Xiran Jay Zhao is a Chinese-Canadian author who made her debut in 2021 with the release of Iron Widow. The book was an instant bestseller on the New York Times list. The YA novel was marketed as Pacific Rim meets The Handmaid’s Tale.

Zhao was born in China, but immigrated to Canada. They went on to attend Vancouver’s Simon Fraser University and graduated with a biochemical disease research degree. Xiran Jay’s graduation came at the height of COVID so instead of finding a job in her field, they instead stayed home and wrote a book. In addition to her work as an author, Zhao also posts YouTube videos about Chinese history and culture.

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Publication Order of Iron Widow Books

Publication Order of Standalone Novels

Zachary Ying and the Dragon Emperor (2022)Description / Buy at Amazon.com

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Iron Widow was Xiran Jay Zhao’s debut novel and the first book in a series. The boys who live in Huaxia all dream up of pairing with a girl to pilot the transforming robots known as Chrysalises. The robots are made to battle the mecha aliens that are lurking behind the Great Wall. The boys are excited for the opportunity, but the girls can often die from the mental strain associated with piloting. 18-year-old Zetian offers herself up as a concubine-pilot, but she has an ulterior motive: to assassinate the ace male pilot responsible for her sister’s death. She succeeds in her goal in a way that no one could expect – by killing him through the psychic link between pilots. She emerges unscathed and soon earns the label of Iron Widow, a feared pilot who can sacrifice boys to pilot Chrysalises. She is then paired up with Li Shimin, the strongest pilot in Huaxia, to try and tame her strength. She will use their might to survive attempts on her life as she tries to figure out why the pilot system works in a misogynist way and stop more girls from dying.

Order of Books » Authors » Order of Xiran Jay Zhao Books

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