"A person is created by God./ Gifted with a natural body, a divine soul. A person thinks and feels, is born and dies. A person has free will. You, on the other hand, are a machine. Built by man. Programmed by man. You may look like a person and act like a person; you may even, in your own way, believe you're a person." Skinned; pg. 175
Look at that cover! I actually picked up this book because the printing I bought has a comment on it by Scott Westerfeld (of Uglies and Midnighters fame) who happens to be my current favorite YA author- "A spellbinding story about loss, rebirth, and finding out who we really are inside." *faints from her fangirl-ness* Ok, this blog entry is not suppose to be about S.Westerfeld (no matter how fantastic his YA novels are). Besides that, I picked up this book because of the type of series it is- young adult sci-fi. I happen to love YA sci-fi =D
The book opens with Lia Kahn (a rich girl who is, not a surprize, the most popular girl in school and on the interwebs) somehow trying explain that she is dead yet not. This is because her little sister, Zo, asked Lia to do a huge favor which resulted in Lia getting into a car accident (the cars autopilot ended up malfunctioning) that resulted in her mortal death but her Skinned birth. To be Skinned, in this book, is to be downloaded into a fully prostetic (robotic) body after having razor thin pieces of the brain scanned into a computer. Chapter one set up the story really well, and was nicely paced. I haven't read such an orderly book start since Uglies, which made me, the reader, extremly pleased. I went on to chapter 2 with enough knowledge behind what a Skinner (person who has recieved the download- Skinned- process) is and how one might think- at least, in Lia's case. I felt like a mech-head (I would use the term skinner, but in the book if you have recieved the download process, skinner is suppose to be an insult).
No matter how awsome the first chapter is, the chapters that followed seemed to drag. At least, untill page 187 where Lia meets some of her own kind- er... at least they were suppose to be like her (but what's a good story without a twist? this is where that twist occurs for Skinned). At this point, the book became one that I could not put down. The pages before seemed either like the author was trying to fit too much at once or too little, but by page 187 Wasserman got her act together resulting in a nice reader experience where the reader, in this case me, became Lia Kahn, the skinner. I mean, mech-head. A teenager struggling with the fact that what she now is has many advantages, but the sacrifice for these advantages is ones mortality.
Overall, Skinned had a nice start, rough middle, and crispy end. The first chapter was brilliant because of the pace and structure of the story, but by the next chapter and on, I became a little frustrated with the stories structure yet by the time Lia meet some of her own kind, I realized why this story is written the way it is- to have a non-organic flow. Lia's no longer and org (mech-headders term for organics- humans), thusly, the way she tells her story would have to have some geometrical sort of style. In the end, I'm left wanting to reccomend this story to all sorts of readers: sci-fi addicts, YA fannatics, people looking for something to read that is along the lines of the Uglies series, bored people and anyone in between (unless you don't like chessy romance, because there is some in here. Really well done chessy-ness if I may say so).
Oh, I'm so sure I did not tell you! By the time you finish this book, you'll long for the next one. That's right, folks! This is the first book in a series- a trilogy. The next book, Crashed, is set to be released in September of 2009. You can check out Wasserman's site to learn more.
"I was a ghost in the machine./ A mech-head./ A Frankenstein./ A skinner." Skinned; pg.32
Ok... if you've seen anything in the Ghost in the Shell franchise, you'll understand my surprise when I saw "a ghost in the machine" in Skinned. I actually would not be surprized if Wasserman got this little piece of her story from the GITS franchise, because it is an amazing one that spans 3 movies, an ova and 2 anime series. GITS also tells the story of a character that has a fully prostetic body and a cyber brain (but in GITS, almost everyone has a cyber brain which makes having a cyber brain the way to go while in Skinned, having a downloaded brain is seen as messing with what God created- at least for a radical group that tries to harm Lia in the book). Other than that, I did not find very many connections between the two because in GITS everyone knows they are still human where as in Skinned, Lia struggles to find proof between her still being 'alive.' I like this connection (because I'm an anime nerd).