Tuesday, September 09, 2008


Iron Jaw and Hummingbird reviews

My forthcoming YA book with Viking, Iron Jaw and Hummingbird, won't be in bookstores until next month, but the first of the reviews have already appeared.

First up is Kirkus, whose review is in the September 15th issue (and online, apparently):
Taken from the streets and educated by a wealthy aristocrat for years as part of a cruel game, orphan Gamine finds herself back on her own at 13. She falls in with a conman and, later, an itinerant preacher. Meanwhile, an 18-year-old reluctant soldier named Huang becomes an even more reluctant bandit when his division is bested by renegades. The two are thrown together, and the movement they lead reshapes the political landscape of a China-controlled 26th-century Mars. Roberson’s detached and contemplative narrative spends far too much time setting up only to lead readers to a disappointingly anticlimactic denouement. The milieu is nicely constructed, which stands to reason, as Roberson has written adult novels and stories in this alternate-history future. Patterned on, but not paralleling, the Boxer Rebellion, this would probably work best for lovers of historical fiction who wish to take a small step toward more fantastic material, but SF and martial-arts fans should look elsewhere. An attempted rape and intimations of a sexual relationship between the leads push the age-range up.
Also weighing in on the book is Angela from SciFiChick.com:
In an alternate reality, the Chinese control Mars and its inhabitants. Gamine was rescued from the streets as a small child, where she was raised and schooled by the upper class. But after serving her purpose, she was abandoned on the street yet again where she takes up with a con artist. Soon after young Huang Fei joins the army, his ship is attacked by bandits. But Huang quickly moves from the bandit leader’s pet to trusted advisor. When Gamine (Iron Jaw) and Huang (Hummingbird) meet, they team up to overthrow the current regime.

Geared towards teens and older, this science fiction story has the feel of a fantasy, as Roberson’s other books Set the Seas on Fire and Paragaea also do. But this story is completely unique as it is based solely on an alternate reality Mars. Granted the planet itself has little bearing on the story, which revolves around the two central characters Gamine and Huang. Both go through tremendous ordeals and hardships which eventually lead the two together, aiming for a common goal. Both Gamine and Huang also have to go through a range of emotions that eventually force them to deal with the thoughts of revenge in their hearts.

Gamine and Huang’s stories began as completely different situations. Gamine, as a child from the streets, who eventually grows from a thief and con artist to a respected leader. And her ideals slowly change over time as well. And Huang, as a spoiled rich boy, bored with army life, who eventually evolves from a slave of a group of bandits to their leader. But meanwhile, he discovers the bandits are more than just thieving monsters, they have a past and a purpose.

Iron Jaw and Hummingbird is a fascinating story of two very different young people and their journey to finding themselves and a fight against a corrupt authority.


I'm waiting for this :)

I've lately been reading a bit of YA work (finally read some of Scott Westerfeld's YA stuff), so I'm eager to see how you handle this age group.
I hope it doesn't disappoint, Howard!
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