Gearbreakers, Book 1

Book review by
Michael Berry, Common Sense Media
Gearbreakers, Book 1 Book Poster Image
Teen warriors fight giant robots in slam-bang adventure.

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A lot or a little?

The parents' guide to what's in this book.

Educational Value

Gearbreakers focuses on action, not life lessons. It might offer the opportunity to discuss various strategies of warfare, especially those involving giant robots. It also touches on themes of loyalty and revenge.

Positive Messages

No one is responsible for your actions except you. Following orders can only take you so far.

Positive Role Models & Representations

Late teens Sona and Eris are seasoned fighters, ready to take on Windups without hesitation. They are quick to anger and are prone to hitting their own allies. They form a relationship, which blossoms into a romance. Sona and Eris are South Korean, indicated by cover art, family references, and mention of South Korean snacks, but there's no mention of South Korea or other real-world countries in the past or present.   


From the very start, Gearbreakers focuses on physical violence, with Eris being captured and taken to Godalia. Nearly every scene contains the threat of mayhem, even between so-called teammates. Giant robots shoot missiles and stomp on buildings and people. Swordplay and hand-to-hand combat keep Eris and Sona on their toes.


Sona and Eris profess their love for each other, but there are no depictions of physical intimacy.


The language gets pretty salty. Multiple uses of "s--t," "bitch," "bastard," plus variants of the profane -- "Godsdamn," "hells." Three or four uses of "f--k."


Drinking, Drugs & Smoking

Underage teens celebrate a victory with champagne.

What parents need to know

Parents need to know that Gearbreakers is a sci-fi adventure about giant robots and the warriors pledged to destroy them. Author Zoe Hana Mikuta chronicles the struggles of two young women in their late teens -- Sona and Eris -- as they plan to destroy the oppressive overlords who rule from the planet Godolia. Godolia depends on giant mechanized weapons known as Windups, and Sona plans to sabotage them from the inside. Violence is frequent. Nearly every scene contains the threat of mayhem, even between so-called teammates. Giant robots shoot missiles and stomp on buildings and people. Swordplay and hand-to-hand combat keep Eris and Sona on their toes. Frequent strong language includes "s--t," "f--k," "bitch," "bastard." Eris and Sona develop a romantic relationship, one without a depiction of physical intimacy.

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Teen, 13 years old Written bygjyfcju August 26, 2021

What's the story?

As GEARBREAKERS opens, robot destroyer Eris Shindanai is captured and sent to prison on Godolia. But rather than being left to rot behind bars, she's recruited to assist Windup Pilot Sona Steelcrest in a planned attack on the Godolian Academy. Can Eris and Sona, who see each other as mortal enemies, work together to combat a deadly peril?

Is it any good?

Giant weaponized robots are a staple of science fiction, and this action-packed adventure finds a new feminist twist. The snappy, aggressive dialogue in Gearbreakers is dialed up to 11, with characters yelling amusing threats at each other. The fight scenes are sometimes too chaotic to follow, but first-time novelist Zoe Hana Mikuta keeps the plot moving by supplying plenty of suspense and surprises. The story ends abruptly with a mind-bending cliffhanger, and readers will be primed for the forthcoming conclusion.

Talk to your kids about ...

  • Families can talk about how Gearbreakers depicts female warriors. Should young women be a part of the armed forces and engage in battle?

  • What might it be like to control a giant robot? Would you be willing to have your body modified to communicate with a machine?

  • Does the pursuit of revenge benefit anyone?

Book details

Our editors recommend

For kids who love science fiction and LGBTQ+ stories

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