Review: Unwind

◆ Unwind by Neal Shusterman
◆ Read January 2015
◆ English Edition
◆ Purchase: The Book Depository
◆ 
❝ Connor, Risa, and Lev are running for their lives.

The Second Civil War was fought over reproductive rights. The chilling resolution: Life is inviolable from the moment of conception until age thirteen. Between the ages of thirteen and eighteen, however, parents can have their child "unwound," whereby all of the child's organs are transplanted into different donors, so life doesn't technically end. Connor is too difficult for his parents to control. Risa, a ward of the state is not enough to be kept alive. And Lev is a tithe, a child conceived and raised to be unwound. Together, they may have a chance to escape and to survive.
Unwind is one seriously disturbing book. In a good way though! It paints a dystopian world where pro life and pro choice movements have come to a 'effective' solution to their problems: abortion is forbidden but children over the age of thirteen can be send to a harvest camp to be unwound. Their organs and body parts are given to other people, but somehow the soul remains.... How creepy is that?

Very creepy. The entire idea of unwinding made for a really interesting and original story though! Moreover, Shusterman went into a lot of detail how the system came to be, how it works in practice, how people abuse it, why children get send off to be unwound etc. The world-building was amazing and perhaps the best part of the book. The description of an unwinding scene actually made me nauseous and I think that is partly what the book meant to depict, how gruesome the idea of unwinding is. 

The characters were very interesting as individuals. They went through character growth while they were on their journey and learned a fair deal about themselves and the outside world. I found Lev in particular really intriguing, which is why I was slightly disappointed that the reader got no insight as to what happened between leaving SyFy and getting to the graveyard. He arrived a completely different person and I would have liked some explanation as to why that was. 

Though I did not dislike it per se, I felt very indifferent about the whole romance between Connor and Risa. It was just there all of a sudden when previously it had not been and it did not really manifest itself beyond the occasional making out. Either the author should have dedicated more of the story to their romantic relationship, or he should have left it out entirely. In its current state, it just felt like a halfhearted attempt at a romantic twist.

One thing that really did put me off (and not in the good sense) was a particular scene at the end of the book concerning two certain individuals and an arm. It felt wrong on so many levels and has contributed to my decision not to give the book a five star rating. Unfortunately I can't get into details about this particular aspect the story without massively spoiling it, so I'll leave it at this.


Strangely enough, though I really liked Unwind, a sequel does not sound all that appealing. The book felt like a standalone so I'll have to contemplate whether I'll read the rest of the series. I really do recommend this book though! It's original, well-developed and an exciting read. 

4 stars because:
✓ Fantastic world-building
✓ Original idea
✓ Interesting characters
✗Romantic was halfhearted and boring
✗Ending scene was creepy
 

Brilliant Bookshelf

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