UnSouled by Neal Shusterman
My rating: 4 of 5 stars
For starters this is the third book in the UnWind Dystology, and there’s a fourth book to come, so if you haven’t read the first two books yet, then you may want to skip reading this review for now.
The book starts off soon after the exciting ending of UnWholly. Connor and Lev are traveling together, and Risa has escaped from Molokai, leaving Cam emotionally hurt.
There’s also the situation with Starkey and the other storks that left with him, too, and he plays a major part in this book. Believe me, I’m none too thrilled about the fact that he was successful in his plot and my opinion of him has not changed since. In fact, his actions in this book only solidify my judgment.
Neal Shusterman does a great job of extending the drama to make this story of a dystopic future in which adults are able to justify their reasoning for getting rid of those that they find don’t conform to the utopian society they wish to build. The premise sounds so ridiculous sometimes, but with the way scientific research is, it may not sound as ridiculous as it seems. Neal gives us points of references to factual scientific documentation to prove it.
That’s what makes this story so unnerving. What also is unnerving is the not-so-unrealistic approach that humans take in justifying their actions, which, in many cases are well intended, but end up so off kilter and you don’t even realize it until it’s too late. Not only that, but after reading the story from several different viewpoints, you realize that there are so many factors working on both sides of the UnWind spectrum that there won’t be a simple solution to fix what has been established as acceptable for years.
I’m not saying that we’re going to have UnWinding in our day and age, but we have problems in our own healthcare system that Neal somewhat parallels, in a way.
I’m getting off the mark badly here.
Anyway, I really liked how the drama unfolded, but I couldn’t predict correctly how things were going to be. I kept thinking, oh, this is going to happen to this character, but it doesn’t. And then I thought, that’s going to happen, but it doesn’t. I left me frustrated and annoyed and emotional. Why couldn’t this person just do that?! Why did that person do this?!
And when I think things are bad enough, they get worse. By the time I was finished, I was pretty mentally drained from the thoughts and ideas of all the different characters that it’s hard to see any black and white in a lot of what’s going on, if you feel at all empathetic to more than one of them, at least.
Not only that, but the plotting and planning from the Juvenile Authority as well as Proactive Citizenry make things all too complex for a simple solution, and it makes you wonder how much of this situation will be resolved in the fourth book. Neal really pans this out as a kind of miniseries in a way. At least, that’s how I felt it was like. A really good miniseries.
After reading this book, I already assume that the end of this series won’t be tied up into a nice little bow and it scares me to think about that. Will Connor and Risa be able to survive through all this mess and actually spend time together as a real couple, with no fear of death looming over them? Will Lev finally find peace within himself and be free from the guilt he’s been carrying? And what will be of Cam? Cam, the rewind who’s both a single person and many people at the same time, who I sympathize with sometimes and loathe other times.
Those are questions for another book.
As for this book, do not read it to find resolution. Read it because you find the story intriguing and horrifying and suspenseful. Read it because you like the characters and need to know what’s happening to them. You might find the book angers you, as it did me, but just remember, this is not the end of it.
With that said, this is a well written part of the dystology and it didn’t feel like a “filler” book at all. So, well done, Neal!