Genre: Young Adult, Science Fiction
Length: 336 pages
To summarize the back cover:
Jason Zhou survives in a divided society where the elite use their wealth to buy longer lives. 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.
Against his better judgment, Zhou finds himself falling for Daiyu, the daughter of the most powerful man in Taiwan. Can Zhou save his city without compromising who he is or destroying his own heart?
I want to acknowledge that many people love this book, that this book has 4.21 stars on Goodreads, and that I’ve seen several great reviews about this book before deciding to read it myself. I also want to mention that I listened to the audiobook, and that the experience may be different than reading the actual print version.
I don’t like writing bad reviews and I don’t like being the unpopular opinion, but I do feel the need to be honest with how I feel about this book. My opinion is directed towards the content of the book alone, and I don’t intend to criticize the author or any of the fans of this book. If you want to read a good review of this book, please stop here.
To begin on a positive note, I like that this book takes place in futuristic Taiwan and that the entire cast composes of ethnic minorities (Taiwanese, Chinese, Indian, Philippino, to name a few.) More books should be written with this in mind.
I also like that Want attempts to promote awareness of important issues in today’s society, such as climate change and the income gap. These are lofty issues to encompass in one book. Pick one, if any, and run with it. Do not try to deal with everything at once, which is exactly what this book is hoping to accomplish, and in exchange, it loses all subtlety.
The science is not convincing. Coming from a pharmaceutical sciences background, I cringe at parts of the book where the science is unrealistic and poorly researched. Without getting into spoiler territory, I am talking about the Avian flu subplot.
I do not like the characters in this book and I do not feel the chemistry between them. Jason is a handsome and intelligent teenager who is good at fighting and rock-climbing and dancing, although he hasn’t danced a step in his life. Daiyu is the only daughter of a multi-billionaire man who controls the universe, but she is not the least bit spoiled, and she hosts galas for poor children. She is also beautiful and smart and an independent woman. I get the sense that the author tries to make Daiyu a strong woman who thinks for herself, and I am all for that, but the execution is poor. Perhaps she is just too perfect. Neither Jason nor Daiyu have any flaws, and because of that, they are not relatable. The relationship between Jason and Daiyu feels forced and the dialogue between them did not click for me. The side characters are quirky and interesting, but also lack depth.
I will go off on a limb and say that this book promotes the use of destructive force in the name of achieving an ideal. It is about a group of outcasts who are disengaged in society, who believes that the only way to achieve their vision is to inflict a single destructive attack on society. This is a terrifying way to view the world. I believe that change has to happen, that climate change and poverty needs to be addressed, but I believe that this has to happen in small steps, that there must be strength in numbers, that infrastructure needs to be built, not destroyed. For this reason, I will not recommend this book to anyone.
The bottom line:
Although Want strives towards great ideals, it falls short of its potential because of poor research and uninspired characters. Moreover, this book promotes the idea of invoking destruction in the name of change.
Are there any books that disappointed you? Have you read Want? Please feel free to share your opinions about this book, even if they are different from mine.