Review: Skinned by Robin Wasserman

I’m writing this review in two parts. The first part will be a first impression as I grabbed this one randomly off of the book shelf at my local library. The second part will be the actual review and will contain minor spoilers (but nothing major to the plot) It’s probably important to note that this book has since been retitled and is now called Frozen. It is the first book in the Cold Awakening Trilogy.

First Impression:

I was extremely excited to read this book. The circuit board cover design and metallic blue title caught my eye almost immediately. On closer examination there was a quote from Scott Westerfeld (Uglies series). I enjoy his work very much and if he enjoys it then I am more than willing to give it a try. The blurb describes a teenage girl who is nearly killed in a horrific accident and has her memories and personality uploaded into a new mechanical body. When she gets back home the whole of society shuns her and she starts to question whether living as a machine is actually living at all. At first I was a bit cautious of the blurb because the main character, Lia, is described as “beautiful, popular and destined for success”. She seemed a bit too perfect and whilst I enjoy strong female characters I normally prefer reading about the underdogs. However, I decided to read it because the possibility for exploring so many important questions was appealing.

“A spell-binding story about loss, rebirth, and finding out who we really are inside. This intense and moving novel will wind up under your skin.” 
—Scott Westerfeld, author of the Uglies series

Review:

I was disappointed with this book. I think that’s the nicest way to put it. The blurb hyped it up to be some sort of philosophical debate within an exciting novel but there was a distinct lack of both excitement and debate. The main character was quite whiny and dull, even when she was with friends or doing a daring activity. She showed a distinct lack of emotion. Robots don’t normally show much emotion externally but you would have thought that someone who had been turned into a robot against their will would have some emotions to express even if it’s in their head. It’s written in first person and this gives us a direct view of Lia’s life. She seems to quite passively let things happen to her and on the odd occasion she does get upset the feeling seems to go away quite quickly.

Another thing I disliked was the unnecessary love story. It was extremely one sided, and whilst unrequited love can be interesting to read about, this one definitely isn’t. Auden is in love with Lia, and when she rejects him (I’m perfectly okay with this, she’s just been made a robot. She has better things to worry about) he gets quite nasty. He reminds me of one of those ‘nice guys’ who think that of they are friendly to a woman who needs a shoulder to cry on then she automatically owes him her love. This whole story arc was unneeded and possibly could have been deleted to add more room for character development.

I do have one positive and that is that the book is very well written. It has a good amount of description to the amount of speech. Another interesting thing is that their are small quotes from each chapter the chapter titles, they normally described the main theme or idea presented in the chapter.

Overall I would give this 3 stars out of 5. I will not be reading the other books in the series as I didn’t become particularly invested in the characters or the actual story line. I don’t think there was enough description of the dystopian future to be able to build the world in my mind. I don’t recommend putting this book at the top of your reading list, although if you want something that you don’t particularly have to concentrate on then this might be for you.

Erin

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