Skinned by Robin Wasserman

I have been so lax in reviewing, guys.  Hell, I’ve been lax in blogging, period. Partially I just haven’t been reading a whole lot (I fee like this always happens), but also I just haven’t been feeling the need to share my opinions.

Anyway, here’s a short selection, as collected from reviews I’ve started and not finished. It may be a little rough, since I read these as far back as January (!):

From Amazon: “Lia Kahn was perfect: rich, beautiful, popular — until the accident that nearly killed her. Now she has been downloaded into a new body that only looks human. Lia will never feel pain again, she will never age, and she can’t ever truly die. But she is also rejected by her friends, betrayed by her boyfriend, and alienated from her old life.”

Robin Wasserman was sweet enough to send me a whole set of her Skinned trilogy when she needed to make room for its repackaging into the Cold Awakening trilogy. I wanted to read the whole trilogy before reviewing it, but my reading whims cannot be tamed and I have still only read the first one.

You might be thinking that that’s a bad sign, but that’s just not the case with me. I like to read series’ slowly. For instance, I read The Hunger Games way back in January of 2009, didn’t read Catching Fire until last year, and am only getting to Mockingjay now.  I read the first Temeraire book a couple of years ago and enjoyed it a lot… And I still haven’t read any of the others. Throne of Jade has been waiting for me in the trunk of my car for quite a while. Poor thing.

Anyway, I did enjoy Skinned, though not as much as I hoped I would. I was intrigued by the premise – your mind downloaded into a new body that is way too Uncanny Valley for the comfort of yourself or your loved ones. Unfortunately, Lia is the wrong character for the kind of identity ruminations I wanted. In many ways, I think Lia is super realistic in her reactions and not dissimilar to me, actually. She spends a good portion of the book trying to ignore the implications of her situation, most of the rest simply being angry and sad, and she is generally more focused on how the people in her life see her than how she sees herself.

That last, especially, seems realistic. Lia doesn’t know what to think of her situation. She’s freaked out and confused and so takes cues from her family and friends. If they treated her normally, then maybe she was normal. Maybe she could start to feel normal. Unfortunately, it becomes quickly clear that things aren’t normal, that she isn’t normal, that nothing is alright.

There’s a lot more to the book, setting up the plot of the next two, introducing new characters who are like her, etc etc. But I almost wish this had been a quieter book. Perhaps a standalone that focused more on Lia and her immediate surroundings. You know, one of those literary family dramas full of dysfunction. Still, it is what it is, and because I love dystopias (oh, did I mention that this is a dystopia?), I know I will be reading the other books eventually!

Okay, well, this turned out longer than I meant it to, so I’m just going to end it here and go write those other reviews RIGHT NOW and QUEUE THOSE BABIES UP oh yeah that’s right.


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