Posted By: Frank Miceli
There is something you learn very quickly in the two books by Neal Shusterman that I have read – you think and you care more than other books while you are reading them. Now I know there are always memorably characters from books. Believe me I have my own personal favorites, Ender and Sevro to name two. However, between Scythe and Unwind, it may be the issues being presented that help you to care just a bit more than you would in another novel. Here the issue being tackled is abortion but in a very different way.
***Quick note that this is book 1 of the Unwind series which has 4 books, a novella and a collection of stories put into one book for a total of 6 books in the series. This review is for Book 1 of the series.***
The 2nd Civil War has been fought and dubbed the Heartland War. The issue at hand – reproductive rights. At the end the real question is are there any winners? I will let you decide on that. However, the following has been determined as a result of this war – from the moment of conception, life is inviolable until the age of 13. At 13, parents can decide to have their child “unwound”. Just hearing that term “unwind/unwound” gives me chills and that was before I even knew what it was!! Well, in this instance, the “Unwind” as a child is referred to, has all of his/her body parts and organs divided up and transplanted into someone else. Yes, that is virtually every part of a person is taken apart and used for others. Arms, legs, eyes, brain – EVERYTHING!!
Parents can decide a child if it is too much trouble and have them “unwound”. Orphans in state homes may be set to be “unwound” without any prior knowledge or having done any wrong. Lastly, we have those children who are raised from birth to be “tithes”. In other words, they know from the time they can understand that they are only meant to be “unwound” once they turn 13. Honestly, to me the idea was just crazy and as a kid would have scared me to no end.
Here you follow the path of 2 “Unwinds” and a “Tithe” as they look to escape reality and change their stars. You meet other “Unwinds” along the way, some nicer than others. Along the journey you begin to realize, not every “Unwind” is a trouble-maker. Each is a unique individual who should have a say in whether they live as themselves or in pieces in others.
The last 50 or so pages of the book are just unreal. You experience a small part of life inside “Happy Jack Harvest Camp”. You experience what these kids are put through to ensure they are viable transplant candidates. You are even privileged to the last moments of one “Unwind” as he/she is taken in to surgery and the process of being “Unwound” is completed. (This gave me chills processing this but it is not gory is any way.)
Overall this was absolutely fantastic. Another novel that makes you think and brings out emotions you did not think you would feel for certain characters. And that ending? Well I will let you see about that for yourselves!!
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"I know my opinions will not always align with everyone else’s. I hope this blog serves as a way to introduce others to books they would otherwise not have read." - Frank Miceli Jr.
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