Author: Neal Shusterman
Genre: Young Adult Dystopian
Full Series Rating: ★★★★☆
It's been quite the journey reading the UnWind Dystology by Neal Shusterman. I actually read UnWind about two years ago, loved it, and then promptly forgot all about it and the series. I picked this up again in January at the recommendation of Marianna. Of course, when I started to read it, the story came back to me quickly. I finished the book in about a day and quickly bought the rest of the series.
The setting of this dystopian is about 40 years in the future in the United States following the second civil war (the Heartland war). This time the topic at hand is about abortion. In order to restore peace to the United States, a treaty is signed which bans abortion, but allows for parents to choose to "unwind" their children after the age of 13. Unwinding has become a viable option because science has gotten to the point where every body part can be used for transplants, so in essence people are living, but in a divided state. Yea, it's messed up.
As you may be able to guess, the main character Connor is one such teenager. His parents have signed an Unwind Order. When the juvies come to gather him and bring him to a harvest camp, he breaks free. In the process, he rescues two other Unwinds, Risa and Lev. This is where the story really kicks off.
The concept of this series is so horrifying, but so interesting, you can't help but read on. While it's not exactly graphic, it does includes some of the disturbing descriptions I've ever read in a book. One of things that I love so much about this series is the way Shusterman hops around to different perspectives/narrators, some of which are not even people. At some point, you are reading from the point of view of a character that is being unwound, and that... wow. Later, there are even more disturbing situations, but they are written in a way that they are horrifying because of how you as the reader interpret them. Shusterman does not really describe things in a graphic manner, he forces you to do the imagining.
The only real criticism I have of this series is the extremely cynical thought that a large percentage of parents would actually choose to unwind their teenagers. I can't really imagine a world where any parent would choose that. I wasn't really convinced that this whole scenario would actually happen, but such is the case in most YA dystopian books.
As far as the pacing of the series, I thought that the author did a great job of keeping my interest. During book 3, UnSouled, I did have a few moments where I was just kind of waiting for some action to start. For that reason, it was my least favorite book of the series, even though it did contain a lot of key events and background information. However, the 4th book, UnDivided, definitely made up for the slower pacing in UnSouled and I loved the ending. I had a few points that I wanted to make regarding the ending, but I will refrain because I don't want to give a single thing away. Let's just say that I enjoyed it.
Overall, I gave the series as a whole 4 stars out of 5. I gave the UnWind and UnDivided 5 stars, UnWholly 4 stars, and UnSouled 3.5. There is a short Novella between UnWind and UnWholly, which I gave 3 stars. I did enjoy it and I recommend reading it because it helps with the story line in books 3 and 4 of the series, but I just thought it ended too abruptly. It was not a complete story by itself.
You should definitely read this series if you enjoy YA dystopian books, like The Hunger Games or The Maze Runner. This one is a lot more gritty and disturbing, but really addicting and well done.
Let me know if you have read this and if you know of any other series that are similar!