It’s finally here. The long-awaited sequel to the bestselling Unwind, which Publishers Weekly called a “gripping, brilliantly imagined futuristic thriller.” Thanks to Connor, Lev, and Risa—and their high-profile revolt at Happy Jack Harvest Camp—people can no longer turn a blind eye to unwinding. Ridding society of troublesome teens while simltaneously providing much-needed tissues for transplant might be convenient, but its morality has finally been brought into question. However, unwinding has become big business, and there are powerful political and corporate interests that want to see it not only continue, but also expand to the unwinding of prisoners and the impoverished. Cam is a product of unwinding; made entirely out of the parts of other unwinds, he is a teen who does not technically exist. A futuristic Frankenstein, Cam struggles with a search for identity and meaning and wonders if a rewound being can have a soul. And when the actions of a sadistic bounty hunter cause Cam’s fate to become inextricably bound with the fates of Connor, Risa, and Lev, he’ll have to question humanity itself. Rife with action and suspense, this riveting companion to the perennially popular Unwind challenges assumptions about where life begins and ends—and what it means to live.
UnWholly (Unwind Trilogy #2)Featured
Here is what I really loved about Unwholly:
More back story on the Heartland War and how the Unwind amendment could be approved so quickly.
The same emotional complexity that was found in Unwind.
The “bigger picture” this book takes with science and corporations. I think adding in this corporate element made the world of Unwholly more believable.
The story line about the oppressed storks(there were parts of this that I didn’t exactly like, but on the whole I think the idea of adding it is a good one–once again adds more depth to all the factors that come into play in real life)
The plot lines(yes, the multiple ones). As frustrating as it can be at times to juggle so many stories and characters, I appreciate how complex the situations presented in this book are. That’s how real life normally works too–not just a linear cause and effect but several factors normally go in to causing something.
High stakes. The stakes in Unwind were personally high for the characters I came to cherish, but in Unwholly, we get to see just how many lives are in danger.
Most of the new characters. As much as I loved Risa, Connor, and Lev, I’m once again reminded that there are other desperate people in the world of Unwind.
The addition of a character made completely out of Unwinds. Horrifying, creepy, and raises interesting questions.
The few things I wasn’t so fond of:
The character of Starkey. Shusterman is so good at making all his characters believable, but I just could not follow Starkey’s one-track motive. He never questions or doubts his decisions, and I find this hard to swallow from an author who at times made Roland more than just a stand-in villain and let you inside the minds of people who really thought they what they were doing was for the best.
While I loved the changing points of view in the first book, every once in a while a view seemed out of place in this book. Not enough to make me frustrated, but it did distract from the story some.
Final Impression: It would be hard for Unwholly to live up to my standard that was set by Unwind, but it does not disappoint. It’s not the near-perfect work I consider Unwind to be, but it’s very, very close, and more than a worthwhile read. 4/5 stars.
Many authors find themselves facing “sophomore slump” when they write the second book in a series, but not Neil Shusterman! In fact, Unwholly is probably better than Unwind—and I didn’t think that would be possible. Aside from the fact that these books are so unique, the author does an amazing job creating his characters.
In Unwind, I found myself fully invested in Lev, Risa, and Connor. As Unwholly began to unfold, I was equally engrossed in their stories. But there were new characters introduced in Unwholly that really made this book! The one that stood out the most was Starkey. OMG. He is the ultimate antagonist. In fact, I found myself so disgusted with his character and his selfish motives, that I had a hard time reading Unwholly. I would get angry as I read and had to put the book down to cool off. That is powerful writing! For an author to create a villain that is so vile he makes me angry and bitter… wow. Starkey felt real. And I’m not saying that in some super bookish nerdy way either. All of the characters in this book were phenomenal.
Oh, did I mention there is also a modern Frankenstein element going on too? Yep. If you couldn’t tell, the guy on the cover is Cam—a boy created completely from the parts of unwinds. Every piece of his patchwork self was sculpted from living flesh of unwanted children. Creeptastic!
Enough about the amazing characters… the plot(s) need some attention as well. First off, when you look at this book it appears to be one large dystopian plot. But it is SO much more. Each character has his/her own story that is told individually through alternating points of view. Every single character! You would think that would make this a choppy read, but it flows seamlessly (no pun intended, Cam). Ultimately, all the individual plots merge into an action-packed climax that leaves you cursing some characters and aching for others. Stunning! It was flawless.
Above all of these incredible in their own right elements, the most amazing aspect of this book is the deep philosophical level that it brings. Ever since I read Unwind, I said this series needs to be discussed aloud. I still hold to that claim. In fact, I told my teacher friend that she needs to read this series to her 8th grade class (so I bought her a copy). Of course, I said to set the stage she had to build the background knowledge that the entire series centers around: who has the right to play God.
If you don’t know the basis of Unwind, it’s rather complicated. In a nutshell, however, it goes something like this: America could not come to an agreement over the Pro-choice and Pro-life debate, which led to the second Civil War. In an effort to reach an agreement, the government made a suggestion they thought would be so ridiculous that both sides would stop arguing. That didn’t happen though. Instead, both sides agreed to the terms and “unwinding” was born. Pro-life wins out from conception to age 13. From the 13th birthday until the 18th birthday, parents can choose to “unwind” their children (hello, Pro-choice) as long as Science uses every single part of the body. Can we say disturbing?
Keep all that in mind, and add in a character that is entirely created from the parts of unwinds in Unwholly. Now you have the philosophical elements because Cam questions the idea of having a soul. That was some seriously deep stuff in a YA novel! I loved it. Then there is Miracelina. She’s Catholic and wants to be unwound. Based on her religious beliefs and her decision to basically volunteer for suicide, another brilliant conversation about one’s soul emerged. I’m telling you, this book is brilliant and so is Neil Shusterman!
This is not a light-hearted YA dystopian. It is also not a story laden with teenage romance. If you want a feel-good story that leaves you smiling, you should also probably look elsewhere. But if you want a story that will have you questioning society’s values and human nature, then you should definitely read Unwholly!