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Float Like A Butterfly

Become a fan of futuristic zero-gravity boxing in Fonda Lee’s debut novel, Zeroboxer.

Float Like A Butterfly

BOOK REPORT for Zeroboxer by Fonda Lee

Cover Story: Rock Space
BFF Charm: Big Sister
Swoonworthy Scale: 4
Talky Talk: FutureSports/BoxingSounds
Bonus Factor: Beautiful Martians
Relationship Status: I’ll Watch the Highlights on SportsCenter

Cover Story: Rock Space

I don’t really know what “rock space” means, but there’s a z-shaped rock on the cover, and it’s in space. There are also a pair of vaguely Egyptian wings that look like something out of Stargate. Oh, and a tiny bit of J.J. Abrams (lens) flair.

What I’m saying is, this book beneath this cover could be about pretty much anything.

The Deal:

In the future, the human race has expanded onto the moon and Mars. Terraforming exists, space travel is commonplace, and genetic modification is the norm. But there’s something the human race will never grow out of: the love of sport, particularly one in which people attempt to beat the crap out of each other in a ring.

Carr Luka, an 18-year-old up-and-coming zeroboxer, is a contender in the fastest growing sport in the solar system. As he wins, his fame grows, and he gets everything he’s ever wanted. But fame and fortune come with a price, once Carr might not be willing—or able—to pay.

BFF Charm: Big Sister

Carr was raised by a well-meaning but somewhat flighty mother, in a poor part of Toronto. At age seven, he found himself on the path toward becoming a zeroboxer. Over the course of the next decade, Carr was forced to grow up, fast. His life consisted of training, fighting and infrequent moments in between during which he was “forced” to rest. And at 18, he’s thrust into a limelight that spans two planets and a moon. The guy has a lot to be thankful for, but he never really got to be a kid, and most of the life-changing decisions in his life weren’t entirely his own. He’s got talent and charisma in spades, but there’s something too grown up about him that makes me long for the chance to hug him and help him find the ability to have innocent fun.

Swoonworthy Scale: 4

Being a famous athlete, and an attractive, young one at that, affords Carr a high level of appeal with the ladies. But Carr’s not a player, and there’s one in particular that catches his eye. While the relationship is sweet, it takes a backseat to the main plot, which is the boxing.

Talky Talk: FutureSports/BoxingSounds

The heart of Zeroboxer is, well, the boxing. Throughout the book, Carr’s fights are described in gory detail. Ribs are cracked, arms are broken, noses are bloodied. Fonda Lee, who has a background in martial arts, brings to life a futuristic sport that is part MMA fighting, part swimming (in air, since it takes place in zero-gravity). The fights are realistic, and Carr’s internal turmoil about his “job” and events that happen in his life are realistic, too. But the rest of the plot leaves a little to be desired; there’s not quite enough world-building or secondary character depth to make a truly fulfilling story, particularly for those of who aren’t all that interested in boxing.

Bonus Factor: Beautiful Martians

The Martians in Zeroboxer aren’t your typical little green men; rather, they’re genetically modified humans. The modifications have made them stronger, taller, more beautiful. Their skin is, quite literally, iridescent. It’s no wonder many of the “normal” humans in the book don’t like them all that much.

Casting Call:

Luke Pasqualino as Carr

Relationship Status: I’ll Watch the Highlights on SportsCenter

Although our date was quite exciting, Book, I’m not a huge fan of the sport of boxing, so I feel like we didn’t really connect on a common interest level. I will be rooting for you, however, and will keep an eye out for highlights of your future successes.

FTC Full Disclosure: I received a review copy of this book from Flux. I received neither a private dance party with Tom Hiddleston nor money in exchange for this review. Zeroboxer is available now.

Mandy Curtis's photo About the Author: Mandy is a small town girl living in a nerdy world, or—if you want to get literal—an editor/writer living in Austin, TX. In addition to yearning for YA books—the more dystopian or fantastical, the better—she can also be found swooning over superheroes, dreaming of The Doctor and grinning at GIFs.
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