“Want,” by Cindy Pon, is a refreshing new novel that captures the very possible future in a new light. With pollution levels rising daily, the dystopian world created by Pon seems all too real. With Zhou and Daiyu, witty and relatable characters, Pon pulls us into a story the like of which hasn’t been written.
In a world where the air is almost too polluted to breath, average lifespans reach age 40, at most, and the rich live in luxury. Zhou is not among those people, he prefers living in his ramshackle bunker, set in the forests of Taipei, trying to live his best life in the polluted air.
To make matters worse, Zhou recently lost his mother to an easily curable disease, but since he couldn’t afford the antidote, had to watch her die in front of him. Zhou knows something must be done to change the rich people’s minds, something to make them see the meis living in the streets, dying too young, starving too often, all because the rich are too rich and the poor are too poor.
The only solution Zhou and his band of rebel friends can come up with is to take down the brain of the operation: Jin Corp.
Zhou, getting the short end of the straw, plans to kidnap a young woman and hold her for 300 million dollars in ransom. Luckily, or unluckily, Zhou accidentally nabs Jin’s only daughter Daiyu. The ransom is paid, and Zhou’s plan is in motion, infiltrate the you’s, who can afford suits, an extravagant lifestyle, become one of them, and take down Jin Corp.
Initially, Jin Corp created a line of suits designed to keep the wearer free from the pollutants, living healthier, but not always happier. But that idea was corrupted when Corp became too greedy, only wanting money, choosing to help only the richest people who could afford his suits. His only daughter Daiyu realizes how wrong her father’s methods are, but can’t do anything to help, or so it seems.
As Zhou dives deeper into the world of the you’s, he realizes how truly corrupt Jin Corp is, and knows he must do everything possible to take down the company, even if it means betraying the girl he loves.
Fit with an ending that made me grit my teeth and crumple pages, I was not disappointed with “Want.” I enjoyed Pon’s writing style, and the subject she tackled with ease, creating a romance as well as teaching people about the dangers of pollution. I would recommend this book to anyone who was a fan of “Starters” by Lissa Price.