Sunday, January 8, 2012

Book Review: Skinned (now renamed Frozen)

Back a few months ago an author I follow on livejournal had a post saying that, since her books were getting new titles and new covers next year, she had a lot of books with the old covers and title and would anyone like them. So I emailed her, said I ran a small blog that reviewed books, amongst other things (I swear, you can't even tell that I started this blog for books since everything I review is more popular) and I got copy of her trilogy in the mail right before my winter break started. I'll be posting reviews of them every other week to try and keep things interesting here.

Skinned by Robin Wasserman (now renamed Frozen)
Here is what the original US cover looked like which is pretty similar to the cover of the book I had, the British paperback version. And here is what the trilogy will look like with the new covers, I have to admit that I personally don't like how they've moved farther away from the more sci-fi looking covers but if the publishers think it will sell more this way then you have to do what you have to do.

Summary: Lia Kahn is dead, in the traditional sense anyway. Set 150-200 years in the future, science has progressed so far as to create artificial bodies that a chosen few have the resources to use, bodies where you download your brain into them and effectively become immortal. Such was the fate of Lia after a fatal accident and now she is dealing with her new life and how the whole world treats the new her.

The Good: I’ve seen a few similar premises before (such as in Ghost in the Shell or any story where a character becomes a cyborg after an accident) but I’ve never seen anything quite like this (I’m sure that someone must have thought of this before but I haven’t come across it yet). The idea of people “downloading” into a robot body when they die was presented very logically and it was especially interesting that these characters (“mechs”) didn’t have super abilities now but were still on the level of regular humans, although I’m sure that will change in the upcoming books.

The Bad: Honestly this whole book feels more like part one to a larger book and not like a complete book on it’s own. It feels like the early part in a story where a character is coming to grips with who they are, gets some advice, and then toughens up for the later parts, except that second part never comes to pass. Also, I don’t think it’s possible but Lia was almost made too sympathetic, by which I mean, plenty of characters tell her over and over that she’s selfish, self-absorbed, et cetera, yet I can’t see where they are coming from after all. Sometimes I’ll read from the POV of a character, only to discover from another POV that they act completely differently, but we didn’t have that other POV so it made me dislike all the other characters since they kept getting angry at her for no apparent reason.

I'm now done with the second book in the trilogy as well (hence the reason for spacing these reviews out, gotta find enough time to finish the last book, especially since I like to give myself a little bit of time between books in a series) so check back in a couple of weeks for the review for Crashed!