Monday 11 January 2021

Book Review: Rebel Seoul by Axie Oh (YA Sci-Fi)

Title: Rebel Seoul
Author: Axie Oh
Publisher: Tu Books
Publication Date: 2017
Pages: 389
Genre: YA Sci-Fi
Source: Borrowed from Library

After a great war, the East Pacific is in ruins. In brutal Neo Seoul, where status comes from success in combat, ex-gang member Lee Jaewon is a talented pilot rising in the ranks of the academy. Abandoned as a kid in the slums of Old Seoul by his rebel father, Jaewon desires only to escape his past and prove himself a loyal soldier of the Neo State.

When Jaewon is recruited into the most lucrative weapons development division in Neo Seoul, he is eager to claim his best shot at military glory. But the mission becomes more complicated when he meets Tera, a test subject in the government’s supersoldier project. Tera was trained for one purpose: to pilot one of the lethal God Machines, massive robots for a never-ending war.

With secret orders to report on Tera, Jaewon becomes Tera’s partner, earning her reluctant respect. But as respect turns to love, Jaewon begins to question his loyalty to an oppressive regime that creates weapons out of humans. As the project prepares to go public amidst rumors of a rebellion, Jaewon must decide where he stands—as a soldier of the Neo State, or a rebel of the people.

Pacific Rim meets Korean action dramas in this mind-blowing, New Visions Award-winning science fiction debut.


Overall, Rebel Seoul was a four-star read for me. I enjoyed the premise and the blend of Korean culture and language into the story. I am not a big mecha fan, but the robot side of things was just a secondary point and didn't take over the narrative, so that suited me well. The pacing was a little slow at first but soon picked up and there was a good mix of action scenes and drama. I found the romance aspects a bit forced, however. The main characters barely had time to get to know each other and yet were suddenly in love. That aside, though, it was an entertaining read and I would still be interested to read the newer companion story, Rogue Heart.

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