[review] Unwholly by Neal Shusterman

Warning: Possible spoilers for Unwind.

While it is now illegal for seventeen year olds to be unwound, unwinding still plays a central role in the society. Worst, the release of hundreds of seventeen year olds has resulted in a shortage of “parts,” creating a new band of black market unwinders. Cam and Risa hide away from their notoriety in the Graveyard where Cam has taken over as the Admiral. Meanwhile, Lev–the clapper who didn’t clap–discovers that notoriety comes with a price, but not quite the one you might think.

UnWholly (Unwind, #2)Unwind, the first book in the Unwind trilogy, is still one of the most memorable books I’ve read in years. When I heard there was going to be a sequel, I was so excited! And I think it’s that excitement that did me in. What made Unwind so great was the novelty and freshness of it, and unfortunately as a sequel Unwholly could not possibly meet my expectations for novelty.

In Unwind, you’ve already witnessed the worst: an unwinding. It is a scene that will be seared into your mind forever. In an attempt to up the fear factor, Shusterman introduces “part pirates.” Part pirates are blackmarket unwinders who are just like official unwinders, except they are not so picky about making sure their victims are properly anaesthetized. While there are hints of this underground movements, there’s no real follow through and that made the threat less present to me.

Add in an unnecessary love-triangle, a lack of female characters that do not fall into archetypal roles, and the avoidance of what could have been some really interesting character psychology, and this book left me more than disappointed. Some books are left better as stand-alones, and sadly I think Unwind is one of those books.

I still believe the idea of unwinding, and the questions it raises about what is life are interesting. I like the idea that there is very little black and white: everything depends on your perspective. Like The Hunger Games, this is the kind of book that will make you think about things you might otherwise not think about without even realizing it. As such, I would recommend it to the lower to mid aged YA readers as long as they have a strong stomach, and I think boys especially will find themselves able to relate to the large cast of male characters.

Don’t just take my word for it!

“Unwholly is one of those great books that once you finish you’re not really done because you won’t be able to stop thinking about it.” – Scott Reads It

Unwholly  was one heck of a roller coaster, and one that I would ride again and again.” – My Not so Real Life

“If you’re a fan of books likeThe Hunger Games and Uglies this is definitely one you’re not going to want to miss!!” – Literary Exploration

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About megtao

Student. Writer. Nerdfighter. Fights for love, justice, and awesome.
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