First Lines Friday – 4 March 2022

First Lines Friday is a weekly feature for book lovers hosted by Wandering Words. What if we judged a book by its cover, its author or its prestige instead of judging it by its opening lines?

This week’s First Lines Friday book is an exciting sci-fi/fantasy that came out in September of 2021!

First Lines


“For eighteen years, my unibrow has saved me from being sold into a painful, terrifying death.
Today is the day I’m releasing it from its gracious service.”


And the book is…….

Iron Widow by Xiran Jay Zhao!

Iron Widow by Xiran Jay Zhao

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.

The description of Iron Widow reminded me of Pacific Rim, so it was an automatic add to my TBR list. Giant transforming robots? Assassination via psychic link? Feminist Power? Sign me up! I recently got my hands on an ebook copy and I’m so excited to get to read Iron Widow. Also, I highly recommend following the author Xiran Jay Xhao on Tiktok.


Have you read Iron Widow by Xiran Jay Xhao? What are you reading this weekend? Let me know in the comments!

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