Godslayers is both heartbreaking and life-affirming

Godslayers by Zoe Hamm Mikuta. Image courtesy Macmillan Children's Publishing Group
Godslayers by Zoe Hamm Mikuta. Image courtesy Macmillan Children's Publishing Group /

Zoe Hana Mikuta’s Gearbreakers was one of the best young adult sci-fi novels of 2021 and Godslayers is just as brilliant. Godslayers hits many of the same notes as the first book. It will break your heart and put it back together again. And it will make you love the characters from the first book even more.

Godslayers starts a few months after Gearbreakers. Eris has clearly been tortured but she’s still the smart, witty, take-no-prisoners Gearbreaker we know and love. She may break down the mechas that are after her friends, but Gondolia was never going to break her.

As for Sona…well, the last time we saw her, she was being reprogrammed by the Zenith, and unfortunately, this time, it worked. She feels guilty for falling for what the Gearbreakers told her but now she is entirely loyal to the Zenith and Gondolia.

The book starts out with her holding a knife to Eris’s neck for a public execution. But something does not go as planned. The real Sona comes out just for a second and Eris is able to escape in a very surprising way. Sona immediately goes back to her programmed self, but clearly, that programming is not much of a match for the connection between Sona and Eris.

Godslayers is as brilliant, brutal, and addictive as the first book

Eris makes it back to her crew and it becomes her new mission to get Sona and do whatever it takes to make her remember. But she’s also aware that it may be impossible.

Ok, if you don’t want any spoilers, this is where you need to stop because it’s almost impossible to talk about the second half of the book without spoilers.

Eris and her crew of Gearbreakers do eventually kidnap Sona. To say Sona is pissed would be an understatement. They have to tie her to a radiator. But eventually, the real Sona comes back to the surface.

But that’s not really what this story is about. Sure, we needed to know Sona’s fate and whether she would ever come back to Eris. But this book is more about what happens when you realize you can’t sustain a life of violence and fear forever.

Both Eris and Sona are tired of killing. Tired of their anger and hate. They want a safe haven where they can just be together with Nova, Arsen, Theo, June, and Eris’s sister, Jenny. But to get to that place, they are going to have to do what they’re good at. And that includes killing, tearing down the mecha “gods,” and surviving.

Their first step is to take over a Gondolia-run city where the Zenith plans to open a new pilot academy. And it works! They take over. But controlling a city full of people who worship the mechas like gods is easier said than done.

Mecha worship is like a cult and as with any cult, the followers are willing to do anything to make sure their leader comes out on top. And if that includes killing their own to also kill a few Gearbreakers, so be it.

How do they do that? Well…they destroy the city, of course.

The new Gearbreaker-run city erupts. Literally. Apparently, there have been mechas hiding under the city and they come up from the ground and tear everything apart.

They also find a traitor among them. Someone they thought they could trust. But that was not the case and she almost kills Eris. And does kill one of the Gearbreakers. To say I cried during this scene would be an understatement. Screaming sobs would be more accurate.

With that death, the gloves come off (or on if you’re Eris or Jenny). Eris is in the hospital so Sona and Jenny head to Gondolia. Sona thinks she can talk to the Zenith. Try to get him out of the position he clearly doesn’t want. They were friends once. Maybe it will work.

What she doesn’t know is that Eris, never one to miss a fight, also heads to Gondolia and she is ready to kill.

But as it turns out, the Zenith doesn’t need to be added to anyone’s kill list. I won’t spoil this one.

Sona and Eris do eventually get their happily ever after, but the price they paid for it is a difficult thing to deal with. Memories are not always a good thing. But they have each other. And that makes it a little easier.

Once again, Zoe Hana Mikuta has created a masterpiece with this book and the Gearbreaker series. The level of care, sass, beauty, and brutality she put into these books is extraordinary. No one does banter better than her and not many can write relationships and friendships as she does.

The connection between Eris and Sona is more solid than ever in this book. And even when the world is crumbling around them, the Gearbreakers cling to each other because who else do they have? They are the family they all need.

There are a few trigger warnings to be aware of including suicide, amputation/loss of a limb, gun violence, and death.

If you read and loved Gearbreakers, you must read Godslayers. If you haven’t started the series, now is a perfect time.

Godslayers is available now in hardcover, ebook, and audiobook formats.

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