Saturday, June 1, 2013

Review: Unwholly by Neal Shusterman

WARNING: This review contains spoilers for the first book of this series, Unwind. Proceed with caution if you haven't read it yet. :)

Summary: 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.

Kim's Review: This book was so, so good. I had high expectations for it and they were definitely met, maybe even exceeded. Even though Unwholly was published five years after the first book, Unwind, Neal Shusterman did a fantastic job at picking up right where Unwind left off. The main characters had developed a bit since the last time we saw them, but in a good way. There were also a few new characters, most of whom I loved. I thought Cam, a human made entirely of unwinded body parts and organs, was the most interesting. I loved seeing his character progress over the course of the novel. I liked Miracolina, a tithe, as well, but nothing about her really...stuck out to me. She was just sort of there. And then there was Starkey, a stork who was sent to be unwound before escaping...sigh. I wanted to love this kid. I did. I was waiting for that redeeming moment where I was able to sympathize for him, like I did with Roland in the first book. But that moment never came. I hated him more and more as the book went on, and one of his actions towards the end of the book is just unforgivable. There were also some new minor characters and POVs who contributed to plot twists and overall made the book more interesting. In one of the last chapters there was a scene in one of the Graveyard's airplanes that legitimately made me tear up in the middle of algebra class. With the exception of Starkey, I really loved all of the new characters (well, except for Nelson, but we're not supposed to like him anyways).

While the plot was not as good as it was in the first book, it wasn't bad at all. There were still a lot of twists that kept me dying to find out what was going to happen. The only thing that's keeping me from giving this five stars is the fact that it's not quite as good as Unwind, but very close.

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