Iron Widow, by Xiran Jay Zhao, is a mesmerizing science fiction re-imagining of the remarkable real-life of Wu Zetian--the first and only female emperor of the Ancient Chinese Tang dynasty, set in a futuristic China with cultural historical elements. The book beautifully describes Chinese cultural history, mixed with advanced technology and mythology. It is described as a ‘Pacific Rim meets The Handmaid’s Tale’, and truly lives up to that description. It is an inspiring novel about feminism, mecha robots and a polyamory relationship. I was enamoured with the authors incredible world-building and intense plot. Recommended for 14 and above, due to dark themes and topics.
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. No one cares that their female co-pilots must 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 man responsible for her sister's death. But on miraculously emerging from the cockpit unscathed after her first battle, she has a new plan. The time has come to overturn the entire patriarchal military system.
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