Iron Widow | Xiran Jay Zhao
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Pickpick

I finished up the last book for #LMPBC #Round13 #GroupP & I‘ll get it in the mail ASAP. This was a lot of fun and I flew through it. I thought it was really original and made some bold character choices. I‘m glad it was part of this round. I love how different all our picks were! #LGTBQBookBingo #TimeTravel #BBRC Teen Angst Cyberpunk #PopSugar2022 #ProtagonistWhoUsesAMobilityAid @bibliobard @WanderingBookaneer @phantomx @Kenyazero @LibrarianRyan

Kenyazero I‘ve heard good things about this one! 7mo
LibrarianRyan yeahhh 7mo
61 likes2 comments
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Merethebookgal
Iron Widow | Xiran Jay Zhao
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February‘s book haul consisted of a couple books I‘ve been meaning to buy, two I just heard about, and this amazing LOTR edition I won in a bookstagram giveaway! 😍

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Zoe-h
Iron Widow | Xiran Jay Zhao
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I got the books you sent, @kspenmoll ! Everyone‘s annotations we‘re so fun to read! Thanks to all of you for doing this with me.

#LPMBC @suvata @Tattooedteacher @Alfrazier21

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Chittavrtti
Iron Widow | Xiran Jay Zhao
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February reads read.

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Tattooedteacher
Iron Widow | Xiran Jay Zhao
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Here is the tracking number.

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xicanti
Iron Widow | Xiran Jay Zhao
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I‘m doing the ol‘ book/nail match thing today. Y‘all know I had a major issue with the second chapter, but I‘m glad I fought through the nausea and kept going. IRON WIDOW is otherwise excellent.

Just, really really REALLY brace yourself if you have trouble reading about foot mutilation. I was braced for a lot of horrors thanks to Zhao‘s content warnings, but I wasn‘t prepared for that.

36 likes2 comments
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phantomx
Iron Widow | Xiran Jay Zhao
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Pickpick

Loved every second of reading this book! It revived my love and desire to read books.
Blew my mind to find out that the author was influenced by Darling in the Franxx to write this book(you go my queen!)

A definite YA read for 2022! Thanks @bibliobard for sharing this. I would love to read the sequel with you when it comes out #lmpc #groupp #round13 #ya #lgbtq

bibliobard Sounds like a plan to me! 8mo
17 likes1 stack add1 comment
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xicanti
Iron Widow | Xiran Jay Zhao
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New day, new book. This one‘s long enough that it should take me a couple days if I stick with it. Which is a BIG if, because the second chapter contains graphic foot binding descriptions. Hand- and foot-mutilation makes me so sick I‘ve had to abandon other books that dealt with it. (In one memorable case, I had to get off a bus and lie down on the shelter bench so I didn‘t pass out and/or puke.) So, yeah. We‘ll see how this goes.

SRWCF Wow! 8mo
41 likes1 comment
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Chittavrtti
Iron Widow | Xiran Jay Zhao
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3 likes1 stack add
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phantomx
Iron Widow | Xiran Jay Zhao
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Reached page 200 last night, and planning to continue reading it today. I'm hoping to finish it tonight, and send it out tomorrow morning to @IndoorDame

I finished the Middle Grade graphic novel Lowriders in Space. I can't remember what I did with my notes for, I'll have to continue on in sending it out @LibrarianRyan @WanderingBookaneer @bibliobard @suvata

IndoorDame Yay! 8mo
bibliobard I haven‘t sent out my book either 😅 though in my defense we had ice days that prevented me from getting to the post office 8mo
LibrarianRyan yeahhh. 8mo
See All 8 Comments
IndoorDame I‘m wondering if you had a chance to mail this when you planned, cause I haven‘t gotten it yet. Did the PO give you a suspected arrival date so I can be on the lookout? 8mo
phantomx I was just gonna update you on my progress. I have 100 pages left! I'll try to send it out today or definitely tomorrow. I'll update you on PO arrival date when I send it. Work has been hectic for me. 8mo
IndoorDame @phantomx got it. Thanks! 8mo
phantomx @IndoorDame Just sent out the picks through PO! They should arrive to you by Tuesday 8mo
IndoorDame Great. I‘ll be on the lookout! 8mo
11 likes8 comments
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Lucy_Anywhere
Iron Widow | Xiran Jay Zhao
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Panpan

A fierce feminist East Asian inspired sci-fi that didn‘t live up to my expectations. The MC was shouty and judgemental rather than fierce, she seemed to hate the few other female characters in the story, and she was such a Mary Sue that I disliked her. Also, everything was so over the top that it was exhausting. However, the book did make some insightful points and I appreciated the diversity rep but that alone was not enough to redeem it.

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Bookgoil
Iron Widow | Xiran Jay Zhao
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Well I found my way to survive 2022 chaos and that‘s just read more 🤣. I read 63 books and had a lot of fun reading some shorter sillier books mixed in with some more serious books.

My standouts for the month were:
Iron Widow
Tidesong
This Is Ever After
Heartstopper v 4
Once Upon a Broken Heart
Beasts and Beauty

How was your January for reading?

TheSpineView Wow! You go girl!!💜📖💜📘💜 8mo
33 likes1 comment
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KelsiTaylor
Iron Widow | Xiran Jay Zhao
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Pickpick

In Huaxia, male pilots sacrifice women to help pilot their ships and fight their enemies. Until one pilot sacrifices the wrong woman, leading to her sister delivering such swift vengeance, she becomes what everyone fears-a female pilot capable of sacrificing men instead, but she‘s not as easy to kill as they thought.
Zetian is one of my favorite main characters EVER. Absolutely everyone should read this book.

kera_11 this sounds awesome, add it to my shopping cart pls 8mo
6 likes1 stack add1 comment
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sebrittainclark
Iron Widow | Xiran Jay Zhao
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TheAromaofBooks Woohoo!!! 8mo
58 likes1 comment
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phantomx
Iron Widow | Xiran Jay Zhao
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Jumping into to this really late(sorry Group P) I'm getting the ball rolling with my reading today #GroupP #lmpbc @bibliobard @WanderingBookaneer @IndoorDame @suvata

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Linsaysread
Iron Widow | Xiran Jay Zhao
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Pickpick

This book exceeded all my expectations, but how is there no set release date for the next one ?!?

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Thereal_genghis_khan
Iron Widow | Xiran Jay Zhao
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Pickpick

This book takes place in the future in a dystopian world and follows the life of a young girl named Zetian who volunteers to be a concubine co-pilot. As a co-pilot, her life force is the fuel used to operate a Chrysalis, a giant transformer like machine, to, under a pilots control, fight against alien invaders. But when revenge leads her to unknown strength, she, a woman, labelled weak by society, works to prove that she is lesser than no man.

Thereal_genghis_khan Xiran Jay Zhao uses a first person perspective to engage the reader and let them feel exactly what Zetian is feeling. She uses words like I and we to put us into the shoes of her characters. If you are interested in fantasy and action, this book is a must read for you. (edited) 9mo
MissYaremcio This looks like an amazing book! Thanks for the review Caleb! 6/6 9mo
4 likes1 stack add2 comments
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Soubhiville
Iron Widow | Xiran Jay Zhao
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Mehso-so

🔼🤣

The story here was good, and I loved the main character‘s determination to turn her country‘s patriarchal rules on they‘re heads. Also the different relationship dynamic was really refreshing, especially in YA.

Unfortunately the writing wasn‘t great IMO.

I‘m glad to have read this, and I may give the sequel a try in hopes that the writing matures.

If I sit on a book think anyone would buy it? Probably not for $1000! I‘ll even sign it 🤣

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night_shift
Iron Widow | Xiran Jay Zhao
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Pickpick

5 outta 5 ⭐

😭😍 I really loved this! This is a sorta reimagining of Wu Zetian, an Empress in China during the 600s, except set in a scifi world with dope mechas (that disgustingly sacrifice girls to run). Zetian is relentlessly feminist throughout and made me mutter hell yes at many points. AND there's a polygamous relationship, which I loved. I called the twist at the end way early, but very stoked to get the sequel and see wtf she does!

night_shift Read Jan. 15-16 ⭐ MC uses mobility aid #PopSugarReadingChallenge ⭐ chapters have titles #The52BookClub2022 9mo
39 likes1 stack add1 comment
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Zuhkeeyah
Iron Widow | Xiran Jay Zhao
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Pickpick

Wow. I couldn‘t put this book down from page one. All my to do lists were ignored because I couldn‘t stop reading. The heroine, Zetian, sets out to avenge her sister and finds herself labeled as an Iron Widow when she turns gender norms upside down. So many truths about why women are often forced by society to conform to a system that gives them little freedom. I may have clapped a few times when Zetian delivered scathing rebuttals to commanders.

Zuhkeeyah Rating: ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️✨ I‘m already excited for the next book. 9mo
DrexEdit I'm totally down for an asian-inspired space fantasy that makes you ignore all your to do lists! 😊 👍 9mo
9 likes1 stack add2 comments
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BookishTrish
Iron Widow | Xiran Jay Zhao
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Pickpick

A rare book bought for love of the author photo. Michael Bay meets Margaret Atwood meets Chinese history. I was sucked in by the intense feminist rage and fighting robots, loved the romantic entanglements, but felt the ending fell a bit flat.

vlwelser Is that really the author photo? Because that is hilarious. 9mo
BookishTrish @vlwelser It is indeed! 9mo
Reggie Sounds good. Stacked. 9mo
62 likes2 stack adds3 comments
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Nessavamusic
Iron Widow | Xiran Jay Zhao
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Bailedbailed

I‘m sad to say I‘m bailing on this one. It is just so unpleasant and difficult content to read. I‘m simply not in a place to read it. I made in 50% because it is a well constructed world with really interesting Sci-fi elements. However the cruelty, though accurate to the history this is inspired by, is just too difficult to read.
Sadly this was my #bookspin book
#Booked2022 - set in China

kspenmoll I agree re cruelty & violence. 9mo
Soubhiville I‘m about a third of the way in. I‘m liking the main character a lot. 9mo
Nessavamusic She is a great character, just not in the mind space for this one 9mo
See All 7 Comments
Cinfhen That‘s perfectly reasonable to put a book aside that makes you uncomfortable 😣 9mo
Flaneurette Love the bookmark 🔖! 9mo
TheAromaofBooks Sometimes a book just isn't the right fit!! 9mo
BarbaraTheBibliophage Take care of you!! That‘s more important than a book, especially when there are zillions of options. 9mo
46 likes7 comments
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Sumi
Iron Widow | Xiran Jay Zhao
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Pickpick

Amazing. Adventure, setting-do, revolution, giant aliens, powers from both humans & aliens that I cannot explain & a very twisty at the end.

10 likes1 stack add