Want by Cindy Pon | Book Review

Title: Want
Author: Cindy Pon
Pages: 336 pages
Release Date: June 13th, 2017
Source: ARC from publisher
Genre: Young Adult, Science Fiction
Rating: 4/5 stars
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?

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**I received an advanced e-galley from the publishers. This has not affected my review in any way** 

Rarely have I ever found a book as perfect for me as this one right here. It is a science fiction book featuring an Asian main character, written by an Asian author. It takes place in Taipei, Taiwan. The main character has the same birthday as me. We might as well have been twins. I was reading this book for the #AsianLitBingo event that was happening. It was also Asian Heritage Month when I read it, and I think its important to acknowledge these stories by own voices authors.

This book is just so different from anything on the market right now. I really enjoyed the change of pace. I had never read a book with a setting in Taiwan! Growing up in Taiwan, the author made sure to include key parts of what she loved most about her birthplace. 

Not many people caught this but despite the fact that the entire book was told in English, the characters were actually speaking Mandarin. I thought that was a really interesting perspective and often times I found myself trying to translate the English into Mandarin, even though my Chinese is subpar at best. The book brought so many relatable parts of my culture into the story, including the foods that I eat and the customs we have in my house. It was so great to read about someone so similar to me on the pages of a book. It's a feeling I can never explain. 

I think with a lot of science fiction books, we as readers always ask ourselves "is this plot believable or conceivable?". Want takes place in a future where the levels of pollution have wrecked havoc because of the actions of society. It is a totally realistic re-imagining of how the world will look in 50-100 years, from the state of the environment, increase in expensive technology, and the wealth gap between the rich and the poor.

The book starts off by thrusting us into the conflict but slows down from there. I found the middle to be quite slow and dragging at times. The pace picked up after about 100-150 pages, and I was hooked. I so desperately wanted to know what the end of the book held for the fate of this society.

Although there is a romance between the main protagonist and one of the characters, I think it took a back seat for most of the book. The real shining gem of this book were the freaking fantastic characters and their relationships. The entire cast was amazingly diverse, including a Filipino, Indian and a bisexual character. Even from the beginning of the book, we get to see how close this ragtag group of activists is and how they strive for change.

Want is much more than a diverse, fast-paced science fiction novel. It's as Kirkus says a 'socially conscious futuristic thriller'. It's a story that reveals much more about our society than we realize. It brings to light so many current issues that I think many readers will take a stand in. I also think this is a great book that will, in the future, create more advocates to stand up against issues like poverty and the continued pollution that occurs. Not only did Want fulfill my little environmentalist heart, but it was also a token to my culture and background. If you're even the slightest bit hesitant about picking up this book because you don't think it'll be your cup of tea, just buy it anyway to prove yourself wrong. If you ever need more confirmation, just talk to the author because she's a sweetheart as well!

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  1. OMG I HAVE BEEN WANTING TO READ THIS FOR AGES! Hopefully I can pick it up soon because it seems so super enjoyable! Thanks for the lovely review Alex! <3

    1. I really hope you do Anisha! I love this book so much :D

  2. Great review! I just finished listening to it on audiobook and I loved it! :)

    Lauren @ Always Me

    1. OHH I would like to see how they pulled off the audiobook!

  3. When you kept on showing this on your insta I knew I had to have it so I read the synopsis and bought my copy and I am so excited to read it!! It sounds so good and the fact that it made you feel represented in literature is amazing!


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