Review – Unwholly (Unwind Dystology #2) by Neal Shusterman


Unwholly (Unwind Dystology #2)

by Neal Shusterman

Summary: 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.

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Source: I purchased a paperback


I really enjoyed Unwind because I found the concept to be intriguing. I didn’t think it needed a sequel, but I was intrigued. I was interested in what led up to the Unwinding concept and how people could have accepted it because the idea seems so far fetched. However, the first book made it sound like it was the lesser of all of the evils. I enjoyed the fact that it dealt with a lot of issues that the pro life vs pro choice debate brings up.

Unwholly, however, suffered from Second Book Syndrome to me, but that could be because I wanted something entirely different. A lot of new characters were introduced and the characters we knew and loved were making weird decisions and not really being themselves, which made it difficult to connect. I pushed through the disconnect, but I wasn’t necessarily happy with the direction of the concept, either. It did allude to historical events that led to the Unwind pacts. It even dealt with the agencies that profited from Unwinding. I was interested, but the concepts became more convoluted and less plausible as the story went on. Unwind tested my boundaries by introducing the Unwinding concept and I had to kind of accept things I wasn’t so sure I found plausible. I was willing to do the same in book two, but it all got to be too much. It kind of reminded me of The Maze Runner in that the first book piqued my interest, but the more questions the author answered, the less on board I was with the entire concept.

I feel like the Unwind novels are for teenagers. As an adult, I’m going to see things from an adult perspective, in which case the very idea of Unwinding seems like a strange thing for adults to accept, even for those who aren’t parents. Teenagers can be awful, sure, but it’s just a phase and, while those years seem like forever to a teenager, they pass quickly. I don’t see any parents willing to fork up their time and effort and money for 13 years only to be done with it because of an attitude problem. It’s probably a teenager’s worst nightmare, but I’m too far removed from that to really get it. It’s probably normal for teenagers to see adults as wanting them to conform and stop being selfish, but the tone of the ads about how if Unwinds weren’t so selfish, amazing people could have gotten the new heart or lungs or whatever they needed was over the top and not something I really believed could be a thing. I just don’t really buy into the Unwind concept and the author kept throwing even more screwed up revelations at me and I just couldn’t accept it.

I’m torn because I love the themes present in the book. From the original abortion debate to the medical implications of Unwinding, the way that the parts were a commodity.. I mean, I like the things the author is trying to bring to light, but I just didn’t enjoy the book as much as I’d hoped. I’m curious as to where the story will go, but not enough to continue the series at this time. I have the rest of it, but I’m more worried about how much I paid for the set than I am about what happens next, if you know what I mean. It’s a book that contains some pretty interesting ideas, but it’s the execution that I didn’t particularly enjoy.

If you’re a teen, a parent trying to understand teen fears, or someone in a book club looking for a book that sparks awesome debate, this is a series worth reading. However, on a personal level, I just didn’t enjoy it.



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