Author: Cindy Pon
Series: Want #1
Edition: Hardcover (signed!)
Blurb: Jason Zhou survives in a divided society where the elite use their wealth to buy longer lives. The rich wear special suits that protect them from the pollution and viruses that plague the city, while those without suffer illness and early deaths. Frustrated by his city’s corruption and still grieving the loss of his mother, who died as a result of it, Zhou is determined to change things, no matter the cost.
With the help of his friends, Zhou infiltrates the lives of the wealthy in hopes of destroying the international Jin Corporation from within. Jin Corp not only manufactures the special suits the rich rely on, but they may also be manufacturing the pollution that makes them necessary.
Yet the deeper Zhou delves into this new world of excess and wealth, the more muddled his plans become. And against his better judgment, Zhou finds himself falling for Daiyu, the daughter of Jin Corp’s CEO. Can Zhou save his city without compromising who he is or destroying his own heart?
Review: I picked up this book at YallFest this past year. Sometimes when I am surrounded by books, whether a bookstore or a library or event, I will look for something that I’ve never heard of, something completely new, and just buy it. I do this to push myself out of my boundaries, sometimes out of my comfort zone. And I had been looking for something that was dystopian with a more urban setting. This looked like it might fit the bill – a futuristic version of the city of Taiwan that has been destroyed by the environment and held in sway by a rich ruling class who barely even notices the poor struggling sobs at the bottom.
I had never heard of this author before, but saw her at one of the panels at YallFest and liked her, so I figured I’d give this book a try. And my review is . . . a bit mixed, I guess is the best way to put it. Did I like the book? Yes, but it didn’t grab me. It wasn’t one of those books where I couldn’t put it down. I’m still trying to get back into reading again (which feels weird to have to say, but it’s true), but the characters, while interesting, weren’t as engaging as I was hoping. The main character, Zhou, is pretty well-rounded. He has the classic “trying-to-get-in-with-the-enemy-then-falling-for-one-of-them” conflicts, which was obvious from the very first chapter, when he is tasked to kidnap Daiyu in order to ransom her for a lot of money. You knew they were going to end up together, even though the journey was complicated.
This book did have some really exciting parts. At it’s heart, it’s basically a heist story, with our ragtag team trying to infiltrate the company of the richest man in Taiwan. The stakes for these people are very high, but the pace of the book sometimes didn’t quite match that. I think I would have liked it more if some of the other characters were fleshed out a bit more. We don’t really get to know Zhou’s friends all that much. There was even a romance between two of them, and it seemed a bit forced in order to give them some depth. I would have liked to spend a little more time, or at least to know just a bit more about them.
There is a second book in this series coming out in 2019. I would definitely be interested in seeing where this was going. The ending was wrapped up pretty neatly, but there were definitely some strings that were left dangling. I’m curious to see where this is going, since the first book was tied up pretty neatly.
GoodReads rating: 3 stars