Author: Cindy Pon
Series: Want #1
Genre: YA, Sci-Fi, Romance
Pub Date: June 13, 2017
Publisher: Simon Pulse
Source: FC from ALAAC 2017
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?
Ah, science fiction, the genre that seems to get brushed aside. At least that’s how it seems when it comes to me. I read a ton of fantasy, but sci-fi is a different story. It’s not that I dislike the genre–quite the opposite. I love it. When my friends started reading Want and praising it, I knew I had to check it out. Plus, look at that cover! As soon as I had a gap in my reading schedule, I dove in and devoured the story in two days.
Overall, it was an enjoyable book (I wouldn’t have been able to read it so quickly if it was bad). It lands smack in the middle of star ratings; it had some great things about it, but it also had some weak spots.
By far, the best thing about Want is the futuristic world of Taipei. The worldbuilding in this book is luscious and sprawling, perfectly depicting the landscape where the story is set. I could imagine everything clearly, like the large colorful billboards and the flying motorcycles and the clean air suits. But I could just as easily picture the cloud of smog hovering over the city, blue skies merely a dream to the characters. The author thought of everything, and it really shows.
The pacing is a different story. It started off super strong; the first chapter is a kidnapping! Our main character, Jason Zhou, kidnaps Daiyu, the female MC. It’s thrilling for the first ~20 pages, and then after the kidnapping, the pacing slows down considerably and doesn’t pick back up for awhile. This isn’t necessarily a bad thing. It certainly allowed for better worldbuilding, and a focus on Jason’s character, but the plot lagged because of it.
I love heist stories (hello, Six of Crows, anyone?), so I was super excited to see it in this book. There were parts of the plot that was super exciting–breaking into facilities or almost getting caught by security–but almost everything seemed to move slowly. I also felt like the actual conflict for most of the story (Jason trying to get access codes from Daiyu) became unclear at times. I often forgot what the heck Jason was supposed to be doing, because he often angsted over toying with Daiyu, yet I couldn’t remember why he needed her in the first place. Yes, I liked reading about Jason scheming and being generally sneaky, but I often needed to be reminded what the end goal was.
The characters were a mixed bag. Jason and Daiyu were both really great–my girl was so badass and confident and intelligent. I love a girl who commands attention and respect. Jason was a great main character, too. He was smart and loyal, and he always wanted to do the right thing for both his family and his home. Those two were great, but the other characters weren’t as well developed. Lingyi, the hacker of the group, was good, but the others were generally weaker and unclear. Especially the you group Daiyu belonged to. I just hope that we can get to see more of Lingyi, Iris, and Arun in the next book.
Ah, the romance. I usually don’t read books with male narrators, so I was curious to see what it would be like. I’m glad to report the romance was as angsty and steamy as you imagine it to be. Jason is spying on Daiyu, trying to blow up her father’s factory…and yet, he falls for her *heart eyes*. A great trope, if I do say so myself. They had great tension, and the scenes they had together were cute and fun to read. If you’re wondering, I’d definitely say they fall more on the “steamy” side of things.
The ending wrapped things up pretty well, but I’m excited to see where the story will take us next. I hope it takes on a bigger scale and tackles the climate aspect more–I guess I’ll just have to wait until 2019 to see!
Overall, Want was an exciting book with a few setbacks. The world of futuristic Taipei came alive and the main characters were lovable, but the pacing was slow and the side characters were underdeveloped. Despite its problems, I definitely want to check out the sequel when it comes out. It was a quick and enjoyable read, and really, that’s all I can ask of a book.