Published by Flux on April 8, 2015
Genres: Science Fiction, Young Adult
A Sci-Fi Thrill Ride Set in the Action-Packed Sports Arena of the Future
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 place everything he cares about in jeopardy, but they may also spill the violence from the sports arena into the solar system.
Zeroboxer is obviously a book farrrr from my range. In fact, it’s literally out of bounds. A sports-themed book is the last thing I’ll ever read – I’ll read contemporary romance any day over that.
But Fonda Lee’s book is something different. Something completely different and out of bounds from what I usually read, and I didn’t think I would actually enjoy her novel as much as I did. It’s about boxing in zero gravity! On the moon! And Mars! Happy dance ensues – I’m a space nut.
Zeroboxer focuses on Carr Luka, a zeroboxer from Earth who is slowly rising the charts in the zeroboxing world and has dreams of becoming the Lowmass Champion of the Universe. But as Carr becomes more famous on Earth for zeroboxing and his career grows, he finds out something that could ruin not only his career, but his life as well.
Lee’s debut novel is very fast-paced, which isn’t surprising from a book based on boxing out in space. The book mainly focuses on Carr’s career as a zeroboxer and how he grows career-wise in the span of two years. Putting all of that in a 350 page made everything – Carr’s career, his relationship with his brandhelm – seem to go by a lot faster than it actually would. In all honesty, it’s been a long time since I’ve last read a book that has a span of more than a year in one book instead of several.
The world Lee builds is an entirely different world and it takes a while to get used to all of the slang and abbreviations that are used throughout the book. It’s clear from early on that Zeroboxer is set really far away in the future – Earth isn’t exactly a dominant planet anymore compared to those who found a home on Mars and the moon, and some of the places have definitely changed (New Shanghai, Asialantis, etc). The technological advances were really interesting and I would love to see an actual version of how the colonies on the moon and Mars really look like as civilizations with cities, towns, etc. Oh, and I would actually like to see a zeroboxing match one day.
Zeroboxer may be completely out of bounds from what I’m usually drawn to, but I highly enjoyed the entire journey. It’s fast-paced and something different. I might feel a little biased here, but I can’t ask for anything more from a debut novelist.