UnWholly – Neal Shusterman

Spoiler alert – Please read Unwind first before reading this review.

Unwind, one of my favorite dystopian thrillers, is another masterpiece by Neal Shusterman and so engrossing that I was a tad reluctant to read the sequel in fear of disappointment.  UnWholly is book 2 in The Unwind Trilogy, so there will be another coming.  I will not summarize the book – any attempt at summarizing will take the thrill out of reading the story.  As the middle novel, it continues the storyline without the unique punch in Unwind because the idea of unwinding has already been presented, but it sets everything up to explode in the final book.   Our favorite trio of Connor, Risa, and Lev are back but separated.  The burden of leadership is consuming Connor who has the lives of hundreds of AWOLs to protect.  Risa, stoic as ever, should play an even bigger role in the final book.  I like the growth of Risa and really like her last chapter.  Levi, now Lev, is my favorite; transforming from pious tithe to rebel to unwilling saint and back to rebel.  New characters are introduced and become pivotal.  Cam is so cleverly written, speaking in metaphors.  The inner workings of Starkey’s mind are exposed to reveal how a leader/dictator/? comes into being.  Told from every character’s point of view, even the dead planes, the author nails his craft.  The chapters are short, with the chapter title identifying the character’s point of view, so it the story shifts are easy to follow.  Every character is so well thought out and written without an errant word anywhere.  One character I wish I knew more about is Hayden – really feel for the guy and the position he was in with no right answer, his own Kobayashi Maru (Star Trek reference for you younglings).  Final thoughts – EXCELLENT!  Highly Recommend

Galley review  Publication date 8.28.12

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