Iron Widow – Xiran Jay Zhao
Science fiction, young adult, fiction.
Zetian found out that her sister died from being enlisted in the efforts of war. She finds herself wanting revenge and intends to act on her revenge with the person who killed her. Yang Guang. Yang Guang chooses her to be his concubine pilot and she murders him during the fight. Zetian expected to be executed but she isn’t. She is being paired off with the infamous Iron Demon, Li Shimian who is known to have done patricide. After their first fight together, they see potential in their pairing. Zetian doesn’t want to settle for only Shimin or her other love interest, Yitzi. She chooses them both and chooses to ensure that no more females are senselessly sacrificed. Shimin and Yitzi join her to change the way their world works.
I had seen this novel all over TikTok and other social media platforms. Mostly the Booktokers I follow had been raving about it so I just got a library copy. Immediately after reading, I went and bought the actual copy for myself to immediately reread it. This was such an amazing book with so many good quotes that are angsty against the male cis heteropatriarchy. Not just that but the author I felt slipped some of her opinions in that deeply resonated with me. The whole world where women are serving men because of their qi in this world reflects how men need women in the world for certain things. Not just that but this book deeply questions gender roles which I love. Gender is a social construct and I felt that there were so many moments in this book that so resonated deep into my soul.
I understand why the author and fans of this novel are raving about it. I thought I wouldn’t have liked this because of the action and mech machines but this book was the exception. The world-building is phenomenal. The cast of characters such as Zetian, Li Shimin, and Yitzi I deeply love. Each of them holds a special place in my heart as they have their place in each other’s hearts. My favorite character, however, has to be Zetian because she isn’t afraid to do what is needed to be done. Sure she is labeled as the ‘bad guy’ but she had her reasoning. Some prince killed her sister even though it wasn’t necessary. Also, the fact that this realm needs women as sacrifices is complete and utter bullshit so I can’t blame Zetian for doing what she did. I admired that Yi Shimin acknowledged that it wasn’t entirely his fault, he was being used as a weapon for winning the battles that always occurred. He decided to go on the right team.
I absolutely loved this novel and I couldn’t leave the world. It was amazingly brilliant and awesome. I highly recommend finding either a book, e-book, or audiobook to give this novel a read. It is a must-read. This has become one of my top favorite books of all time.
This novel is the best. I had to break my April hiatus just to share how much I loved this novel. I waited too long to read this.