Reviewing Gearbreakers: A Queer Asian Sci-fi Pageturner

Title: Gearbreakers

Author: Zoe Hana Mikuta 

Publisher: Feiwel & Friends / Macmillan Publishers 

Publication Date: June 29th, 2021

Genres: Young Adult, Science Fiction

Two girls on opposite sides of a war discover they’re fighting for a common purpose–and falling for each other–in Zoe Hana Mikuta’s high-octane debut Gearbreakers, perfect for fans of Pacific Rim, Pierce Brown’s Red Rising Saga, and Marie Lu’s Legend series.

We went past praying to deities and started to build them instead… The shadow of Godolia’s tyrannical rule is spreading, aided by their giant mechanized weapons known as Windups. War and oppression are everyday constants for the people of the Badlands, who live under the thumb of their cruel Godolia overlords.

Eris Shindanai is a Gearbreaker, a brash young rebel who specializes in taking down Windups from the inside. When one of her missions goes awry and she finds herself in a Godolia prison, Eris meets Sona Steelcrest, a cybernetically enhanced Windup pilot. At first Eris sees Sona as her mortal enemy, but Sona has a secret: She has intentionally infiltrated the Windup program to destroy Godolia from within. As the clock ticks down to their deadliest mission yet, a direct attack to end Godolia’s reign once and for all, Eris and Sona grow closer–as comrades, friends, and perhaps something more…

Disclaimer: I received this book from Netgalley for the Coloured Pages book tour. This has not impacted my review which is unbiased and honest.

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“This has always been the way of the world: Some are born with luck, and the rest scramble to survive whatever they might do with it.”

Gearbreakers is an intense sci-fi novel where I found myself continuously yelling at the two main characters to kiss. Seriously, the slow-burn is real. To be very honest, I was not convinced by the first 20% of the book. The pacing was slow and the author was setting things up but I was just bored. But things really pick up after that and I absolutely loved the fire and attraction between Sona and Eris!

I think the highlight of this book for me were the characters. To start off, Sona is so determined yet fearful of belonging to the Godolia. Her past forms her desire for revenge which consumes her entire core. She’s very strong and also eloquent and calm. On one side we’ll have Eris spit-firing but Sona just calmly answers her and I love this dynamic. Right, coming to Eris, she’s absolutely wild, chaotic and reckless which are all qualities that I love. Sona sees a glowing fire and bravery in her and I honestly couldn’t agree more. And yet Eris has such a soft heart that she tries to hide by her brash behaviour and language and I just love to see her banter with and also be soft around Sona. It’s a very slow yet heartwarming romance and I’m all here for it!

“The thing about glitches is that they tend to be unpredictable. Which means they never see us coming.”

I did like the other characters as well, especially Jenny, Nova and Juniper who were definitely my favourite side-characters. I think most of the side-characters were very well-written and developed to the point I started caring about them within pages of them being introduced. There were a couple of exceptions, like I don’t know much about Theo and Xander. Also, this might just be me but almost all of these characters are tough and have spunk and courage and a lot of the times it felt as if the author was trying to hard, especially with their dialogues… those weren’t my favourite. But other than that, I loved this rag-tag group of characters.

The world-building is also easy to understand and certain aspects are well-developed but I would have liked to know a bit more about the world outside Gearbreakers and Godolia, as well as some of their history which was mentioned somewhere in the beginning and then never really came up. But I do get that this is the first book in a duology so hopefully more of the world development will get addressed in the next book!

On the flip side, I honestly couldn’t visualise the fight scenes with the mechas. Some of them were really detailed to the point I got confused as to which plane the fight was happening, the pilot or the windup. So I ended up skimming through some of the fight scenes. But oh my god that ending! It has me kinda shocked and really pumped for the next book! I honestly can’t wait to see the journey that these wonderful characters will embark after this 🙂

About the Author

Twenty-year-old Zoe Hana Mikuta is a Korean-American writer currently attending the University of Washington in Seattle, majoring in English with a creative writing focus and minoring in History of Religion. She grew up in Boulder, Colorado, where she developed a deep love of Muay Thai kickboxing and nurtured a slow and steady infatuation for fictional worlds. She enjoys writing deteriorating worlds inhabited by characters with bad tempers, skewed morals, and big hearts. Her YA wlw sci-fi debut, GEARBREAKERS, is upcoming from Feiwel & Friends/Macmillan Publishers June 29th, 2021, with an untitled sequel to follow summer 2022. When she needs to unwind, Zoe sews runes onto the belt loops of her jeans and embroiders ‘Bite Me’ on the back pockets. She hopes if she feeds the crows around her campus enough croutons, they’ll begin to gift her quarters, so she can say her laundry is bird-funded.

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Have you read Gearbreakers? Is it on your TBR?

I love the be gay do crimes trope! Have you read any books with this trope?

What are some queer sci-fi books you’ve loved and would recommend?

12 thoughts on “Reviewing Gearbreakers: A Queer Asian Sci-fi Pageturner

  1. Ahh this books seems really awesome! It’s been on my tbr since the second I saw that awesome cover lol I can’t wait until I get to read this!!

    Liked by 1 person

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