Comp Titles, if you don't know, are where you get that "X meets Y" and if you are like me, get you mad when you read a book because it was nothing like what you imagined when you smooshed those things together.
Comp titles are basically required to sell books. There's a lot of detail I could go into here, but it's better to think of them as "has elements of X" and "Has elements of Y".
This, if you may not know, was at least pitched to ME as "Pacific Rim meets the Handmaid's Tale" I am sorry to say I have not seen Pacific Rim, but I know it's a mecha movie with kaiju and people liked it.
Okay. The problem is, if you're like me, you're a little Tired of the Handmaid's Tale. Do not imagine the Handmaid's Tale. This is a futuristic fiction (once again they have mechs) and is very clearly, NOT an analogue of the US.
Basically our Protagonist Wu Zetian, (yes named for that historical empress) has a problem for YA fiction. She's very "unlikeable". Not to say I DIDN'T LIKE HER. On the contrary, I LOVED her. But basically in YA fiction (and I think elsewhere too, but this is the closest thing I have to expertise) you'll see in reviews "ugh this Bitch was so unlikeable because she did a bad thing that a male protagonist would have been allowed to do".
Let me be clear: Zetian does a LOT of fucked up shit in this book. That's partially the point, this is a fucked up system. It basically requires a fucked-up response (at least in this book). But I personally quite liked Zetian once I understood her.
And let's talk for a moment. There is "technically" a love triangle, but as many of you probably know, this goes into poly territory. And while I at least don't Think I'm poly, I thought it was handled well, but ask someone with experience in those relationships.
Anyway if you need a con about this book, I can give you one (that is not the book's fault)
The sequel is not out until 2023, and yes Xiran Jay Zhao is writing something else right now, entirely because they understandably want to be paid for their writing so they can, you know, eat: ( nitter.net/XiranJayZhao/status/1511894731764109316#m )
I do encourage you to read it now anyway, because while it does end with a sequel in mind, it's a good ride, and I've honestly seen more pressing of cliff-hangers.