Publisher : Simon Pulse
Genre : Young Adult |Science Fiction
Page Count: 328
Synopsis : 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? (From Goodreads)
CW: Kidnapping, death, pandemic disease, corruption, explosion
Want absolutely blew me away!! It was recommended to me by multiple friends but I tried to keep my expectations at a reasonnable level and for some reason, always pushed off reading it in favour of other books. I don’t know if it was because I was intimidated by my expectations or just because I wasn’t in the mood for it but what gave me the final push to pick it up seeing it the stunning cover for Ruse, the second book in the series.
The writing is absolutely amazing, it’s visual and almost cinematic, everytime I opened the book and read, I immediately felt transported to Tapei. The descriptions are so vivid that I could picture it perfectly, the huge buildings, the slums, the suffocating pollution, the people all around. They’re also gutting and horrifying considering the context. A near future Tapei where the reach live in their bubbles (quite literally) and filtered air and the poor inhale the dirt, live in devastating poverty and die relatively young. The chapters are long but I was so captivated (by the setting first and then by all the action) that I found myself flying through them.
The setting, plot and story are so scaringly realistic that I found myself often thinking “is this what we’re imminently heading towards?”. Want makes you think and it makes you think hard. About a slew of topics, the main ones being environmentalism and wealth privilege. And the discourse is great without being confusing or overwhelming. Right off the bat, the book explores what would happen in the not-so-far-away future with the continuing rise of pollution and global industralization. It also dives in depth into the fact that, in those circumstances, money can buy you a longer life span. At first, we see it as a very black and white issue, where the you (translates to to have, the rich) simply do not care about what the mei (translates to without, the poor) deal with.
But as Zhou, a mei boy and the main character goes undercover as a you to dismantle a corrupted system, we discover through his own experiences that the you live so isolated, going from one filtered environment to the other, never at the same places as the mei, are simply not aware to what extent things are bad and not seeking that knowledge is made even easier by the fact that their comfort makes them forget the world around them, which Zhou himself, catches himself in a couple times. This is in no way saying that the book sympathizes with the you, it Simply gives us an insider’s look into their lives.
Want is a thrilling, carefully crafted, complex story. If the topics don’t sell you on it, you should read it for the heart stopping action and the cast (which I’ll get into later). This book is mission after mission, some of which consist in characters just bidding their time before striking and some of which will make you bite your nails with stress and anticipation of the next step or the outcome. I was never bored reading this, not for one second. One other thing I appreciated is how realistic the characters’ big mission was, there was never an easy fix to the world and they were well aware of the fact that what they have to do WILL have non-negligible collateral damages but they were still ready to go to any lengths to succeed.
Now to what makes or breaks a book for me, and what definitely made my reading experience of Want a hundred times better. THE CHARACTERS. I adored the found family aspect of their friendship and how they had unwavering faith in one another and had each others’ backs no matter what.
First, we have Zhou, the main character and our resident soft broody boy. He is smart and observant and hyperaware of every one of his actions and the consequences they might have. He is full of doubt but his character growth was great to witness because even though that never went away he grew more confident while still having his laughable awkward and flustered moments. Then There’s Daiyu, his love interest, a you so technically “the enemy” and I actually loved her!! She’s smart and brave, doesn’t indulge much in you excentricities and has an unwavering sense of right. Their attraction is palpable and the chemistry the best I have read in a long while. I can’t remember the last time I enjoyed a romance arc in a non romance focused book this much.
The rest of the cast is equally amazing and very well developped, each and every one of them has a specific role in the mission, which would fall apart if one of them was to be taken out and I really loved that about it. First we have Lingyi who is the mom friend and therefore the decision taker, they all lean on her and trust her SO MUCH and I loved how deeply she cared about each one of them, she’s also a skilled hacker that no system can hold back. The second book will be from her POV and I’m PSYCHED. Then we have her girlfriend, Iris, who is an exceptionally skilled fighter who keeps mostly to herself and opens up to Lingyi alone, I can’t wait to find out more about her when we get to the second book. Arun, was the prodigee and medicine nerd who’s gentle and has a great sense of humour. Last but not least, Victor is the charismatic boy who dresses to impress and can get you anything from anyone in ways that only he has the secret of.
Want is one of my favourite books I read this year and would recommend it even if you’re not a huge fan of sci-fi or if you’re looking for a book to start with in this genre. I CANNOT wait for the second book and what adventures it’s going to bring. Also ALL THE SAPPHICNESS *heart eyes*
That’s it until next time.
Did you read Want? If so, what did you think?
Who was your favourite character?
Hope you enjoyed, write to you soon.