My first hour into this book I was groaning: ah, me, just another sci fi tale that claims all sorts of dire consequences if [insert one political party here] gets its way.
Stories like that always seem to simplify everything way too much. One side is always Nazi-evil to the core, and boy, who could ever have voted for them? And the other side is good good good all the way to their little tippy toes, and only a very few brave and extremely intelligent people can recognize the truth... blah, blah, blah.
But "Unwind" did not turn out to be the simplistic "Voter Beware!" I assumed it would be. In Shusterman's world, both sides compromise in politically safe ways, screwing everything up to the point where all young people are at the mercy of adults who may arbitrarily decide to "unwind" them, and everybody rationalizes away their qualms because they're sick of the war and politics that brought them there.
I don't think I really understood how fine this book was until we got to Sci Fy's story. That's when I began to better appreciate the narrator, too, and I really began enjoying "Unwind".
"Unwind" has lots of memorable lingo that make total sense, which for me is the mark of a great worldbuilding author. And it's got unforgettable scenes: heroic, sad, and sometimes incredibly disturbing. (What ultimately happens to one bad boy may be too intense for younger kids to hear; as an adult I found it quite unsettling. That scene alone almost took the book from science fiction into horror, and yet there's no gore in it.)
Best of all, the the heroes, the villains, and even the bit-players are all memorable, imperfect, totally believable people I enjoyed getting to know.
Great job, Mr. Shusterman. I expect to read more of your work!
I would get rid of the "performed" aspect of the book. All the different voices and the music are distracting and needlessly interrupted the flow of the story. I would also lean less on the romance.
It's a good tale and kept you guessing. I enjoyed how it played out, when I wasn't grouching about the mismatched voices that kept popping in and out of the narrative. It sounded to me as if everyone recorded it all separately rather than an ensemble. I disliked it enough to decide avoid "performed" books from now on, no matter how good the story.
I think Xanthe Elbrick did an excellent job in Fire and I'm wishing she'd been around to record Graceling. I don't believe I would've continued in this series if the crew that "performed" Graceling had "performed" Fire.
Imaginative, entertaining, fresh
Joseph, the facilitator. At first glance, a company man who does what he needs to do to get the job done. Later you see there's a lot more to this guy: common sense up the wazoo but a softie at the core. He has heart.I'm glad he gets explored in more depth in Baker's later novels.
This is my first time with Ms. Raouf. Like one of the other commenters mentioned, her voice didn't at first fit my idea of the "world-weary Mendoza", but then it made sense. She's only 19, she's just a kid, and it all fits.
I am so looking forward to the rest of "The Company Novels" as well as Kage Baker's collections of short stories. She is one of those incredible, yet under-appreciated authors who never fails to deliver a good tale. God bless Kage Baker, she left this earth too soon.
Yes and no. It was my first experience with the "back to the earth" genre, and I loved the discussions about our disconnect with the real world. However, it kind of wore me down with breathless descriptions of bucolic living.I also felt the different voices in this narrative were superfluous, like they were just "tacked on".
Yes. I've not ready anything else of hers yet but I'd like to see how she does fiction.
Yes. I'm not sure this should've been performed by the author and her family members. They seem like sincere people who really believe in what they are doing but their performance removed me from the narrative.
I LOVE how Novella and her partner made use of materials that would've otherwise been tossed, and in doing so created something out of nothing. For some reason I find that quite exciting and really enjoyed this book. I also very much appreciated the revelation of her mistakes as well as her successes.
You can't help but compare it to Barbara Kingsolver's "Animal, Vegetable, Mineral." I found this to be much less preachy, much more fun and in the end, a better learning experience. Much better narrated, too.
I don't believe I've heard any of Karen White's performances before this, but she did a pretty good job.
The only quibble I had with the author was her interaction with Sheila. Novella ignored so many obvious signals, and then proceeded to blame Sheila for doing what she clearly indicated she would do, no matter what Novella had requested.
Colorful droll intelligent
The conversation between Mary Griffith, Mother Willow and Mother Glenda. Inspired commentary on the neo-puritanism that may be found in any religion (or in any social movement)!
This gal nails every character perfectly. Wonderful voice, wonderful talent, wonderful performance. I especially liked her rendering of Mr. De Wit, as well as Ottorino's translation device.
One of Baker's works that can easily be overlooked as merely a ScFy adventure story, but which is really much, much more.
I couldn't stop listening! Shusterman can set up and play a scene so perfectly that I can listen to it over and over again and find something new each time I hear it. This is a top-notch story that ties up all the loose ends in the trilogy in a way that is very satisfying. I adored the new characters, especially Jix and his king. Mikey's relationship with Allie was sweet, funny and romantic. Milos turns into a tragic character. Mary's character continues to descend into something truly frightening, capable of some truly godawful acts. Jill redeems herself... barely, but enough that I was rooting for her. How does Shusterman do this? How does he take someone you should hate, and make you feel sorry for them? Or happy for them? Or merely understand them despite their bad behavior? Mr. Shusterman, I am in awe.
Neal Shusterman continues the story begun in "Everost" and what a lovely wild ride it is! I was touched by the gentle romance in this story and yet shocked at times by the actions undertaken by some of the characters. Nick, Allie, Mikey, Mary, Milos, Zin and Jackin Jill are unforgettable spirits in this haunting tale. Shusterman's gift for character development and world-building just gets better and better. I think the narrator is one of the best, too. I recommend this book to everyone...but start with Everlost!
I see a pattern in Neal Shusterman's books: he sets things up slowly and steadily, the first part of his books always kind of meandering along as Shusterman adds layer after layer after layer, until you've reached the end where he's created a richly illustrated world in which every little action holds great meaning. Everlost follows this pattern and provides a gratifying ending. Better yet, Everlost in itself is just the beginning of a wonderful trilogy, and Shusterman has just set you up for a wonderful ride that will continue in two more volumes. He has become one of my favorite authors, based on this trilogy and "Unwound". I recommend this for kids and adults, especially for road trips as it will keep you entertained until you "get where you're going."
I call this a "commitment" book because
1) it's 33 hours long,
2) it's expensive--2 credits,
3) the story isn't resolved at the end--if you want to find out how it turns out you've got to buy the next one in the series, and
4) there are SIX more books in this series, all at 2 credits a pop!
There you go. Commitment with a capital C.
It's intriguing and entertaining and definitely keeps you enthralled, but I haven't yet decided it I really want to make the commitment to invest time and money in the rest of the series.
I agree with previous reviewers who mentioned it's not for kids. Definitely some adult themes, lots of violence, sex, but done well. It was a little difficult keeping track of all the characters, but I found a list of characters at Wikipedia and managed that way when I got lost.
Jeannette Walls did an incredible job preserving not only her grandmother's memory, but making the times and places in which Lilly lived as fascinating as Lilly was. (Walls is an excellent narrator, too.)
I couldn't stop listening -- this was a very enjoyable book, reminding me of Ralph Moody's stories about growing up in the west.
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