The story starts out feeling slow and extremely heavy-handed. Stick with it. It gets so much better! Many, many moments that are beautiful, striking, suspenseful... overall, awesome book!
This was a fun book, despite the fact that it relies on a premise that is, frankly, a bit absurd. In no reasonable world do pro-choice and pro-life groups "compromise" by allowing not only retroactive abortions (i.e., the flat-out murder of teenagers), but also the use of teens as body farms. It would be abhorrent to both groups, just as it is expected to be abhorrent to nearly all readers. Because I found the basic premise to be ridiculous, I had a hard time suspending my disbelief, and it thus took me a while to get into the story. But I'm glad that I persisted. The characters and interesting and believable as they respond to real threats. And the horror of the process, which is mostly shrouded in mystery for much of the book, is chillingly illustrated towards the end by actual unwinding of one of the less sympathetic characters. Furthermore, the narration is superb. So despite the rickety premise, I really enjoyed the book, and I'm looking forward to the remaining installments.
Besides incessant listening to audiobooks, I also read on my Kindle at night, birdwatch, garden (roses, daylilies), and do genealogy.
Overall, an enjoyable listen. It didn't grab me like HG did, but it is still a quite good story which held my interest and made me care about the characters.
This book will blow your mind! It is the most gripping book I have read in the last two years. There is a twist around every corner. While the story is set in the future, our society is very close to so many of the scenarios. I teach high school reading. Many of my students were reluctant to read this at first. It scared and shocked them. But the story offers so many opportunities for discussion of current societal issues that eventually they got caught up in it. I would not recommend this book for anyone under 15 years old. The content may be too intense.
I did not like the reader at first. I thought he was too monotone. I started to like him about half way through. By the last quarter, I really appreciated how very good the narration was. I decided that maybe he keeps the emotion in his voice purposefully restrained to let the authors's words provide the impact. Time after time I found simple sentences that conveyed huge meaning. I really liked Neal Schusterman's style. Totally worth your time and money.
I have nieces and nephews in the 13-20 years old range that have been raving about the YA novels they read for a few years now. So, recently, I have begun trying them out and I have to admit that some are very good and Unwind is among the best. I would give it 4.5 stars if it was allowed.
Among the various dystopian trials and tribulations thrust upon the protagonists of YA fiction, being unwound has to be the most harrowing. In practically all novels of this genre young people face a daunting future that will require a Herculean effort to overcome. But, while death is ever-present in all of these scenarios, at least when a character dies, he is dead.
Not so in the world of "Unwind." In this world an agreement has been reached, after a sort of pro-life/pro-abortion conflict, that makes abortion illegal but allows parents the right to unwind their children between the ages of 13-18. Unwinding is a process by which a person's body is disassembled system-by-system, organ-by-organ, and over 99% of their parts are then transplanted, grafted, etc. into other people who need them. This allows the unwound person to remain alive in a divided state. And they do remain alive (at least in a way) as becomes obvious when we meet a character who has received the frontal lobe of an unwound teen and the consciousness of the unwound frontal lobe takes over from time-to-time.
"Unwind" follows a group of teens set to be unwound, for various different reasons, as they try, sometimes successfully and sometimes not, to avoid the authorities and remain alive in a whole state. Shusterman developed a great idea with "Unwind" and has penned a great story in which to carry it out.
I'll probably be one of the few people to say they didn't like this story. I didn't know what I would think going into it, but having listened to the whole story I'm not sure I'll bother with the rest. Quickly, here's why.
I thought the background information on the war and subsequent decisions was really limited. I'm sorry, but if parents are willing to basically kill their children there needs to be a whole lot of information on how people were convinced that this was the right decision. There isn't. And so the whole story requires you to just blindly accept that this actually happened. Even though the war was between pro life and pro choice groups. Somehow those two decided to unwind children under 18? I don't buy that.
There were a few highlights, but overall I felt like I was waiting for the big moment. There was one obligatory major moment but other than that I felt like it was somewhat dull at points.
The characters at time felt one dimensional and not well thought out. Some were just always bad, others were always there to save you. And then random characters existed to surprise you with their actions but those surprises felt somewhat hollow.
Overall, interesting idea for a story but I had to fill in too many holes and suspend too many beliefs.
This book was recommended from a friend who loved it, honestly I don't get it. It's not a plausible story line and it's told in such a way that you end up not caring very much about anybody in it. I'm not even sure which side of the agenda it was trying to be, pro choice or pro life. Either way, do yourself a favor and read something else.
Though requiring a massive amount of suspension of disbelief, the premise is interesting. There are a few truly compelling scenes in the book, most notably the culmination of Lev's journey to Joplin and a section near the end focusing on Roland. However, as with much teen fiction the antiseptic dialogue and character interactions both detract and distract from the import of the weighty philosophical issues at play. The book would have been better served if written as a straight up, adult SF novel where it wouldn't have to pull its punches.
Perhaps younger listeners (teens?) would enjoy this book. It is dealing with heavy subject matter, right-to-life / abortion issues, but is filled with so many cliches that I am simply bored.
I can't see myself purchasing any other books by Shusterman.
I don't know who I would cast instead (I don't keep names of narrators in my memory), but I spent the first part of the book feeling like I was being yelled at. The sense of urgency that he was trying to impart was overdone.
They all play a part in the cliche'd story, so I'm at a loss to choose one to cut.
I always hesitate to leave less than complimentary reviews, but I would have appreciated reading some for this title before I purchased it.
I really loved this book. If you like "Hunger Games" or what-if type books on what crazy things could happen in the future, this was a very well-written, great story. I liked it so much I'm going to buy the Kindle edition as well. The narrator did a great job with the voices too.