An Epic Heist Story Set in Futuristic Taipei — Want by Cindy Pon {Book Review}

Want by Cindy PonTitle: Want (Want #1)
Author: Cindy Pon
Publisher: Simon Pulse
Release Date: June 13th, 2017
Standalone/Series: Duology
Genre: Young Adult – Sci-Fi

Goodreads link

My rating in stars: 4,5 stars
My rating in words: LOVED this book!

What it’s about:

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?

My thoughts (spoiler-free):

“…The truth was a harsh and ugly one: in order to change the status quo, we had to be destructive. Seize control of the narrative. Redirect the plot.”

Truthfully, sci-fi isn’t always my thing.  But Want stole my heart right from the start. It’s got everything I love in a story, so what if it didn’t have my usual dragons or castles? It had a kick-ass heist story and amazing group dynamics! That’s like the fastest way to my heart. So the hype is real. This book is definitely one of my favorites of the year and I’ll be happy to tell you why!

An epic heist storyline. As I said, a heist storyline is one of those things that goes straight to my heart. Here it’s a rag-tag group of kids trying to take down a powerful and corrupt corporation that is making a profit of the heavy pollution that is killing people left and right. It’s impossible not to root for them, even if the book does a great job at discussing the possible consequences of their actions.

A setting in futuristic Taipei. First of all, yes for this intriguing and beautifully diverse setting. Cindy really made this alternative Taipei come to life right in front of my eyes and I adored the vibrant setting. But secondly, the setting and worldbuilding in this also feel so eerily realistic and relatable, it’s genius.  A world so polluted that the people are divided in two groups, the impoverished mei who have really short life expectancies because they have to breathe polluted air and eat polluted foods and the you, the super wealthy who can afford suits with clean oxygen and the best healthcare available. It doesn’t feel like that far of a stretch…

Amazing group dynamics. If heist stories are one way to my heart, then a rag-tag group of amazing characters working together as a team is another! We have our main protagonist Zhou, who is trying to take down Jin Corp, the corrparation  that makes the suits the rich people wear and is also the same company making people sick and is just overall corrupt and up to no good. He goes undercover as a you to do this, but luckily he isn’talone in this undertaking. He’s backed up by self-made, charming rich man Victor, science-nerd Arun, bisexual purple-haired hacker and leader of the group Lingyi, and silent but deadly Iris. Let me just say: SQUAD GOALS!

A cute romance that doesn’t overtake the story. Yeah, it’s maybe a bit predictable. Zhou goes undercover at Jin Corp and ends up meeting and falling for Daiyu, the daughter of the CEO. Predictable, but still so, so good. I loved the pacing of their romance and I especially loved the character of Daiyu, who is so much more than your average love interest. I loved her so much, I kind of wish we had some chapters from her POV. Maybe something for the second book?

A fast-paced and action-filled plot. This entire story played out like a movie in my head. It’s so well-written and visually inspiring. It’s one of those books that I would love to see made into a movie, so more people can enjoy it, but then again maybe nothing beats your own imagination anyway.

The ending was just a tad too rushed, which was my only downside. Other than that, I loved every minute of it and though I thought it was great as a standalone, I’m still curious to read the sequel. I haven’t read any of Cindy Pon’s other books yet, but Want has definitely put her on the radar for me and I’ll be sure to check them all out!

Favorite quotes:

“Back when some thought we could still salvage our planet by ‘going green.’ We might have, if enough people had cared. But they hadn’t. The rich were too rich, the poor were too poor… now that the majority of us didn’t live past our forties, we cared even less.”

“Maybe by the end of all this, I wouldn’t be able to look at anyone in the eye. Or maybe I’d do just that, and simply not care any longer.”

“If I had learned anything growing up, it was that there were no guarantees in life. But that didn’t mean you simply sat back and never tried.”

Have you read Want? What did you think about it?

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