Crashed: Skinned Book 2, Robin Wasserman (Simon Pulse) {Audio version: Brilliance Audio, Narrator: Kate Reinders}

Grade: Γ Good book within the genre.  Solid story, good characters, if you like this genre, read this book.

In brief:

This sequel Skinned continues the story of Lia Kahn, a girl whose mind was downloaded into a realistic android body after a fatal accident.  While Crashed is a solid, enjoyable story, it suffers from “middle of the trilogy” syndrome.  While it could read as a stand alone, I doubt I would have enjoyed it half as much had I not already cared about the characters.  Similarly, while there is a degree of closure at the end (unlike say… The Two Towers or Empire Strikes Back), there is a sense of unfinished business that leaves one hanging.  Having said that, like its predecessor in this series, Crashed goes to show that YA books are not just for teens.

Setting:

Mid-to-Near Future US with a developed Cyberpunk tech and stratified social status.

In Depth:

Picking up shortly after Skinnned‘s final scene, Crashed carries on Lia Kahn’s discovery of her new life among the mechs.  Living in a commune like setting led by the nigh-unto-nihilistic Jude, Lia distrusts those around her, but still follows the lifestyle they choose.   To this end, Crashed examines social conformity, and gives one of the few stories in which the protaganist both follows the non-conformist herd while questioning, critiquing and doubting both her actions and those around her. 

To this end, I feel this story is less YA than late teen  (i.e. University age) in its focus.  Having said that, I think it therefore makes a brilliant read for a YA audience, as well as anyone who is experiencing or can remember the awkward transition between Young Adult and… well, Adult.  

Where Crashed falls down a bit is that the scope of the novel expands beyond the very personal journey of Lia Kahn into a more global impact.  What Lia faces in this book actually influences the rest of the world, and while that does add to the tension, it also makes this a slightly less unique tale than it’s predecessor.  It may all pull together in Wired, the final book in the Skinned Trilogy, but for me, at the moment, it moved Crashed into a more general category of enjoyable books, as opposed to Skinned which stood out as an innovative examination of concepts of Identity. 

Notes about the Audio Edition:

Once more, Kate Reinders adds to the enjoyment of the novel with her fine rendition of Lia Kahn.  As that the novel is written in the first person, one truly requires a voice talent who sounds like a seventeen year old girl as she reads the tale. Ms. Reinders does so brilliantly (maybe she is one… I don’t really know), giving perfect inflection and bringing me more fully into the story throughout.  Other elements of production were also superb, adding to the experience rather than pulling me out of it. 

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About Thomas Evans

I'm a writer of mysteries, espionage, and speculative fiction. In my previous incarnation I was an archaeologist specializing in gender and identity in Iron and Bronze Age Europe. Mostly, however, I was known for my works with the use of geomatics, multiscalular spatial analysis and landscape theory within archaeology.
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