Unwholly by Neal Shusterman
|Unwholly by Neal Shusterman|
|Reviewer: Jill Murphy|
|Summary: Long-awaited follow-up to Unwind by Neal Shusterman. Perhaps less shocking than its predecessor but just as tense and touching. We love this author at Bookbag Towers - for his originality, lightness of touch, and fearlessness. Unwholly comes highly recommended.|
|Buy? Yes||Borrow? Yes|
|Pages: 416||Date: September 2012|
|Publisher: Simon & Schuster|
|External links: Author's website|
At last! It's been five years since Unwind, Neal Shusterman's first book set in a dystopian future where teenage children are unwound - retroactively aborted to provide organs and limbs for transplant surgery. If you're an adult reader, the world of Unwind is very much like Never Let Me Go by Kazuo Ishiguro. Unwind had a profound effect on me - as the best books for children do - it was exciting, touching, shocking and, above all, fearless. But there were flashes of humour that made it all bearable.
Unwholly picks up with central characters Connor, Risa and Lev as they each face up to the consequences of escaping unwinding. Connor has had responsibility thrust upon him and is trying to successfully lead and protect several hundred disparate AWOLs at an abandoned airfield. Risa is confined to a wheelchair, paralysed after refusing a spinal transplant from an unwind. Lev is under house arrest after participating in a Clapper suicide attack - even though he didn't detonate his explosive blood.
And there are new characters. Starkey is an AWOL and a storked baby - one left by his birth mother for forced adoption. He feels even the AWOLs treat storks as second class citizens and the seething sense of injustice has warped him. Miracolina is Lev 2.0. She's a tithe - a child destined for unwinding for religious reasons - and she doesn't want to be rescued. And then there's Cam - poor Cam - the world's first composite boy, constructed from dozens of unwinds. What can the future possibly hold for a boy such as this?
Behind the characters, the world has moved on. Dissent about unwinding is growing and the authorities are giving blanket coverage to adverts and propaganda in order to preserve the status quo. Transplant banks are running low and parts pirating is increasing, becoming more and more lucrative for ruthless bounty hunters.
I don't want to say too much about the plot. I've spoiled enough already. I'll just say that Unwholly, now we are familiar with this world of organ harvesting, is perhaps slightly less ruthless and certainly less shocking than Unwind. This is not to say that it's a lesser book because it isn't. It's just more of a who? what? where? when? mystery novel. Told from a rotating perspective of all the main characters, t's just as much of a page-turner as its predecessor. It's just as exciting and it's just as touching. I cried at various points from the sheer pity of it all. I held my breath, hoping for the best for all the damaged protagonists, even Starkey, really. We are what the world makes us and to be better than it makes us is a trial of fire, don't you think? And in amongst it all, there are moments of Shusterman's irreverent, slightly crazy humour, shining like little stars of hope.
I liked it. Lots. Can you tell?!
I think you should read a sequence by Gemma Malley, also about population control and unwanted children. It begins with The Declaration and it's classy stuff.
You can read more book reviews or buy Unwholly by Neal Shusterman at Amazon.co.uk
You can read more book reviews or buy Unwholly by Neal Shusterman at Amazon.com.
Like to comment on this review?
Just send us an email and we'll put the best up on the site.