SIGN UP: Iron Widow by Xiran Jay Zhao

Genre: young adult, fantasy, historical fiction

Diversity tags: author of color (chinese american); poc representation (chinese-inspired world); lgbtq+ representation (bisexual; polyamory)

Publication date: 21 September

Publisher: Penguin Teen

Cover: Ashley Mackenzie (artist)

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Synopsis:


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.

Content/Trigger Warnings

  • Violence and abuse, footbinding, suicide ideation, discussion and references to sexual assault (though no on-page depictions), alcohol addiction, and torture.

About the Author

Xiran Jay Zhao is a first-gen immigrant from small-town China who was raised by the Internet​. A recent graduate of Vancouver’s Simon Fraser University, they wrote science fiction and fantasy while they probably should have been studying more about biochemical pathways. You can find them on Twitter for memes, Instagram for cosplays and fancy outfits, and YouTube for long videos about Chinese history and culture. Iron Widow is their first novel.

About the Tour

The tour for Iron Widow accommodates book bloggers and booktubers. It is open to both US-based and international bookish creators, with priority being given to applicants who identify with the following representation: Asian, bisexual, and polyamorous. The tour’s official hashtag is #IronWidowTour.

The tour will run from August 23rd to August 27th. Although book reviews are required for this tour, you are more than welcome to add other creative or promotional content of your preference.

Digital review copies of Iron Widow will be distributed through NetGalley. This means that you need a NetGalley account to participate.

Sign-ups will close within this week and the selected tour hosts will be contacted via email. The CBT Twitter account will announce once the confirmation emails have been sent out.

For other concerns or inquiries, you are more than welcome to leave a comment!

Published by Shealea

Shealea likes sunflowers, research, and inclusive literature. In 2020, she graduated from the University of the Philippines Diliman with a bachelor's degree in Communication Research.

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