Featured Review: Want by Cindy Pon
About This Book:
From critically acclaimed author Cindy Pon comes an edge-of-your-seat sci-fi thriller, set in a near-future Taipei plagued by pollution, about a group of teens who risk everything to save their city. Jason Zhou survives in a divided society where the elite use their wealth to buy longer lives. The rich wear special suits, protecting 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 Contributed By Kim Baccellia, Staff Reviewer*
Jason Zhou lives in a futuristic society in Taipei, Taiwan, where pollution is everywhere. This affects not only the air but the food. The 'meis', or the people without money, die young while the 'yous', or the wealthy people, are able to benefit from their wealth. One way the yous benefit is by being able to afford special suits that protect them from the hazardous polluted air. When Zhou has a chance to infiltrate and destroy the international Jin Corporation, he goes for it. Not only does the Jin Corporation make the suits but might be behind the very reason why the suits are needed in the first place. Problems arise the deeper he gets inside. One of which is his relationship with Daiyu, the daughter of the CEO of Jin Corps.
What worked: I love Pon's writing which uses diverse characters in lush, vivid surroundings. In this case it's a futuristic Taipei. The writing is dynamic and readers feel as if they're actually in this dystopian world. The horrors of pollution, along with the portrayal of the division between wealthy and poor, is shown in such a way that it leaves you gasping. There's more than a few scenes that are graphic and very intense. Even though I've never been to Taipei, I could envision this futurist city, with not only the darkness but the beauty. Yes, Pon, nails the whole setting as a character!
Zhou's character is one that is multi-layered as a survivor who witnessed the death of his mother because they couldn't afford the medicine. He directs this anger toward a greedy corporation that makes money off the suffering of thousands. Zhou though also has nicks in his anger whenever he gets around Daiyu. He knows he shouldn't have any feelings toward the 'enemy', but that doesn't stop him from wanting to be around her.
A huge plus is this novel is filled with diverse characters including a strong Asian protagonist. His own gang of friends who help him with his mission are also not the stereotypical 'side-kicks'. **Loved the relationship between cyber hack Lingyi and dare devil Iris.
Daiyu, isn't the heroine in distress. She shows her own hidden strengths. Zhou and her relationship is complicated at first. There are some twists and turns throughout the story, including what will happen with these two. Their friendship would be considered 'forbidden' or not realistic if they did meet each other before Zhou infiltrated her world. In a way, both help each other arc toward the end of the story.
Fast-paced, engaging, dystopia set in the futuristic world of Taipei where one survivor's strength is put to the test.