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?
This was honestly the easiest sci-fi book that I’ve ever read in my entire life, and I would like to thank Cindy Pon for that.
I used to think I was a sci-fi gal. I mean, The Lunar Chronicles is basically my favorite book series of all time. Therefore, I must love sci-fi. It seems clear and fair. Alas, the more I read of sci-fi over the past few years, the more I realize I have struggles with it. There is a lot of world building and space is scary and I don’t have the patienceeeeeeeeeeee to hear about all these crazy worlds and why Earth died and aliens that are actually in space instead of stealing Fox Mulder’s sister.
This book is probably more dystopia, but it is sci-fi as well. Maybe that contributed to the ease, but then again, I really don’t like dystopia books either so really, thank you again, Cindy Pon, for making this book just so so so easy to read.
Cindy Pon takes us to the future Taiwan where humans have destroyed Earth’s atmosphere and clearly separated the world into the haves (yous) and have nots (meis). The meis are forced to live in poor living conditions, causing them to suffer greatly with lack of resources, poor air quality, and rampant illness. The yous? Well, they have nice fancy suits and fancy rock climbing walls and just being rich oblivious people. It’s a concept that honestly could be happening in a near future, but Pon makes it easy to understand and conceptualize. There was never anything that had me going, wait, what? What is happening?
I liked the characters as well. Jason was complex and heartfelt. I felt where he was coming from and his passion to see his group succeed. I felt like I could have gotten deeper with him, but I felt like he was a good character overall. I wanted him to succeed and wanted his dreams to work out.
The rest of the cast of characters were great as well. I liked Daiyu and Iris and Lingyi and Arun and Victor. Not only were they an incredibly diverse cast (they were Taiwanese, Chinese, Indian, and Filipino along with Lingyi and Iris being in a f/f relationship and Lingyi being bisexual), they kicked some major butt. Trust me, I wanted to be part of their caring, incredibly smart and strong crew. Tbh, I wanted moreeeeeeeeeeee of the crew. I wanted all of the book screen time for them, and I’m super hoping book 2 will bring them outttttttttttt.
The romance was nice between Daiyu and Zhou. I felt like it did get a little cheesy and a little too deep when I was pretty focused on the plot, but it was still cute and I still liked it quite a bit. It was a romance I could root for.
The pacing was the biggest thing that made me take off a crown. I felt like the beginning of the story really was going strong and fast and then it kind of dwindled for me. I felt like I was on a bicycle that just immediately stopped and then just started strolling along instead of pedaling it to the metal. I lost a bit of steam – it did pick up at the end but I wanted it to be back to the beginning pacing.
Also the settingggggggggggggggggg. Pon immerses you so so so so so so so so well into the city of Taipei and I loved every second of it.
Overall, this was a far better read than I ever thought it would be the moment after I found out it was a sci-fi dystopia novel. Pon did an incredible job with creating a diverse, dynamic crew along with a gorgeous setting and easy to read book from two genres I’m not a fan of. It lost me a bit in the pacing and I did want a little more depth in certain parts, but overall, it was such a fun and exciting read. 4 crowns and an Ariel rating!
What do you think? What is the easiest sci-fi that you’ve read? Does sci-fi get hard for you to read? Does a romance screw things up for you? Let’s discuss in the comments below!