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Elevetha

A Sea of Stars

 Teenaged. Clinomaniac. Caffeine Addicted. Fangirl. Bibliomaniac. Introverted. 

 

Challenge Participant

Unwind

Unwind - Neal Shusterman

This book stands on its own as a pretty decent dystopian thriller that brings up some weighty issues. However, I was personally expecting it to take a little bit more of a stand on abortion and Unwinding, but it really didn't and it actually left me ever so slightly confused as to where the author was going concerning Unwinding.  

Humphrey?? The boy who was Unwound and his parents, suddenly regretful, were supposedly butchering all the people who had received parts of him to reassemble his body? Well, it turned out that they were actually bringing all the people with parts of their son to a party, just to feel like he was "whole" again. Creepily and disappointingly enough, it works. He's supposed to be all there, consciousness and all, through all of his Unwound body parts being present. It just felt like we were taking a step backward. We're saying that each Unwound child is still 100% alive, just separated and split up among hundreds of other individuals, who may or may not get stuck with the Unwound kid's memories, thoughts(past and present), and abilities? I don't understand what we're supposed to conclude from this.
Perhaps the author wishes to show that Unwinding, like abortion, is a grey matter and could be taken in different ways?? It's a possibility, though a rather weak and horrifying pile of bullshit if it is.

(show spoiler)

And concerning the Unwinding scene:

I had heard oodles about how creepy the Unwinding scene was and I was utterly disappointed in that regard. I mean, sure, it is creepy and the manner in which it is written is so calm and collected, which makes it even creepier. Additionally, it's much more mental than visual, so you might have to think about it just a tinge more than if it was just blood and gore but I read it and thought, "That's it?? That's all it was??" I guess I was just underwhelmed from all the people freaking out about how shit-scary it was. I was expecting something more outwardly terrifying than what we got. See, there's this one scene in one of the Skulduggery Pleasant books where Nye is cutting Valkyrie open while she's conscious and pulling out her organs and man, that was 50 times scarier than the Unwinding and that's more what I was expecting.
(As an added parallel, some of what the doctors are saying during the Unwinding or right before is eerily similar to accounts of what doctors say before or during abortions.)

(show spoiler)



The idea of the Second Civil War, called the Heartland War, being fought over abortion is rather brilliant, as slavery and abortion are ridiculously similar when you compare them. However, at first, I thought that the idea of Unwinding being a result/compromise of the war outrageous, as there is no way in my mind that either side would be in any way satisfied by the idea of Unwinding. The pro-life side would probably still recognize it as murder and the pro-choice wouldn't want the responsibility of raising the child to 13 years of age (and also, it takes the issue away from "women's rights" but that's neither here nor there). But then when I continued to think about it, it does make a twisted amount of sense, in that it's nothing more than I'd expect from a society that allows infanticide . It's nonsensical and terrible and that's exactly why it works in the story.And, unfortunately, if the technology were available, I can almost see it, or something scarily similar, happening. Which is why, as stated above, it works, however depressing and horrifying it may be.

(If you read the above spoilers, I'm kind of circling back here.)
So far as that goes, the author writes in thoughts and ideas both pro-life and pro-choice, for both abortion and Unwinding. It is very obviously not his desire to tell you what you should think. You're supposed to think for yourself, as it should be. However, matters like those are not and never will be grey matters; they are black holes. There is no room for ifs and whens in the real world, but I can respect that he did not heavy-handedly hammer any one view into the readers' skulls. I personally thought that the majority of it was pretty pro-life, though the author never comes right out and says it, obviously. The phrasing for much of it is just SO pro-life, I was surprised and I wondered if other readers were picking up on the subtle (and not-so subtle) language strewn throughout the book. I also thought that the pro-choice thoughts seemed far less frequent and also not as strong, but that could be subjective, I suppose. We sometimes see what we wish to see.

Additionally, I thought that the author did a very believable job of writing the characters struggling with their morality and the views of society, as they make mistakes and their views change and facts come to light. One exception being:

“In a perfect world everything would be either black or white, right or wrong, and everyone would know the difference. But this isn't a perfect world. The problem is people who think it is.”


And however brutally true part of that quote is, the problem is not people who think this world is perfect. The problem is people who don't try.

The characters are, for the most part, exceedingly believable. They've got their own flaws and virtues and it was a experience I hadn't experienced in a while; where even though you may not like some of the characters, each one has their place and is important to the story. Each character fit the story, which, sadly, doesn't happen very often. Risa was the best my favorite and Lev...well, Lev was the only one that, even though he fit, I didn't always feel like I understood his thought process.

The story was very interesting, and I loved the un-named near equivalent of the Underground Railroad that played a large part of the story. The writing itself was a little harder to swallow. It might read fairly well in your head, but try and read it out loud and it was clunky, simplistic, and odd.
To be honest, though I'm glad I read the book and still want to know how the series ends, I don't feel a great desire to read the further books in the series to fulfill my curiosity, though I very well may at some point.