Gearbreakers — Zoe Hana Mikuta
Gearbreakers has a lot of wild energy. I like that. I love angry books. There’s something appealing about screaming into the void, about lashing out against an unjust system, about smiting (or at the very least shaking fists) at those who have wronged us. Especially in sci-fi/fantasy, where characters can act in ways we can’t in real life (like… by becoming a giant Valkyrie and unleashing wrath).
There’s a lot going on, and the action is as intense at it is fascinating. You have giant mechas, a tyrannical government, and the highest technological advancements at the most terrible costs (which more or less define the stakes of the story). The action scenes and imaginative worldbuilding kept me reading through the night.
I’m the worst person at defining fantasy audiences, but Gearbreakers feels like (and also states that) it’s aimed at teenagers. There’s a lot of that invincibility mentality that makes me jealous, lol. Like kids are getting up to battle giant mechas, fight enemies, and generally just go through a lot of wear and tear and being up for more the next morning. Me, I sleep at the wrong angle and can’t move my neck for a week.
But that also means characters react explosively to each slight, and every action is all-or-nothing. I sometimes had trouble telling characters apart. One protagonist is a tough girl with a rough past who is angry at everything. She meets the other protagonist, who is a tough girl with a rough past who is angry at everything. Then they meet her sister, who is a tough girl with a rough past who is angry at everything. They all end up angry at each other, and I just… lost track a bit.
Overall, I enjoyed Gearbreakers. It did take a bit of settling into the world, but once I reached the halfway point, I couldn’t put it down. If any of the above appeals to you, check it out!
Key words to help you decide: YA fantasy, POC protagonists, alternating POVs, giant mechas, down-with-the-system, duology