Gearbreakers by Zoe Hana Mikuta

Title: Gearbreakers
Author: Zoe Hana Mikuta
Series: Gearbreakers, #1
Pages: 416
Publisher: Simon & Feiwel Friends
Release Date: June 29th 2021

TW: torture, grief

      “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…”

      “Despite myself, my heart skips a beat, and in the wake of it, a laugh nearly unfurls from my thoat. We are small. We are mortal. And I am being asked if I am ready to become a God.”

Zoe Hana Mikuta’s Gearbreakers is an adrenaline rush of a novel. The world altered forever when humanity fell into war and raised up mechas to fight their battles. Under Gondolia rule, these mechas are now used to squash any whiff of rebellion. The only thing that stands between Gondolia and totalitarian control are Gearbreakers, a group of rebels trained to take down these metal gods. Sona, a young mecha Pilot and victim of Gondolia’s cruelty, has been bidding her time, waiting for the opportunity to take down Gondolia from the inside. Eris, impetuous leader of a misfit Gearbreakers unit, has built a reputation for herself and her crew. They may be young and reckless, but they get the job done. Two worlds collide when Eris ends up captured and her only hope turns out to be a young mecha pilot who is more than meets the eye. With Sona on their side, the Gearbreakers might just have found their secret weapon for taking down the mechas once and for all if they can learn to trust the enemy.

Mikuta’s Gearbreakers is an ode to the found family trope. Eris is an incredibly driven character, but is often a thorn in the side of those in charge. When Eris is put in charge of a group of outsiders, she makes the most of it. Incredibly gifted, but often unpredictable, this crew has become more than a team to her, she has built a family with them. They’ve developed an unbreakable bond and their loyalty to one another is unshakable. When Sona is introduced to Eris’s crew, her presence puts a strain upon these bonds. Not everyone is willing to trust her and Eris’s choice to bring her into the fold tests her own leadership ability. Eris’s hotheadedness is due in part due to her older sister Jenny. After their parents passed, it was Jenny who had to raise Eris. Jenny is even more driven than Eris and her need to end Gondolia’s rule shaped the lessons she drilled into her younger sister. Jenny is a natural born leader, but brash and uncompromising. Affection between these sisters is not something that comes easy. They are too much alike not to clash, but they love one another fiercely.

Sona is introduced to Eris as the enemy and at first, this is the only way she can see her. But there is a fire in Sona that Eris recognizes, a hatred for Gondolia that burns bright. Eris becomes the first person in Sona’s corner. As their relationship progresses, Eris begins to see Sona for who she really is. Sona is a broken girl, she’s been taken apart and put back together, stripped of parts of herself. She is angry, but she is also very afraid that in the end, not matter how much good she does, she will still be the monster they created. For Sona, the only home she’s ever known was destroyed by mechas. She understands what Gondolia represents and the destruction they have wrought. She also understands that she is a weapon and her value depends on how much destruction she can cause. Sona unexpectedly finds a place in the Gearbreaker’s ranks and as inconceivable as it may be, the acceptance they show her makes her believe she can be more than just a weapon.

Gearbreakers is a heart-stopping, action-packed sci-fi novel with a cast of loveable characters who are equal parts impulsive as they are passionate. Zoe Hana Mikuta’s debut is a must read for those looking for a slowburn sapphic romance and an edge-of-your-seat brawl.

★ ★ ★ ★ ★

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