Iron Widow Book Review

Iron Widow Book Review

 "Iron Widow" by Xiran Jay Zhao stands as a formidable titan, not merely for its ambitious storytelling but for its bold reimagining of historical narratives with a futuristic twist. At its heart, "Iron Widow" is a tale of vengeance, empowerment, and the relentless quest for equality, wrapped within a world that is as brutal as it is mesmerizing.

A Story of Vengeance and Empowerment

The novel introduces us to Wu Zetian, a protagonist whose fiery determination is ignited by personal tragedy—the death of her sister at the hands of a patriarchal society that values women only as commodities. Zetian's journey is not just about avenging her sister but about dismantling the very structures that perpetuate misogyny and inequality. Zhao's writing, vivid and unapologetic, does not shy away from exploring themes of gore, murder, torture, and the myriad ways in which society weaponizes misogyny against women. Yet, amidst this darkness, Zetian's resilience shines brightly, offering a beacon of hope and defiance.

A Triumphant Rejection of Patriarchal Norms

What sets "Iron Widow" apart is its unabashed confrontation of patriarchy, encapsulated in Zetian's realization that "Men want us so badly for our bodies, yet hate us so much for our minds." This sentiment echoes throughout the novel, as Zetian navigates a world that seeks to diminish her strength and intellect. However, Zhao crafts a narrative that not only highlights these injustices but also showcases the power of resistance and the potential for change. Zetian's journey is a testament to the strength found in rejecting societal norms and forging one's path, even in the face of insurmountable odds.

A Celebration of Love's Boundless Nature

At its core, "Iron Widow" is also a revolutionary exploration of love and relationships. The novel presents a polyamorous relationship that challenges traditional notions of love, jealousy, and partnership. Zhao delicately navigates the complexities of these relationships, showcasing the beauty of love that is not confined by societal expectations. This representation is a breath of fresh air in YA literature, offering a nuanced perspective on the infinite capacity of the human heart to love and be loved in return.

A Rich Tapestry of Chinese History and Futuristic Innovation

"Iron Widow" is set against a backdrop that skillfully blends elements of Chinese history with science fiction, creating a world that is both familiar and utterly alien. The novel pays homage to Chinese culture and history while infusing it with innovative technology and a futuristic vision. This melding of past and future serves as a powerful reminder of the enduring strength of cultural heritage, even in the face of technological advancement.

Conclusion: A Must-Read Masterpiece

In conclusion, "Iron Widow" is a masterful blend of historical fiction, science fiction, and feminist critique. It is a novel that dares to imagine a world where women can wield power, seek vengeance, and love freely. Xiran Jay Zhao has crafted a narrative that is as thought-provoking as it is thrilling, making "Iron Widow" a must-read for anyone seeking a story that challenges conventions and celebrates the indomitable spirit of resistance. With its richly developed characters, intricate world-building, and unflinching exploration of societal issues, "Iron Widow" earns its place as a landmark novel in the YA genre.

Quotes I Like-


Men wants us so badly for our bodies, yet hate us so much for our minds.” ― Xiran Jay Zhao, Iron Widow

The entitled assholes of the world are sustained by girls who forgive too easily.” ― Xiran Jay Zhao, Iron Widow

But I have no faith in love. Love cannot save me. I choose vengeance.” ― Xiran Jay Zhao, Iron Widow

Love isn't some scarce resource to battle over. Love can be infinite, as much as your heart can open.” ― Xiran Jay Zhao, Iron Widow

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.” ― Xiran Jay Zhao, Iron Widow

Perks of refusing to play by the rules: you don’t have to choose between the boy who’d torture a man to death with you and the boy who welcomes you back with pastries.” ― Xiran Jay Zhao, Iron Widow

The world does not deserve my respect. It is not worthy of my kindness or compassion.” ― Xiran Jay Zhao, Iron Widow

What I have learned through this madness is that you can absolutely solve your problems by throwing money at them. If you can't, you probably don't have enough money for that particular problem.” ― Xiran Jay Zhao, Iron Widow “

He should be the Iron King, and I should be the Iron Queen. Yet Iron Demon and Iron Widow is all they'll let us be.” ― Xiran Jay Zhao, Iron Widow

There will be no redemption. It is not me who is wrong. It's everyone else.” ― Xiran Jay Zhao, Iron Widow

I've been told endless lies since I was born. That I was not kind enough, considerate enough, humble enough, honorable enough, pretty enough, pleasing enough. And if I failed to meet the needs of those around me, I did not deserve to live. Propaganda. All of it. Propaganda to keep me chasing after the approval of others on my bound and broken feet, as if being a good servant is the only thing I should be proud of.” ― Xiran Jay Zhao, Iron Widow

Leave a comment

Please note, comments must be approved before they are published

This site is protected by reCAPTCHA and the Google Privacy Policy and Terms of Service apply.