Reading Level: Young Adult
Length: 10 hours and 10 minutes (352 pages)
Publisher: Brilliance Audio
Release Date: November 1, 2009
Stand Alone or Series: 1st book in the Unwind series
Source: Audiobook from Audible.com
Rating: 3/5 stars
I have had this book to read for a long time. I was excited to finally get around to reading it. The book is fairly engaging and decently written but I had trouble getting around the main premise of the story which just seemed ridiculous to me.
I listened to this on audiobook and the audiobook was okay. The narrator was a bit too intense for the story and I though some of the character voices sounded similar. It was an okay audiobook but not great.
The second Civil War was fought over reproductive rights and the outcome was insane. All life must be preserved at all costs; children from birth to thirteen must be cared for. However between the ages of thirteen and eighteen parents can choose to have their children Unwound into parts. These kids are not killed but every piece of them is used for parts to replace failing parts in other people.
The book follows three main kids who are slated to be Unwound. The first is Connor whose parents just can’t control him, the second is Risa who is a ward of the state, and the third is Lev who was born as a tithe (he was born to be Unwound).
If you can get past the premise that parents are all good with reducing their children into parts than you will enjoy this story more than I did. I found the whole main premise to be a bit underdeveloped. Basically if you haven’t proven that you are worth something to society by age thirteen then you are Unwound. However, it wasn’t ever clear to me what the motivation for parents to Unwind their kids was. Do they get kickbacks from the government? Or are there just a lot of parents out there that get so frustrated parenting teenagers that they want them killed?
Additionally the fact that the majority of human society would be okay with this is crazy. I mean really, are people going to buy the fact that even though these kids are reduced to body parts they live on?
Assuming that you can swallow the main premise there are some interesting issues in here. Unfortunately none of them were fully explored. For example the idea of Storking is discussed some in the story and explored for the first third of so of the book and then dropped. Also the idea that some people who get parts from Unwound kids find they retain muscle memory or other memories is brought up a few times but never really expanded on.
So while there are some interesting ideas in here I felt like the story tying those ideas together fell a bit short. The book is more like a string of cool (if far fetched) ideas than an engaging story.
The book is action packed read and pretty well paced (there were only a couple parts that were slow). However I never really engaged with the characters and I had a hard time swallowing the main premise of the story, I just couldn’t get past that.
Overall this book was okay; there are some interesting ideas here but the main premise of the story was too far fetched for me. I had some trouble engaging with the characters as well and thought the story was a bit disjointed. Honestly the whole story seems a bit immature. I enjoyed Shusterman’s Skinjackers series a lot more. I wouldn’t recommend this series and won’t be reading any more books in it.