Top positive review
Great for fans of the series who want to know more about the characters/world of Unwind before/during/after events in the series
Reviewed in the United States on April 20, 2016
It's been a few years since I read the UNWIND Dystology by Neal Shusterman, but I really enjoyed the world he created so much that I had to buy Unbound when it came out. And if you haven't read the series, then I'd suggest you not continue with reading this review as there are spoilers (from the series, not this collection) involved. This is a collection of short stories set in the world of UNWIND. Some of them include characters from the books themselves and some are entirely new characters. Perhaps most interestingly, some of the short stories are set before, during, and after the events described in the series.
I particularly enjoyed the prequel story, UnSchooled which gave insight into the making of the Juvey-cop turned parts pirate character of J.T. Nelson. Another favorite short was Unfinished Symphony which gave a glimpse into the events that led to Risa Ward's unwind order.
UnDevoured was a little bit of a heartbreaker because it really fleshed out the sad life of Roland, the boy with the shark tattoo on his arm. When I first encountered Roland in the series, I really disliked him. He was something of a bully with a temper, as I remember him, but by the series end when readers finally get to experience what being unwound is like from his perspective, I remember being moved to tears as the process continued. So, getting to read this story about his youth added additional perspective and depth to Roland.
Unnatural Selection was an interesting story introducing new characters on the other side of the world (Burma/Thailand) that focuses on the Dah Zey. This was a nice way to flesh out the world Shusterman created beyond the confines of America, noting that the practice of unwinding had become a global phenomenon.
I didn't really see the point of including UnStrung, considering the story was previously released on it's own, but that's a different sort of criticism. Other stories included in this series that I liked, but weren't particularly impressed by included UnConfirmed (because it was so incredibly short and I wasn't really sure how much it added to the entire collection, given that it's not really driven by action on it's own--it focused on suggestive theoretical locations on where Connor and Risa may be now) and UnTithed (because I thought the storyline itself was fairly predictable and not altogether as interesting as some of the others).
Overall, though, I think the short story collection accomplishes a lot since it allows the reader to see some of what's happened before the Unwind Dystology events and even see what happens to some of the characters after they exit the main story. In particular, the story called Rewinds, which focuses on Camus Camprix and other rewinds he's in charge of, provided an additional epilogue of sorts for some of the characters we came to feel for within the Unwind world and I think it's worthwhile reading for people who really enjoyed the UNWIND series. I would've been satisfied if the short stories ended with that one, but I didn't mind reading on to see what's become of Skinner in the final story, either.
A word to the wise, though: if it's been a while since you last read the series, at least refresh your memory on who's who because I'm sure some of these stories would have a greater impact on me had I remembered everyone!