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Iron Widow

(Iron Widow #1)

4.45  ·  Rating details ·  551 ratings  ·  481 reviews
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
Hardcover, 400 pages
Expected publication: September 21st 2021 by Penguin Teen
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Average rating 4.45  · 
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Xiran Jay Zhao
Mar 22, 2020 rated it it was amazing  ·  (Review from the author)

Been seeing some confusion about this so thought I'd clarify here: this book is not historical fantasy or alternate history! It's a story set in a totally different sci-fi world with characters who are only inspired by historical figures from across Chinese history (not just the Tang dynasty). Lots of creative liberties were taken for thematic purposes, so the characters largely only resemble the historical figures in personality and general viii
anna (½ of readsrainbow)
this is the feminist agenda, actually

the way this book talks abt misogyny! abt taking control of ur body & ur destiny! abt vengeance! the way it incorporates chinese history into the story!

also iron widow looked at the tired jealousy-ridden love triangle trope & said "hold my beer, i'll make ALL THREE of them fall in love with EACH OTHER"

rep: Chinese-coded cast & setting, bi mcs
tw: gore, murder, torture, mentions of rape, threats of rape, misogyny, femicide, suicide ideation, abuse, alcohol addi
chai ♡
"Pacific Rim meets The Handmaid's Tale in a polyamorous reimagining of China's only female emperor"

I guess life is just that unimportant thing that’s happening before I get to read this book
mina reads™️
Mar 30, 2020 marked it as to-read
Polyam instead of love triangles in YA? I can’t wait!
But this is inspired by Pacific Rim and East Asian myth!!!!!! I’m hype
Sep 09, 2020 marked it as to-read
:] this is gonna be everything, me thinks :]

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Chloe Gong
May 30, 2021 rated it it was amazing
Absolutely epic. This is the historical-inspired, futuristic sci-fi mash-up of my wildest dreams. Iron Widow charges headfirst into a world of giant mechas and uncompromising characters. The brutal beauty of Xiran Jay Zhao’s writing kept me glued to the page from start to finish.
Althea | themoonwholistens ☾
ARC is ready and secured T_T i think i’m going to cry

*Thank you to the publicist at -Penguin Teen/Penguin Random House Canada- for sending me an ARC to review. All thoughts and opinions are my own.*

4/27/21 update: i also found out that this is historical fantasy or historically inspired... if I wasn't already in before, I am 100% in now.

pilots and pacific rim. those are my key words when it comes to sci fi books now i guess.

Elle (ellexamines)
Apr 01, 2020 marked it as 2021
Apr 02, 2020 marked it as might-read

✨ Inspired by East Asian mythology?
✨ Pitched as Pacific Rim meets The Handmaid's Tale?
✨ A young woman trying to smash the patriarchy with her own two hands?
✨ A love triangle that ends with a healthy, polyamorous relationship?
✨ Revenge-driven plot?

This book is so queer and Asian, and none of us is ready for the flavor it's about to bring to the world.


Iron Widow to the straights:

Rebecca Schaeffer
Mar 30, 2020 rated it it was amazing
I was lucky enough to read an early draft of this book, and you guys are not ready. Zetian is the take no prisoners heroine we all need, and she will crush everyone who dares to try and push her down.
may ➹
Zetian is so terrifying and merciless and maniacal…… and I think she’s very cool for that!

rtc but the bottom line is read it for very Neat very Cool very Hot Zetian

// buddy read with melanie!!
katie ❀
wu zetian, along with her boyfriends, are wholeheartedly invited to step on me.

Lia Carstairs
Jun 21, 2021 rated it really liked it
i got some Skyward vibes from this and i just loved it

also zetian, plz marry me


Thank you Penguin Random House Canada for sending me an ARC via Netgalley in exchange for an honest review!!
May 04, 2021 rated it it was ok
Okay, I need to preface this by saying I enthusiastically requested this arc because Xiran is one of my all-time favorite influencers. Their commentary, videos, etc, I love them. But this book is bad.


-Feminist story
- Alt love triangle (MFM poly it seems?)
- Scifi/alt-history
- Chinese history inspired
- Big robots
- Bisexual rep

Back to the book itself, the tagline is Pacific Rim meets Handmaid's Tale (It does rely a lot on Pacific Rim) Zetian is a young girl who offers herself up to pair with
Cindy ✩☽♔
May 13, 2021 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: arc, fantasy, lgbt, netgalley
All the stars in the world!!!

This book might be everything I've ever wanted in a YA book. EVER.

I always tend to be annoyed when books promise me darkness and bloodshed but fail to deliver. This book, on other hand, lives up to its promises. Zetian is a determined, fierce, young woman with a vendetta. She is not tied down by what society deems as appropriate or the morals and shame they try to force upon her. For all their attempts to oppress her, they only make her more determined to break fre
/ / / Read more reviews on my blog / / /

“But I have no faith in love. Love cannot save me.
I choose vengeance.”

Xiran Jay Zhao has written an ambitious debut novel that should definitely appeal to fans of Pacific Rim & The Hunger Games. Iron Widow is likely one of the most creative books that I've read this year (which is saying something given that atm my read count is around 150+) as it presents readers with a unique blend of genres and concepts: fantasy and sci-fi elements are incorporated i
Ayla Greenbriar-Carstairs
This book is a breath of fresh air, and believe me, you are not ready for it. I mean, seriously - it has everything. Asian-rep, a completely independent sci-fi world inspired by Chinese history, a classic YA triangle that ends in a healthy polyamorous relationship, a beautiful cover, and most of all, the last time the patriarchy can enjoy their insultingly pitiful gender roles.

Well done, the author deserves a round of applause.

Wu Zetian, our protagonist, is such a good female character. The fate
this is a lot to process

Rep: Chinese-coded cast & setting, bi mcs

CWs: gore, murder, torture, mentions of rape, threats of rape, misogyny, femicide
Joan He
May 30, 2021 rated it it was amazing
umm that epilogue
Mar 30, 2020 marked it as to-read-so-bad-it-hurts

Not to mention there are also 'giant magical mecha based on creatures from East Asian myth,' aaaaah

Nenia ✨ I yeet my books back and forth ✨ Campbell
I am a simple bitch. If I see a book about fighting robots, I add it to my shelves. 🤖
Jun 25, 2021 rated it really liked it
cws: murder, torture, mentions/threats of rape, abuse, suicide ideation, alcohol addiction

rep: chinese-coded cast + world, disabled mc, bisexual mcs


currently trying to recover from that mind-blowing epilogue phew.

wow okay, this is one of THE most entertaining books i've read in a while. the plot is fast-paced blazing full speed ahead and i enjoyed that so much, i honestly couldn't stop reading.

pitched as a reimagining of the rise of china's only female emperor - in a world ravaged by str
oh my god this book is based on east asian mythology AND has poly rep i’m very very excited
Meg Long
Mar 30, 2020 rated it it was amazing
THIS BOOK. Hands down one of the most gripping books with the MOST ferocious main character I have ever, ever read.

I was super lucky and got to read an early version from the author. I had been in a reading slump so to say this ended that slump is an understatement. Wu Zetian grabs you by the throat from the first page with her tenacity and absolute commitment to her goals -- revenge on a murderous prince which then morphs into destroying not only alien invaders but also the all-controlling pat
i am a simple gal. chinese canadian authors make me happy.


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.

I am curious but is that part sounding like the relationship between the humanoid Fatimas (mostly female) and the Headliners (or the cavalier, mostly male) from Mamoru Nagano's The Five Star Stories, who have to co-pilot giant robots known as the Mortar Heads
This sounds badass af and it has polyam rep
Lady Amanda
Jul 05, 2021 marked it as to-read
Shelves: upcoming
I got an advanced copy of this book and I'm SO EXCITED! AHHHH

I received this book for free and am leaving this review voluntarily

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h o l l i s
I've gone from one debut to another, had huge expectations for both, and yet wow what a different experience has been had. I'm actually | | close to rounding up and giving this the full five star treatment, to be honest. It's so close to that feeling. And wow has it been a long time since I've felt that.

You've probably seen the pitch by now : THE HANDMAID'S TALE meets Pacific Rim and I think that's actually a great vibe to have going into this because it lives upto it so well. But there's also a
Kat Cho
May 23, 2021 rated it it was amazing
This book blew me away!
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