Media Type: Ebook (ARC)
Author: Fonda Lee
Pages: Paperback; 362
Release Date: April 1, 2015
Content Screening: Mild Violence; Adult Language
HDB Rating: 3 Keys to My Heart
Recommended to: Readers who enjoy books centering around sports, with Science Fiction tied in.
A rising star in the weightless combat sport of zeroboxing, Carr “the Raptor” Luka dreams of winning the championship title. Recognizing his talent, the Zero Gravity Fighting Association assigns Risha, an ambitious and beautiful Martian colonist, to be his brandhelm––a personal marketing strategist. It isn’t long before she’s made Carr into a popular celebrity and stolen his heart along the way.
As his fame grows, Carr becomes an inspirational hero on Earth, a once-great planet that’s fallen into the shadow of its more prosperous colonies. But when Carr discovers a far-reaching criminal scheme, he becomes the keeper of a devastating secret. Not only will his choices put everything he cares about in jeopardy, but they may also spill the violence from the sports arena into the solar system.
Would you like an extremely quick breakdown of this book? I'll oblige. Zeroboxer is Rocky, in space. Oh yes, my friends. Complete with the craggy, but ultimately lovable coach, and all the related drama. That's not to say that this isn't a good book. I'm simply telling you exactly what to expect. This was most definitely a different kind of Science Fiction than I'm used to, and I'm still not quite sure how I feel about it.
First off, credit where credit is due. The sport of zeroboxing is so well fleshed out in this story that it isn't even funny. You won't just be reading about Carr's matches, you'll live them. Fonda Lee has not only built a sport, she's built a sport that actually makes sense. I felt the tension, heard the cheers, and watched the blood float around in zero gravity. If nothing else, this book will get you for that very reason. It's hard not to be caught up with the sport, and everything that comes along with it.
Even the world itself is pretty solid, since it's essentially Toronto in the far flung future. Genetic enhancements are the norm. Tattoos are done with an animated liquid. Best of all, travel between Earth and Mars is something that's done often. The one downside here is that the reader is thrown directly into this future without a whole lot of hand holding. While I eventually found my footing, it took me a while to truly associate Carr's life with his futuristic home. If it wasn't for the references to zero gravity boxing, I'd have been much more lost.
Now here's where things get a bit hairy. First off, I wasn't always a huge fan of Carr Luka. Our main character felt a little too perfect. Thus, when things started to turn sour for him, I wasn't really empathetic. I actually wanted him to lose. If just once. It's no fun to root for someone who is nigh unbeatable. Nor is it easy to feel bad when they're injured. My other issue was with how casually the topic of people being genetically enhanced in the womb, and the fact that only bad parents didn't do that, was mentioned and then tossed aside. I understand this was part of the world building, but I needed more. That's a big subject to simply touch on.
Overall, I was fairly impressed with Zeroboxer. I'm not generally a big fan of sports related books or movies, but this one held my interest. The union between boxing and Sci Fi definitely made this a different read than I was expecting, and a rather happy surprise.
FTC Disclosure: I received a copy of this book in exchange for a fair and honest review. I was not monetarily compensated for my opinion.