I apologise for not being able to post last week! On the night before I was planning on uploading, I had a giant essay to write that was due for IB English the next day. But I’m back again, and somewhat alive!
Dystopian books are starting to reach the level of being overdone and are a far too popular topic to write about. I, personally, am also not a fan of the genre. So when I went to pick up Unwind by Neal Shusterman at my friend’s request, I put it at the bottom of my “to read” pile. Once I finally got my bum around to reading it, I realised two things: The first being that this was an amazing book, the second being that I should really stop doubting my friend’s choice in books.
What stood out to me the most about this book is that it actually had a plot that I had never, ever, ever seen before. This is a very rare thing, and because of that, I was extremely shocked. This book is about a society where unwanted children, instead of being sent to jail or grounded or whatnot, were “unwound”. This “unwinding” consisted of taking the limbs and organs of the person (under the age of 18) and using those pieces to replace a limb or an organ of someone who needed it. This way, they got rid of the unwanted child without fully killing them and they saved lives. The book follows the perspective of three children who were sent to be unwound who managed to escape (or in one character’s case – was somewhat kidnapped) and were on the run.
This book has a very chilling effect on the read. The most shocking thing about this book is that it is so well written that it actually seems like it could be happening right now. Everything else in society is fairly normal like it is now, with the exception of unwinding and a few other minor details. Shusterman does an excellent job at portraying this concept without creating an entirely differently world in the process (cough–Gone–cough). It was a very shocking read and, to some extent, did change my perspective on the world once I had finished it.
The main characters, the narrators, also are very dynamic. The trouble with some books in this genre is that sometimes the authors put too much thought into creating this crazy, perfectly imperfect, dystopian society that they forget to write more about how a character changes. This book managed to capture this perfectly. And the fact that it changes perspectives from three different characters gives the reader a much broader understanding of different classes and groups during this time as well so there was nothing lost on the development of the setting and culture either.
On the downside, I did feel like this book did drag on just a bit in times. Yes, yes, it is difficult to find a book that doesn’t do this, but this was one of those books that couldn’t hold my attention enough to finish it in a couple of days given the time. There were some scenes that seemed to stretch on forever, and though that could have been intentional by the author to show how the characters were feeling about a situation, I personally just found myself shoving a bookmark in and moving to another book in the hopes that would keep my attention.
Overall, keeping personal opinions to the side about the genre, I would give this book a 3. Every detail of this society was well executed, and the characters were very well developed, but it did drag on quite a bit at times and there were some parts where I was questioning the sanity of the author. Unwind was a book that changed my perspective on life around me, and I would recommend this book especially if you are looking for a dystopian book that doesn’t exactly follow the formula.