On the brink of dystopia, a girl and a mechanical dragon help defend democracy in an alternate future Washington, D.C.
Sassy prep schooler Prudence Wu smuggles banned media into Incorporated territory in order to supplement her meager scholarship. Though there are warnings of wyverns, war machines used during the Partition Wars, Pru cons her way past Barricade walls during a job and ends up on the run. A chance encounter with a frightening beast leads to her waking in her dorm with a blacked-out memory and a dragon mech imprinted on her mind. In anime-like fashion, with the help of her well-connected best friend and highly placed allies, Pru reluctantly agrees to pilot the dragon Rebelwing. The author deftly flies between levity and heartbreak, cracking jokes and inserting astute historical and political commentary into a setting where survivors of wars past struggle with fears for the future. Interludes featuring student chat boards and newsfeeds offer a fuller picture of events, however sometimes they are jarring, especially when they appear in the middle of action scenes. This will appeal to fans of mecha anime; young, fumbling romance; and stories about superintelligent teens trying the save the world. Prudence is ethnically Chinese, and the diverse supporting cast includes Korean, Latinx, and queer characters.
An exciting adventure. (Science fiction. 13-17)