Alita: Battle Angel – Iron City – Pat Cadigan

Alita Iron City
Published: 20 November 2018
Publisher: Titan Books
Pages: 384
Series: Stand Alone Prequel 
Format Read: Audible
Duration: 8h 53 min


A long time ago there was the Great War. The reasons for the war have been lost to time. On the shattered surface of the Earth, there is a metropolis that lives amidst the garbage thrown down from the inhabitants of a sky city floating above it. Welcome to Iron City.

A lonely doctor specializing in cyborg repair, Ido, is doing his best to help the citizens of Iron City. But Ido has a double life, another persona born from the pieces of his broken heart.

Hugo, a young man surviving on a life of crime, spots the ultimate steal: an object that will unearth secrets from his own past.

And Vector, the most powerful businessman in the city, has his sights set on a new technology that will change the future of Iron City forever…


Last week I managed to finish two books and started at the ass end of it of all things. I finished Alita: Battle Angel the Movie novelization before I knew that there was a prequel novel. Both these titles were free on the subscription that Milou has on Audible and having seen the movie already I thought I might as well give the novels a try. I was going to do the two novels in one review, but decided against it. Alita: Battle Angel will be out tomorrow.

Iron City was just what the cover of this novel said it was going to be apart from being one of the worst covers for a movie tie in I have seen so far…. A prequel to a movie adaptation of a movie that spun of off a manga series by the same name that came out in 1990 by artist Yukito Kishiro. While I never saw or read the original works, I kinda had fun when I watched the movie that came out in 2019. It was the right kind of cyberpunk that cured an itch I had for a while after the original and follow up movie that was made for Blade Runner. Not that I got what the original Blade Runner was about really, nor did I understand the cult following that that movie has. Anyhow. Cyberpunk was mixed heavily with some Y.A elemnts and many of you may know I am not a big fan of that genre. But I sat through Alita and just let it all unfold before me. There was quite a good story to tell, apart from the puppy love that you got thrown in.

Getting to the prequel novel: Iron City was a sort of set up for characters that we would be meeting in the main novel and movie. The prequel novel did a good job in setting some character backgrounds up that I liked, others were just awful. Specifically Chiren, Doc Ido’s estranged wife. She was just a miserable human being with no heart. I kinda despise the character for her actions both in the prequel as well as the main novel/movie. She was worse than the most try hard evil villain that wanted to be real edgy. Chiren should have been villain number 1 but got the side character plot rather. Another problem I had with the book, and this is purely a “me” thing was with the story arch of Hugo, Alita’s potential love interest in the main book and movie. Just a kid, doing grown up things for grown ups that could hire better people for their shady business deals. I am a bit stupified at how much page time he got for a character that I just did not feel any connection for. Again, purely a “me” thing…

The one character I did feel drawn too was Doc Ido, the man was great to follow around. Not a man of many words, yet his actions spoke louder than any of the other setup characters in the novel. A man that was exiled from a place high up because his baby daughter had a genetic defect. A man who lost his wife because she could not deal with the fact that she now had to live in a dump because of the exile. A man that went to great lengths to give his daughter the best with the limited resources at hand. A grieving father that looses not only his daughter, but his wife because of a fateful burglary. A man that was totally broken and still tried his best to help others in need. This novel did a good job of setting up his story arc as how he became what we meet in the main book as well as introduce us to the nurse assistent he has, I will talk more on that tomorrow.

The one thing this novel did not contain was Alita, this novel plods along up until the point where the main story starts, with Ido walking the scrap heaps looking for parts that he can use for helping the community of Iron city. And gyro’s one always needs more gyro’s. While I am still new to the term Y.A, I understand it to be written in such a way that both young and old will be able to read it. Some sentences were very adulty, but in between we get these lines that sound so teenagery that I was having a hard time exactly understanding what the author was going for. Imagine having a scene where two people were having a very adulty back and forth and one pulls out a gun because that will help the other understand the point clearer and ending that sentence with something like: “and that’s that, case closed, thank you come again, good night Irene”. Jarring I know.

While it does sound that I had a lot of problems with this book I actually enjoyed it. What I also like is that my new job does not frown upon me listening to audio books while I am working. I started this book in the morning and finished it the next day, not bad in my opinion. I gave Iron City a 3 out of 5 on GR and stated that it did the job it’s cover said it was going to be its as good a prequel as any other novel could have been and I’ll leave it at that.

Hope you have a good day

9 thoughts on “Alita: Battle Angel – Iron City – Pat Cadigan

  1. I need to read the manga before I go there, I’ve read a little bit so far and it was good… movie I’d rate as “decent”. This – I will remember and keep on the extended list, if I feel like reading more stories from this universe after manga, I’ll get back to it 🙂 Thanks!

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Glad to hear work doesn’t stop you from listening to audio. When I worked one Christmas season at Target (a big box store) many years ago you couldn’t have headphones on or earbuds in. A lot of the younger people were very unhappy because they wanted to listen to their own music instead of what was piped over the loudspeaker system.

    Are you able to enjoy the story enough while you’re working?

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I worked at a doff place last year where the job placement stated that earphones was allowed only to be told the day i started working that it wasnt. Ended up not working at that place for long at least.

      I enjoyed both stories equally and while reading at the same time as i am working is a joy in itself. Very much the same as with what i had with Burning White, where BW was a far better story than this… dont know if that answers your question…

      I am enjoying being able to be read to while doing heavy lifting is what it comes down too

      Liked by 1 person

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