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Unwind MP3 CD – Unabridged, November 18, 2014
The Amazon Book Review
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About the Author
- Publisher : Brilliance Audio; Unabridged edition (November 18, 2014)
- Language : English
- ISBN-10 : 1491577401
- ISBN-13 : 978-1491577400
- Reading age : 13 - 17 years
- Grade level : 7 - 9
- Item Weight : 3.5 ounces
- Dimensions : 5.5 x 5.5 x 0.25 inches
- Best Sellers Rank: #3,061,791 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
- Customer Reviews:
About the author
Top reviews from the United States
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This story is about a society that has been created within the United States. There was a civil war in which people fought either for pro-choice or pro-life in terms of abortion. However, in order to satisfy both sides, a bill was passed in which a child that is born cannot be harmed. Rather, when a child turns 13, the parents have a choice to have their child unwound. The parents have until the child turns 18, when they become a legal adult, to make this choice. Being unwound is where a person’s organs are harvested and put to use in someone else. The trick about this bill is that 100% of the person must be used. If a person is used 100%, then the person is not technically dead, and are living in a “divided state” instead. This satisfied both sides of the argument. However, the children are the ones who are left to deal with being casted as an “unwind.” The book doesn’t revolve around one person, but rather several. These characters are escaping their fates and dealing with a society that doesn’t seem them as anything but troublesome and could be put to better use in someone else’s body.
As you can see, this is a very unique story. In my opinion, I believe that this book is a reflection of current day issues that we battle with in our society, specifically the issues of abortion, life, death, the right to live, being pro-choice, and the modernization of medicine. I don’t want you walking away thinking that this book will try to persuade you one way or another, because thats not what the story does. It will leave your own opinions intact. I believe Shusterman did a good job in finding a balance in a delicate issue. This was merely a story about a group of teenagers having to deal with the cards that they have been dealt. For me, what I got out of the story was that the way that our society and government is built, there are many choices that are made for us. Adults have a little bit more of a choice in what happens to them, but for teenagers, they are often found without having an opportunity to voice themselves because they are not labeled as adults. I think what happened in this book was that a group of teenagers fought to have their voices heard. They didn’t go out and start a revolution, but rather they did the best that they could with their situations.
The fact that there were so many characters in the book was both a blessing and a downfall. On one had, as a reader, I was able to get different perspectives on a particular situation. You learned more tidbits from each character as the story went on. The story alternated between the same 3 or 4 characters, so you were able to return to a familiar character. However, because the perspective was continually alternating, I wasn’t able to relate to a character as much. I think I am used to so many books being written in first person. I am able to relate to them, feel the growth, and form a connection with that character. I felt myself having to work a little bit with trying to switch my mindset back to another character.
Another issue I had with Unwind was with the characters themselves. The author stated that the characters were about 13- 16 years old, but they came off as 18 year olds. I sometimes feel that authors will say that their characters are a certain age but then write them to act much older in order to relate to the audience that they are writing for. I know that the prospect and fear of having your organs harvested against your will is going to be a scary experience that changes you, even ages you, but it never seemed like these characters ever had that childlike innocence to begin with.
When I first heard about this book, it seemed really creepy. The cover of the book didn’t help either. I have to say, this book wasn’t that creepy at all. There’s only one scene where I felt creeped out. I’m not going to give that scene away because I feel like you just have to read it in order to know what I mean. I also thought that the book was going to be a little bit more fast paced. The story seemed to drag a little bit in the middle, but the ending made up for it. I especially loved the ending, and I would have been more than okay with that being the ending to the entire story. There are two more books in the story called Unwholly and Unsouled. The cover to Unsouled especially creeps me out!
I really liked this book. I have to say, if you decide to read it, don’t expect it to be like a typical dystopian book, because thats not what it is! You’ll just have to dive into the book and prepare for a unique experience.
Since the international voice is so silent, it made me wonder if something had happened on a global scale to make other countries okay with this practice. But that topic is never touched on.
Small spoiler: Then towards the end of the book, to have the Vatican say that they have no position on unwinding? Are you kidding me? Seriously! I mean, come on! There is NO country in the world that would let this happen peacefully outside of some extraordinary circumstances that would leave the US completely insular. But the Vatican's silence is also not explained.
Then there's the writing. It's as if it was written by a twelve year old and edited by someone while watching TV. All the characters act way above their age with the occasional scuffle. There are no big, challenging words in the book, it's extremely simplistic writing. And basic brain functions can be found in many places online and off. The author should have at least skimmed one or two references before attempting to write about the subject.
I don't know if I'll continue to read the series or not. I simply can't decide if the author is asking a lot from his readers, if he thinks his readers are extremely stupid, or if he is.
Top reviews from other countries
This society is a weird one but no weirder than many in its genre. I think it's better not to look too deeply into the thinking behind it as you could drive a truck through the holes in the 'pro life vs pro choice' storyline and just accept that it is what it is and come to terms with a society that has no need to deal with illness any more due to an abundant supply of 'spare parts'.
I found the first half compelling, got a bit bored towards the end, and found some ideas - most notably the 'clappers' - poorly explained. This didn't hook me in the way that the Hunger Games or the Divergent series did, but it was better than some other dystopian YA books that I've read. I won't rush to buy the rest of the series but will grab them if they come up on special offers.
Kudos to the author for the eeriest chapter where we're taken step by step through an 'unwinding' process - really moving stuff.
The story moves well and delivers, what I can only describe as brutal gut-punches in a somewhat nonchalant tone. When Cy-Fi's "friend" doesn't know what had happened to him, or when we find out reasons why some of the characters were sent to be unwound, or when we realise where Connor's new arm comes from - all awful moments that require a few moments to process what just happened.
In terms of character development, I enjoyed following Risa and Connor, but I felt Lev's new "hardman" personality was forced and unnatural - whether that's down to not liking Lev from the start, I'm not sure.
I could be convinced to read the next book in the series but I don't feel in any rush to do so.
16-year-old Connor is destined to be unwound. What's that? Well following a pro-life/pro-choice war, the government passed a new law - abortions are illegal, children are protected `til age 13, but between the ages of 13 and 18 a child can be `unwound' - taken to pieces and re-used in other people. This means that no child actually dies - their constituent parts live on. Yeah right! Tell that to the poor kids being unwound!
Connor messed up a bit when he was younger, Risa was a ward of the state - and there were budget cuts, and Lev was a tithe (his parents were unwinding him as a way to give back to god/ humanity!).
Irrespective of their reasons for being unwound, all three find themselves on the run, and thrown together through circumstance. Finding themselves in unusual circumstances and strange places along the way, they grow in ways they never would have otherwise, and question what being alive or having a soul is really about. But when it comes to the chop, which is worse; to die, or to be unwound?
Wow! That is one of the first things that comes to mind with this book. I absolutely could not put it down, and when I did put it down I couldn't stop thinking about it!
The book has an eerie dystopian setting, which is unsettling in the way that the reasons for the changes in society are ultimately understandable! Which is very scary! The idea of unwinding is sickening, whilst at the same time makes a disgusting sort of sense. Why abort a child that you can allow to grow up, and then harvest for parts? Parts that are desperately needed! And what an interesting argument - if all the parts live on, then has the child really died?
There are loads of questions like this posed in the book; with tricky subjects such as life and death, the human soul, and religion all touched upon. It is truly an emotional experience to get an insight into each childs life and viewpoint, and to see how they view the idea of their own unwinding, and ultimately their own death. It is also interesting to see how much each child is willing to fight to preserve their life, and really does make for an absorbing read.
I have to say that at times I did feel physically sick though - especially the chapter where we follow a child through the operation to be unwound (the child is conscious throughout), especially given the fact that we are told that this child is taken to pieces and ultimately redistributed in just 3 hours 19 minutes. How wrong that an entire life can be disassembled into constituent parts and ultimately ended, in such a clinical fashion, in a little over three hours.
Overall, I enjoyed this book, and the ideas that it provoked, (even the sickening ones) and I think anyone with an interest in young-adult, dystopian stories will really enjoy this.
9 out of 10.