Review: Iron Widow Xiran Jay Zhao

TitleIron Widow (#1)
Author: Xiran Jay Zhao
Page Count: 400
Published: 7th October 2021
Genre: Fiction, Sci-fi, Young Adult, Fantasy

The ‘I didn’t pay for this’ warning

I got this as a preview copy from the nice people at Netgalley BUT I will always be honest about a book no matter if I paid for it or not. There are also affiliate links in here, too 💜


LOVED. Got a lot of time for this little gem.

Polyamorous triangle wielding qì-powered mech suits take down the patriarchy.

Honestly, if that didn’t get your attention then we’re a little bit screwed.

I don’t like doing this but I feel it’s the only way I can describe shit right now – if you were to smush Handmaids Tale with Pacific Rim and sprinkle it with The Hunger Games, you’d get Iron Widow. And that, my dearest pals, creates quite the read. Here’s what you’re in for:

✨ Inspired by China’s only women emperor – Wu Zeitan
✨ Patriarchy smashing
✨ Polyamous relationships that will bring a big ol’ grin to your face

Zeitan has one hell of a rough life so far and she’s only 18. Living on the wrong side of the poverty wall, Zeitan lives at the end of her family’s abusive ways enduring her father’s wrath and her grandmother cruelty in form of Lotus Feet (Googling and watching videos about this at 1am is not recommended) all whilst trying to stay alive. On top of that, her sister has been recruited into the war against the Hunduns. Like most women who get sold by their families, she didn’t survive.

The main reason for her death? The mech suits require both a male and female pilot (Ying and Yang) for balance except it’s anything but. The only way they can work successfully is to sacrifice a women’s  (or life force) and very, very few break through to see the light of day again.

On a path of revenge, Zeitan quickly discovered she’s more powerful than most of the men who surround her and that she can break this cycle.

This is an absolutely WILD story and I’m quite frankly here for it. The story will enrage you to your very core and whilst that makes Zeitan an understandable angry character, I totally fell for her and her fuck-this-noise way of smashing the dumb systems of a patriarchal world.

By the time I got to the end, I had forgotten this was a sci-fi book and then got slapped in the face with a twisty-twist I did not see coming. Cannot wait for the second book.

Iron Widow is out 7th October 2021 and you should hook it right into your veins.

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