Unsouled is a suspenseful tale in Shusterman’s haunting Unwind trilogy
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Unsouled, the third book in the Unwind series, is a dystopia set in America’s future. The theme of dystopias has become quite popular in young adult fiction, with the success of the Hunger Games but despite the common use of the theme, Unsouled offers a unique story about the United States’ future.
The Unwind series by Neal Shusterman introduces a practice called unwinding done to teenagers. Unwinding is the surgical removal of all of ones body parts for organ transplants, so that one is still living, but through other people. After two novels, the main characters, Connor and Lev who were sentenced to be unwound are on the run and still in hiding, but unlike before, they are running towards someone who they think may have a solution to unwinding. Unsouled by Neal Shusterman is a fantastic installment to his Unwind series with only a few minor drawbacks.
Unsouled is divided into chapters narrated by different characters. This can be a drawback for many because there are at least ten different characters that take part in telling the story, some characters have a few chapters while others have several. Oftentimes, the story cuts to a new scene or a new set of characters and can be quite abrupt and slightly frustrating. The irritating structure can be overlooked, however, because it adds to the suspense of the story. Characters like Nelson, a [body] parts pirate hunter, and Cam, a “rewound” who was created solely by other teenagers’ body parts, want to track and take down Connor and his friend Lev. Some chapters are told in their perspectives which adds to the intensity and apprehension of the story, because the readers know the intentions of these characters while other characters like Connor and Lev do not.
Unsouled gives readers numerous action scenes and a large helping of romance. I was captivated by . Towards the end of the book, there was a lot of romantic tension between Connor, Risa, and Cam.
Like most books in series, Unsouled lacked adequate synopsis of what happened in the previous two novels. In the beginning, I had to remind myself what Shusterman was talking about, especially in terms of old characters. Because of the multiple-perspectives style Shusterman takes on in his novels, it is hard to remember characters that had only a minor role in previous novels and are reintroduced in this book. This shortcoming however did not take away from character depth.
The different characters in Unsouled allow for constant and interesting comparison. The most interesting pair of characters would be Lev and Starkey. Lev, an unwind, is a person many teenagers with an unwind sentence look up to. Starkey, in many ways has a similar stance among storks, who are teenagers who were abandoned and left on strangers’ doorsteps by their natural-born mothers. In Starkey’s opinion, storks are treated as second-class citizens. Despite their similar standings among their comrades, they have completely contrasting personalities. In Unsouled, Lev says, “We’re not heroes,” but in the very next page Starkey narrates, “Mason Starkey knows he’s a hero.”
One of the best aspects of Unsouled is the writing. Shusterman writes in a very humorous and witty style that makes it easy to love his characters. Even though the book addresses a heavy topic, I was laughing a lot of the time.
The pace of the book is consistent throughout Unsouled until the end when Shusterman attempts to build up to the conclusion. The rapid pace change however contributed to the cliffhanger ending
Overall, Unsouled is a great addition to the series with a multitude of great aspects that override the negative ones.