Title: UnWholly (Unwind #2)
Author: Neal Shusterman
Warning: This book is second in a series, so this review will probably contain spoilers of the previous book. If you haven’t read Unwind, read this at your own risk.
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 simultaneously 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.
As I’ve mentioned before, I was a huge fan of Unwind and super excited when I found out there were three sequels. I bought this browsing through Barnes & Noble last December, and finally got to it as I’m cleaning out my bookshelves to go home for the summer.
I’d grown to like Connor, Risa, and Lev pretty well through Unwind, but UnWholly followed a completely different set of characters. There was Cam, the kid made entirely of unwound parts, who was trying to figure out where he belonged and what he wanted; Starkey, the AWOL unwind, who couldn’t look beyond his own lust for power; and Miracolina, the Tithe who, unlike Lev, never decided she wanted to live.
And then, about a third of the way through the book, Connor, Risa, and Lev showed up as point-of-view characters. So the story was being told from six perspectives, and personally, I don’t think Connor and Risa’s did much except make me frustrated with human nature and add relationship drama (because they have some sort of almost-relationship thing…)
The main plot, I think, was getting rid of Unwinding once and for all. But none of the characters really focused too much on that. Cam wanted to fit in. Sharkey wanted to be in control. Miracolina wanted to get unwound. Connor wanted to protect the kids at the Graveyard. Risa was helping him and also upset that he didn’t seem to care about her anymore. Lev had legal problems from his clapper past and was also trying to help save Tithes.
So the “stop unwinding” goal didn’t get very far. It mostly ended up with a lot of conflicts and violence. A LOT of violence. Not unnecessary, I guess, considering the world, but sometimes very gory.
Overall, the story was okay. I don’t think I’ll be continuing the series, just because it seems like it’s headed towards more violence, less plot, and more frustration with selfish human nature. I really enjoyed the first book, but I think this is one of those cases where a series is too much.
The Unwind Dystology:
- UnStrung (#1.5)
For more on my grading system, check out this page.