Friday, June 23, 2017

Book Review: Want

Title: Want (Want #1)
Author: Cindy Pon
Genre: Young Adult | Diverse Reads | Dystopia
Publisher: Listening Library
Publication Date: June 13, 2017
Source: Publisher
Format: Audiobook

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 (goodreads)?

 

Want hits a bit too close to home. 
Plot: Want was all about stealth. While listening to it, I couldn't help but be reminded of James Bond and/or an Ocean's Eleven film. Zhou and his friends worked undercover to take down the Jin tycoon which exploited the world's tragic environmental state to make money. This was not an action book, it was very strategic and (I've got to say it again), stealthy. I expected this to be a standalone novel and really enjoyed how it all unfolded so I was surprised to see that Pon had a sequel in the works. I'm game for more of Zhou's adventures, but I felt that Pon's ending in Want was appropriate. 

Characters: A male perspective, what a breath of fresh air! Can I just say, I loved Zhou. He felt real, and all of his actions were justified. I empathized with him and enjoyed watching him come to terms with his undercover identity of Jason. Surprisingly, I didn't feel that much of a connection to our leading lady, Daiyu, but she was a badass. I really hope that Daiyu gets explored more in the sequel. 

Besides those two characters, I was head over heels in love with Zhou and his relationship with his friends. They had all come from different backgrounds but their circumstances led them to rely on each other and attempt to change the world. Not only did I love how diverse they were, but I loved how solid they were as a team. 

Worldbuilidng: So this book was scary. Want took place in the near future and it was easy for me to get comfortable in the world. There were a considerable amount of pop culture references and Pon really explored the result of globalization. The scary part came about with the state of our world. The air was so polluted that businessmen could make millions by making suits to filter in clean air (that only the rich could afford, naturally), and most people died at the age of 40 from various illnesses and diseases. Nothing was out of the realm of possibility and it really made me think of the direction we're (clearly) headed in. 

Narrator Performance: Roger Yeh did a phenomenal job narrating this novel. He breathed life into Zhou for me and his female voices weren't distracting. I will most likely continue this series as an audiobook to have Yeh's narration. 

Short N Sweet: Want pulled together a great cast of characters and a risky job that will involve you immediately. Besides its stellar writing, the overall message is something everyone needs to hear. 


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