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Zeroboxer
     

Zeroboxer

5.0 1
by Fonda Lee
 

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A rising star in the weightless combat sport of zeroboxing, Carr “the Raptor” Luka dreams of winning the championship title. Recognizing his talent, the Zero Gravity Fighting Association assigns Risha, an ambitious and beautiful Martian colonist, to be his brandhelm––a personal marketing strategist. It isn’t long before she’s made

Overview

A rising star in the weightless combat sport of zeroboxing, Carr “the Raptor” Luka dreams of winning the championship title. Recognizing his talent, the Zero Gravity Fighting Association assigns Risha, an ambitious and beautiful Martian colonist, to be his brandhelm––a personal marketing strategist. It isn’t long before she’s made Carr into a popular celebrity and stolen his heart along the way. As his fame grows, Carr becomes an inspirational hero on Earth, a once-great planet that’s fallen into the shadow of its more prosperous colonies. But when Carr discovers a far-reaching criminal scheme, he becomes the keeper of a devastating secret. Not only will his choices put everything he cares about in jeopardy, but they may also spill the violence from the sports arena into the solar system.

Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly
03/02/2015
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.)
From the Publisher
“A superior sci-fi outing.”—Kirkus Reviews “Lee’s debut novel is an intense, smart, and action-packed read.”—VOYA "This gripping sci-fi novel will have teens screaming for a sequel."—School Library Journal "This is a strong debut from Lee, combining brutal, visceral athletic scenes with science fiction action, all woven around a complex moral dilemma."—Publishers Weekly "A thought-provoking read."—Booklist "This book will keep students on the edge of their seat."—School Library Connection
VOYA, February 2015 (Vol. 37, No. 6) - Elizabeth Matson
In a future world, gene modification to eliminate imperfections is considered standard. Even so, Terrans disparage the more radical genetic changes Mars colonists have made in order to survive. Martians have become essentially another race resulting in simmering unrest between the two worlds. Seventeen-year-old Carr Luka is aware of these issues but his single-minded focus is on becoming a zeroboxer champion. When Risha, a half-Martian, is assigned to be his personal brandhelm, Carr becomes the face of Terran zeroboxing. Carr falls hard for Risha, an older (by three years) woman. The relationship is serious enough that Carr considers marriage. All Carr’s dreams seem to be coming true until he learns a devastating secret that has potentially catastrophic ramifications. Lee’s debut novel is an intense, smart, and action-packed read. The future world is well thought out in its everyday details. Grounded in the personal, Carr’s navigation of career and romance over the course of two years is impacted by social issues that are just as relevant today—genetic modification, race relations, and sports performance enhancement. Carr comes to learn that his life does not occur in a vacuum. The secret he holds compromises his personal ethics, but the ripples also affect his relationships, fans, and world events. Not just sports fans will be enthralled by the drama of the zeroboxing matches. They focus as much on strategy and emotion as on the inherent violence. Older teens, especially boys, will enjoy some food for thought along with an exciting story. Reviewer: Elizabeth Matson; Ages 15 to 18.
School Library Journal
03/01/2015
Gr 8 Up—Carr Luka is the king of the Cube, a zero gravity cage fight arena. In his upcoming championship fight, Luka will represent Terrans against a Martian colony and his supporters will cheer, "Make him float!" highlighting the grisly implications of a knockout. Luka's confidence is shaken, however, when a visit to his mother reveals that his physical prowess is a result of illegal genetic enhancements, making his participation in the sport potentially criminal. Zeroboxer is a delicious mix of two genres: sports and science fiction. The colony rivalry and futuristic details are riveting, and martial arts followers hungering for fight action will not be disappointed. The main character develops a romantic relationship with his brandhelm (publicist) and wrestles with a sense of betrayal by his Uncle Polly and his mother who have always known he was genetically enhanced and hid this from him. Luka also experiences self-doubt as he wonders whether his success is due to his training and hard work or simply to his genetic destiny. This work adeptly combines elements of futuristic TV shows, such as Gattaca (genetics) and Battlestar Gallactica (Terran colonies), and sports program such as Tap Out. VERDICT This gripping sci-fi novel will have teens screaming for a sequel.—Leah Krippner, Harlem High School, Machesney Park, IL
Kirkus Review
2015-01-20
Boxing gets an upgrade to zero gravity in this futuristic outing.Living centuries in the future, Carr, at 17, has dreams of winning the title. Carr is a zeroboxer, trading punches in a zero-G cube. Carr was born on Earth in "balmy Toronto." As a Terran, he's low on the totem pole socially; Martians, resented on Earth for their genetic modifications, look down on Earth as a backwater. After a few wins, Carr gets a pay raise and a brandhelm to manage his career. However, he learns a secret that brings him close to a criminal conspiracy, and he can't see a way out. Lee creates a believable future world by attaching new surroundings to common experiences. Carr lives in the inner circle on a space station; the wealthy can afford outer apartments with views of Earth. Boxing keeps its familiar customs, such as loud announcers, title belts and trash-talking opponents, but includes weightless flying. As a sports hero, Carr copes with interviews and fans just as today's star athletes do. More interestingly, the book focuses on ethical issues such as the genetic modifications humans undertook to begin living on Mars and promotes social awareness, focusing on Carr's humble beginnings and his still-impoverished young friend, Enzo. It all adds up to a superior sci-fi outing that doesn't need mad scientists to provide suspense. Top-notch science fiction and a great sports novel too. (Science fiction. 12-18)

Product Details

ISBN-13:
9780738743387
Publisher:
North Star Editions
Publication date:
04/08/2015
Pages:
360
Sales rank:
88,313
Product dimensions:
5.20(w) x 7.90(h) x 0.90(d)
Lexile:
870L (what's this?)
Age Range:
14 - 17 Years

Read an Excerpt

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Meet the Author

Fonda Leewas born and raised in Canada, spent years as a corporate strategist for Fortune 500 companies, and is now a writer and black belt martial artist living in Portland, Oregon. Visit www.fondalee.comor follow Fonda on Twitter @fondajlee.

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Zeroboxer 5 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 1 reviews.
Artzicarol More than 1 year ago
This very unique book is action-packed with intense fight scenes, but it’s more than a novel about fighting in zero gravity. Fonda Lee delves into the character of Carr Luka and the psychology of fighting, losing, and winning. She also throws in a romance, adds complex friendships with other fighters, and corners Carr into deciding what is truly important in his life. Great sci-fi details/structure make the setting concrete and real without “explaining” it to the reader; it’s just part of the natural flow of the book, and doesn’t stop the action. I’m not really into boxing or fighting, but I didn’t feel too out of my element. I was able to follow the thrust of the action even if I didn't understand all the complex moves and countermoves of the fights.