Today I am featuring books that surprised me this year! All three books are first work and I never expected to love them so much!

I already talked a lot about the first two, The Maid and Lessons in Chemistry so I won’t add to what has been already said except that both these works are pure genius and feature unusual and unconventional heroines!

And the other surprise is Iron Widow by Xiran Jay Zhao. Here too the heroine is very unconventional for her time and society!

“I drop Yang Guang in front of me and set a tiny lotus foot on his corpse. (…) I lift my head, an unhinged grin on my face.(…) I know that my eyes and the qi meridian in my face must be blazing silver-white. “You’ve been living a drem long enough. Welcome to your Nightmare.””


I wanted to begin my review with that “word” wow because that’s what that book did to me: it wowed me, amazed me!

I began this book with no expectations at all, prepared to be mildly entertained at best as I got it in a book box and it does not always work for me, the book chosen in a book box I mean.

I began reading that story about a girl set on a revenge path, ready to die for her revenge and …I devoured the book as fast as I could.

When reading, I had these strange flashbacks of my youth, a loong time ago, when I watched TV and the first “anime” with Goldorak, a huge robot coming from another planet and piloted by the heroic, alien and handsome “Pince Actarus”.

Because that’s what pilots and by extension, concubines, did in this book: pilot huge “Chrysalises”, big robots that can morph into other forms, higher phorms, depending on the qi pressure level of their pilots!

That alone sounded already pretty cool!

But what surprised me was the blend of futuristic elements (see above) with past ones as we are in a society reminding me of traditional Chinese society where the true worth of a family resided in its sons and girls are just bargaining chips to get more power at best or be rid of at worst.

let’s sum this up:

-amazing futuristic world building set in a deeply traditional and patriarchal society;

-a fight for the human race survival against alien Hundun;

-a strong willed heroine forced to cooperate with a criminal pilot and longing after her best friend;

But I didn’t tell you all!

The best are the plot twists!!!!!!!

Not one but many plot twists with the biggest of all at the end!

And now, I need the sequel!

This is a debut novel that doesn’t feel like a debut novel at all but rather like a masterpiece!

If you haven’t read it already, just do it!

Thanks for reading!


Similar Posts

Let's talk!

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.


  1. I really loved both The Maid and Lessons in Chemistry. I actually DNFed Iron Widow when I first tried to read it, mainly because I just wasn’t in the mood for fantasy at the time. I really need to revisit it.