Jason Zhou, a young revolutionary living in Taipei, witnesses injustice on a daily basis. Pollution and sickness are killing the poor people (the meis) because they can’t afford to buy protective suits, which are manufactured and worn by the rich people (the yous). As a result, the yous thrive: they party daily and enjoy all of the luxuries that life has to offer. Meanwhile, the meis lay dying on the streets. Enraged by this gap between classes and the man behind it all, Zhou and his friends set out to make a difference.
Overall, I found the plot to be a bit boring. While I was excited by the idea upon first reading the novel’s description, I just wasn’t that captivated while reading it. Not only did it drag on a bit, but everything was simply too easy. Every “problem” was resolved immediately and there was always a convenient, yet somewhat unrealistic, solution. Furthermore, while carrying out what should have been a complicated plan, there were very few hitches. Everything just seemed to work itself out. Even the ending didn’t have me on the edge of my seat.
The characters in this novel were likable but not lovable, and overall not very memorable. I even found some of them, such as Victor, to be a bit annoying. In most cases, they were rather underdeveloped. They each had a certain quirk, but Pon failed to elaborate on any of their back stories. However, they were very diverse. This book is representative of people of multiple races and sexual orientations.
The setting of this story was certainly unique. I have yet to read another novel that takes place in Taiwan. There are several good details, and Pon paints a consistent picture of the streets of Taipei. That being said, you don’t learn much about the world beyond the pollution, sickness, and financial inequality.
Neither the plot nor the characters in this story captivated me. The events that take place throughout the novel failed to excite me and I simply didn’t fall in love with any of the characters. I do, however, admire Pon for creating a very diverse world.
Rating: 2.5/5 stars