cover image Zeroboxer


Fonda Lee. Llewellyn/Flux, $11.99 trade paper (350p) ISBN 978-0-7387-4338-7

Carr Luka is the perfect “zeroboxer”—fast, strong, relentless, capable of maintaining his composure in zero gravity—and he’s on the fast track to winning the championship in the popular sport, which mixes mixed martial arts with freefall. As Carr takes down one opponent after another, the Zero Gravity Fighting Association labels the 17-year-old a rising star, even assigning him a “brandhelm” (a marketing specialist and PR agent) in the form of Risha Ponn, a beautiful Martian colonist who is just as hungry for success. Carr embraces his newfound stardom, but pressure is mounting from all sides. Just as he reaches the height of his career, he learns a devastating secret that could destroy everything he’s worked for, and he’s being blackmailed by someone who knows the truth. This is a strong debut from Lee, combining brutal, visceral athletic scenes with science fiction action, all woven around a complex moral dilemma. The only thing that doesn’t quite ring true is Carr’s rather chaste, underexplored relationship with Risha. Everything else hits as hard as Carr’s punches. Ages 12–up. Agent: Jim McCarthy, Dystel & Goderich Literary Management. (Apr.)