Rebel Seoul

By Publishers Weekly

Oh debuts with an engrossing SF thriller that combines giant robots, Korean culture, and dystopian themes. In 2199 in the divided city of Neo Seoul, Lee Jaewon, an ambitious young soldier, is recruited to pilot a God Machine, one of the “massive, human-piloted machines of modern warfare” that operate on the front lines of the decades-long Great War of the Pacific. After Jaewon partners up with Tera, who is part of a project to take the God Machines to a frightening new level of destruction, he discovers that the Neo State of Korea holds devastating secrets. Caught between the establishment (as represented by the tyrannical Director), a rebel faction, and an influential criminal syndicate, Jaewon has to decide where his loyalties rest. The worldbuilding and backstory are left somewhat vague, but Oh balances the story’s action sequences with plenty of moral and philosophical quandaries for readers to consider. It’s a gripping, satisfying tale on its own, and the ending leaves room for further exploration.