From School Library Journal
Grade 8 Up—Like Roberson's adult sci-fi novels, this book is set on 26th-century Mars, which has been colonized by China, Earth's dominant cultural and political force. Rescued from homelessness eight years earlier and educated by a wealthy socialite, Gamine is stunned when, at age 13, she's thrown back onto the streets to fend for herself. The same day, Huang, an 18-year-old underachiever, is commissioned as an army officer and sent to a far-off outpost. As the years pass, each one travels a different path. Gamine reluctantly falls in with a con man and they make their precarious living as grifters. When they eventually form a sham religious movement, she is renamed Iron Jaw for her playacted ability to withstand any blow. Huang's convoy is attacked by a bandit airship and he's taken prisoner; he eventually sides with his captors and becomes Hummingbird, their chief tactician. When the groups join forces to overthrow the corrupt government, the main characters form a spiritual (and sexual) bond. Hummingbird's growth from spoiled playboy to wise leader is well realized, as is Iron Jaw's guilt about scamming people. More thoughtful readers will understand the reasons for the somewhat anticlimactic, philosophical ending. With a well-realized setting, this novel will appeal to teens who like martial arts, adventure, and stories with tactical battles.—Sharon Rawlins, New Jersey State Library, Trenton
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With a well-realized setting, this novel will appeal to teens who like martial arts, adventure, and stories with tactical battles. --School Library Journal