art of various scenes between a young chinese couple. the art is all fantasy. with vibrant colours. top one shows a heartfelt conversation. middle one is a lovey dovey one. third one is them standing ready for battle in action poses

courtesy, Xiran Jay Zhao

What happens when you take all the pulpy goodness from Indian soaps and K-dramas, mash it up with Pacific Rim and Robotech, infuse it with a lot of authentic Chinese history, and aim it at teens (err, young adults)?

You get Iron Widow by Xiran Jay Zhao, that’s what!

I wish someone takes Indian history and creates such awesome fictional worlds from them.
This was such a crazy, rollicking ride! I cannot wait for their next.

My highlights, from the book

In hindsight, I was such a fool to have assumed Qieluo would stand by me just because she’s also female.
It was my grandmother who crushed my feet in half.
It was my mother who encouraged me and Big Sister to offer ourselves up as concubines so our brother could afford a future bride.
It was always the village aunties who’d sit around gossiping about which girl hadn’t been married off yet, despite complaining nonstop about their own husbands. And then they’d congratulate new mothers for being “blessed” to have a boy, despite being female themselves.

How do you take the fight out of half the population and render them willing slaves? You tell them they’re meant to do nothing but serve from the minute they’re born. You tell them they’re weak. You tell them they’re prey.
You tell them over and over, until it’s the only truth they’re capable of living.

Feedback on this post? Mail me at feedback at this domain

P.S. Subscribe to my mailing list!
Forward these posts and letters to your friends and get them to subscribe!
P.P.S. Feed my insatiable reading habit.