Imatge de l'autor

Xiran Jay Zhao

Autor/a de Iron Widow

4+ obres 2,531 Membres 108 Ressenyes 1 preferits

Sobre l'autor


Obres de Xiran Jay Zhao

Iron Widow (2021) 2,249 exemplars
Heavenly Tyrant (2024) 76 exemplars

Obres associades

BSFA Awards 2021: Awards Booklet (2022) — Col·laborador — 2 exemplars
BSFA Awards 2022 (2023) — Col·laborador — 1 exemplars


Coneixement comú

Data de naixement
País (per posar en el mapa)
Lloc de naixement
Llocs de residència
British Columbia, Canada
Simon Fraser University
Premis i honors
Astounding Award Nominee for Best New Writer
Rebecca Schaeffer
Biografia breu
Xiran Jay Zhao uses they/them pronouns.



Passion and drive can take you far, and it’s clear from Iron Widow that Xiran Jay Zhao is very committed to the project of this book. But passion and drive alone don’t make for a good book. Even allowing for the fact that this is a young adult novel, this is one of the most juvenile and clumsy things I’ve read in a while.

The prose is bad. It’s bad. It’s “14 year old posts their first fanfic” bad, and not what you’d expect from a twentysomething college graduate—and certainly not in a book that’s supposedly been professionally edited. I lost track of how many sentences made me wince; suffice to say that there were many of the calibre of:

• “His chains rattle in what sounds like a motion of jolting up.” (I said that one out loud to myself in awe.)
• “A bloody haze of sunset gapes at the end of the forest path.” (How can a haze gape?)
• "Eyelids stammering, he returns to sipping from his flask." (How can eyelids stammer?)
• “Yes, and what of it?” I lash my arm. (“Lash out with” your arm rather than self-flagellate, I presume)
• “A warping scream and a flapping of robes lacerate through the stunned haze in my mind.” (It’s a mystery why I kept thinking of “My Immortal” while reading this.)

There’s no plot. Things happen in this book, but there’s no plot. Wu Zetian, the main character, makes repeated references to her plan, but she clearly has none until a couple of pages from the end.

The characters react and interact like they’re in an unusually melodramatic telenovela parody, except this is all terribly in earnest. The relationships are all tell-not-show—there are pages devoted to loving descriptions of gaudy outfits and elaborate hairstyles, and nothing to establish the relationship that the lead character must have had with her dead older sister to spark off a murderous rampage of vengeance like the one she engages in here. I get that a YA novel isn’t going to have any erotic scenes, but there’s no plausible spark—emotional, romantic, or sexual—between any members of the main m/f/m pairing.

Wu Zetian is clearly supposed to be the kind of character you can cheer on, a power fantasy for aspiring Gaslight-Gatekeep-Girlbosses. The narrative frames her as admirable, the antiheroine you’ve got to begrudgingly admit is right—yet when you combine Zetian’s actions (so much murder!) with her lack of character complexity and her emotional immaturity, she just reads like a sociopath.

Iron Widow is very fast-paced and has all the subtlety of a brick through a window, so I can see why some people are into it as a revenge fantasy. But its politics, its world-building, its internal logic, its understanding of its own characters, are all so shallow, trite and muddled that I couldn’t even enjoy it as a popcorn read. XJZ does not display the strength as a writer needed to tackle the weighty topics they tackle here—misogyny, sexual assault, systemic complicity, etc.
… (més)
siriaeve | Hi ha 99 ressenyes més | Apr 21, 2024 |
Ressenya escrita per a Crítics Matiners de LibraryThing .
I very much enjoyed reading this book. I received this book through an Early Reviewers system and I wasn't sure what I'd be reading when I picked this book up. This book does have strong themes of femanine strength but of also challenging the historical gender roles and norms. While I do like seeing the challenging and fighting of the historical ideology of females being "property", at times the story became too 'woke' for my personal taste. The writing of this book was smooth and easy to read. I ended up reading this book so fast because the story/plot were very well thought out and kept moving along. I never felt as though it was slow or boring. Overall, this was a great book and I can't wait to read the next one!… (més)
Lexyw18 | Hi ha 99 ressenyes més | Apr 19, 2024 |
Pacific Rim meets Handmaid’s Tale. Seguramenre sea más un 3,5-3,75.

Mechas “espirituales” luchando contra seres alienigenas. Mucho de lo que sucede es medio previsible, sobretodo el giro final. Pero no lo hace menos entretenido, es mas, he devorado la novela.

Quizá lo que más me ha echado para atrás es alguna de las escenas y referencias a abusos y maltratos, pero ya venia avisado por el content warning a sabiendas que no es algo que me atraiga.

Y, por fin, tenemos representación poliamorosa y bisexual llevada con la mayor naturalidad. Me quiero mucho a los tres.… (més)
Cabask | Hi ha 99 ressenyes més | Mar 27, 2024 |
Whew, that was.... A Lot!!! Maximally chaotic bisexuals piloting giant robots to fight aliens; somewhat gory.

A little explainy about Feelings and Feminism, but not annoyingly so, and I appreciated the way the explanations were used to keep the plot thundering ahead at breakneck pace. The ending was absolutely bananas; I don't even know that it needs the second book, honestly, just leave us with that.

From the time the gods were mentioned as having a space station (a light circling overhead) I was certain that they were manipulating the people on the ground, but I thought they were *making* hunduns, so the twist still got me.… (més)
caedocyon | Hi ha 99 ressenyes més | Feb 23, 2024 |



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