Adult, Mini reviews, Reviews, Spoiler free

Iron Widow #minireview

This book review contains no spoilers!

Author: Xiran Jay Zhao

Series: Iron Widow

Audience: Adult

Rating: ⭐️ ⭐️ ⭐️ ⭐️ ⭐️ 


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.



I’ve really enjoyed this book! Usually I don’t pick up sci-fi books but I really love Iron Widow! It has a unique concept and it’s action packed.

Pilots can control huge mechanical creatures (chrysalis) with their Qi. They require a team existing of a man and woman in order to be used but the woman rarely survives. Zetian’s sister was one of the partners of a pilot but didn’t survive. Now she wants revenge. She applies to become a concubine-pilot and ends up being able to overthrow the male pilot and control the chrysalis. Instead of being killed, Zetian gets the title Iron Widow and gets teamed up with the strongest and most controversial pilots.

While all of this is happening Zetian questions the system. How come that the girls die while the boys are able to continue piloting?

Zetian is morally grey (obviously) and you’ll either love her or hate her. Things aren’t what they seem and it can get very ugly. One thing is for sure. Don’t underestimate Zetian. She will come at you.

TW: Trigger warning: gore, murder, torture, mentions/threats of rape, abuse, sexism, alcohol addiction, suicide ideation

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