“You want to know the real reason unwinding keeps going strong, Miss Risa Ward? It’s because of the things we’re willing to do to save our children.” She thinks about it and laughs ruefully. “Imagine that. We’re willing to sacrifice the children we don’t love for the ones we do…”
Neal Shusterman is a genius story teller. He builds his stories layer by layer, revealing the plot through multiple POVs. While the majority of POVs are from Connor, Lev, Risa and Cam the others all add so much to the depth and thought put into all aspects of the book. It is like a chess board and he is moving all the pieces of the puzzle around letting you see most of the plays before the final conclusion of the game. Some pieces will be sacrificed, some will only be distractions, some support and others will sneak in change the game completely. But inevitably the game will end with a victor, who that victor will be and how s still anyone’s guess.
I’m wowed by this story. The initial horror that I felt in Unwind by the atrocities committed in that book haven’t left me and even when I think I can’t be more horrified by anything else in this series I’m proven wrong again. From who is really controlling the clappers to what Proactive Citizenry is willing to do or has done to keep all the body parts coming.
Neal Shusterman lets us walk through unwinding’s past as the scientist Jansen Rheinschild horrified by what he has invented and how it is to be used tries to correct his mistakes. At the beginning of each Part there is a snippet of Jansen’s past leading to a better understanding of the present. Neal is also great at showing what is going on in the present story with some of the propaganda and commercial ads that are being ran. This is a brilliant mechanism in the story as it lets the reader see what society is really like.
Connor and Lev - Are on the run together trying to get to Sonia who might have a key to why Proactive Citizenry would have erased her husband from history. They hope it is a key on how to stop unwinding all together. But along the way they run into a few obstacles and end up meeting Grace as well as a few friends from Lev’s past.
No true hero ever believes that they are one,” she tells him. “So you go ahead, Lev, and keep denying it with every fiber of you being.”
It’s clear the Lev still has a major part to play in the downfall of the system. He just isn’t sure what it is yet.
Cam - Cam is struggling with who and what he is, does he even have a soul is he more than just a collection of all of his parts. Cam is determined to make the people who rewound him pay. He still believes that will make Risa love him and that is the only thing he wants.
Cam knows beyond a shadow of a doubt he could fill that void in her, if only she loved him enough to let him. It would be the one thing that would make him feel whole.
Cam is putting all his trust into loving Risa. But he still doesn’t know that Connor is alive and maybe there isn’t any room in Risa’s heart to love him that way. He is definitely a wild card because what will he do if he doesn’t get the girl he wants.
Risa - Risa knows the ADR is in shambles but she wants to help revive it. Although she misses Connor, I like that she is never so consumed by it that she drops all of her goals to help the Unwinds to just look for him. Risa stays on her own path and while she hopes to see him again she sticks to the bigger picture of trying to find a way to fight against the system. She even runs into an old friend of Lev’s along the way CyFy. I was so happy to see that kid again. He still has a very interesting story and it is interesting to see how some people with unwound parts choose to live.
Starkey - Is evil and awful and a complete freaking psychopath. But he is a charismatic psychopath who is leading a band of stork kids escaped from the Graveyard. Every time I think Starkey can’t do anything more horrendous well he does and I become even more disgusted with him. He is the ultimate bad guy, looking only for glory and immortality willing to sacrifice anyone and everyone else to get it. I love hating him.
There are some other characters that really add to the story. Grace is a new addition to the AWOLs as she is traveling with Conner. I really liked the way she is simple minded yet an idiot savant at strategy and is a great addition to the team. We get to see Hayden again I was worried about what happened to him after he was captured in Unwholly.
There was a lot of development of the individual characters in this book. Cam and Starkey especially I see as more three dimensional now. Conner, Risa and Lev have changed so much from when they first escaped together. My one and only complaint is I really wanted Conner and Risa to find each other sooner, but I can’t even be mad about that because it was perfect how it happened.
The big reveal at the end was a little shocking but not unexpected and I really believe that this book was the best jumping board it could be going into the final book of the series. It was emotionally gripping and I stayed locked into the story the entire time waiting to see what would come next. Neal Shusterman has his work cut out for him to make the final book as strong as the rest of the series but he has a great lead in with this book and I can’t help but feel that everything in the last book will be absolutely epic.