November 10, 2013

Robin Wasserman: "Torn" ("Wired")

Title: Torn (previously: Wired) [on Amazon | on Goodreads]
Series: Cold Awakening (3rd of 3 books)
Author: Robin Wasserman [Site | Goodreads]
Genres: Sci-Fi, Dystopian
Year: 2010
Age: 14+
Stars: 5/5
Pros: Again: not overly original premise brought to excellence. Strong, imaginative world-building. Well crafted, emotion-conveying prose. As with the second book, you also get more action than in the first one.
Cons: You have to buy the premise, of course (parents willing to shove their kid's brain into a machine and all that). And you have to like the main character despite her past - which, apparently, proved tough to some readers (but not to me). Also, in this last installment there are a couple of not completely convincing character attitudes (more like unexpected revelations and/or changes). But I can't bring myself to take even half a star away from my rating...
Will appeal to: Those who aren't afraid to think and speculate. Those who can appreciate a gutsy ending.

Blurb: Lia has become the public face of the mechs, BioMax’s poster girl for the up-and-coming technology, devoting her life to convincing the world that she - and the others like her - deserve to exist. Then Jude resurfaces, and brings some scandalous information with him. Is BioMax really an ally to the mechs? Or are they using the technology for a great evil...and if so, can Auden really be a part of the plan? Meanwhile, Lia also learns a shocking truth about the accident that resulted in her download...a truth that forces her to make a decision she can never reverse. (Goodreads excerpt)

Review: I think you got the point by now: this is my favourite series so far. I'm not the fangirling type (also because *cough* wrong age for that *cough*), but I need to strongly assert it...this is a darn good trilogy. Which doesn't mean it's perfect, and of course doesn't mean it can be palatable for everyone. Still, if only one person, after reading my reviews, is going to give it a chance because of them, I will be a happier old girl ;).
As in the first two books - especially the second - we get the right blend of philosophy (don't let the word scare you!) and action. Right from the start, when we follow Lia during the highlights of an advanced reality show...an idea sponsored by BioMax, in order to persuade the masses to accept mechs as your average people. Again, I love it how Wasserman manages to incorporate bits of our nowadays life and/or technology into her narration, taking them a step further (hey, it's the future!), but at the same time avoiding to overdo them. From here, the story unravels among friends and foes - friends turned into foes, foes unexpectedly becoming friends - allies who betray and former haters who repent, or at least cling to their own humanity enough to make amends. There are a couple of huge surprises along the way...even not counting Zo's disclosed ability as a hacker extraordinaire (after all, we already got a taste of that in the second installment). Let's just say, no one in Lia's family is who they appear to be, and a huge secret will tear her life (and Zo's) apart. To be honest, I had a couple (???) of issues with this part, as far as likelihood goes. On the other hand, it works well for the novel, though I wouldn't say it has any chance to happen IRL. (Sorry for being so cryptic - but you don't want to be spoiled, right? *grins*). [...]

Again, there's love and heartbreak in the mech world - and this time it's the real deal, because finally death strikes among them. Yes, apparently, mech aren't eternal anymore. Which makes sense, because a virus can take a machine down. Only it shouldn't have happened, because of the high-profile security. But the bug may have not been a casualty. Or better, it definitely wasn't. So it's up to Lia and her handful of (often unlikely) allies to save the day for those who haven't been "erased" yet. In doing so, they will uncover the ultimate plan behind the download technology, and once again, enemies and allies will shift. The plan itself, BTW, is creepy and repulsive in a way consistent with the main theme of this series - what resides at the core of our humanness. The only problem I have with this part is, there have been a couple of re-downloaded characters in book 2, but none of them mentioned any memories of their past "storage life" - while the point here is that, even stripped of all its emotions and memories, reduced to a set of data, the mind is still human. It would have been more effective if we had been told that the minds in storage were self-aware. Still, by this plan, humanness (or humanity) has been violated and taken advantage of. And the last step of said plan will be even more outrageous. Now it's up to Lia to stop it - while protecting her friends, of both the org and the mech kind, in the process - and of course, there's a price to pay...
...Which brings me to the ending. I gathered from Goodreads that a good amount of people hated it. Funny how those who liked it instead were the ones who didn't particularly care for the story as a whole. It seems like the ending had sort of a redeeming quality in their eyes, while most readers who had been more invested in the series found it a complete letdown. I guess it's understandable, up to a point. Having followed Lia's woes for 3 books, they were hoping for a happy ending - or at least a different one. Me? I honestly think it's genius. All-wrapping and gut-punching and compassionate and brave and - in the end - relevant. Not to mention, peculiar (not that it's never been done before, but as far as YA goes? I don't think so). So, prepare to hate it or love it. I will only say this...if you really got the point of this series, the message it's been giving, you'll have to love it. Um, I guess ;D.

For quotes from this book click here.
For my review of "Frozen"/"Skinned" (first installment in the series) click here.
For my review of "Shattered"/"Crashed" (second installment in the series) click here.
For more Sci-Fi books click here.

Repackaged version - cover montage: Frozen-Shattered-Torn

4 comments:

  1. I'm glad you liked the whole trilogy! It's very nice indeed when that happens.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Yes, and apparently rare too - I see that around a lot ;).

      Delete
  2. Hi! I just became your 50th follower, woohoo :D
    Anyway, this trilogy sounds very interesting, I'm gonna add it to my never ending TBR-pile.
    I really like your blog!
    If you have some time, please check out my blog and maybe follow mine.
    http://imlovingbooks.blogspot.nl/

    Happy reading!!
    Myra

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thank you for becoming my number 50 :D - and for your nice comment of course. Going to check your blog out!

      Delete

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