December 23, 2012

UnWholly by Neal Shusterman

Shusterman's Unwind (click to see original review) was a haunting vision of America's future. It remains one of the most popular science fiction novels in the library. Five years later, Shusterman comes up with a sequel, UnWholly: Book 2 of the Unwind Trilogy. I felt that this book was unnecessary, as Unwind was incredible and complete.
Then I read the book.
Shusterman is a master storyteller. I don't know if he originally intended to write a trilogy, but he has constructed a more complex, more intense followup that makes this a compelling read. Often the middle book of a trilogy is the weakest, but UnWholly managed to take the story in directions I never expected, and left me hanging, screaming for book three.
Unwinding is the process of dismembering teenagers between the ages of thirteen and seventeen using their body parts for transplantation. Originally it was a solution to a civil war over the abortion issue, but is now accepted by society, and a big business. Unwind is the story of three rebellious teenagers, Connor, Risa, and Lev who escape their unwinding and are on the run, creating a rebellion that questions the morality of unwinding. UnWholly continues their story, and introduces some new characters. Connor is now running the Graveyard, a sanctuary for unwind runaways. Risa joins Connor, but is wheel chair bound from a spinal injury. Lev has become somewhat of a folk hero as the tithe that rebelled, became a clapper (unwinds that have their blood injected with an explosive that detonates when they clap), that was captured, and is now the inspiration of tithes that were saved from their unwinding. The story introduces three new characters;  Starkey, a rebellious teenager, taken for unwinding, Miracolina a tithe, like Lev, looking forward to her unwinding, and Cam, a new person created from unwound body parts, yearning to figure out what he is and how he fits in to society. These new characters make the story more complex and raise more ethical issues, as their stories are told in separate, alternating chapters, but come together in a hair raising, fiery climax that leaves you yearning for more. A fantastic read but recommended for more mature readers for violent content.
Reed Reads Score: 5

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