REVIEW: UnSouled (Unwind #3) by Neal Shusterman


Rating: 5 out of 5 stars, Genre: Fiction/ Dystopian, Pages: 416, Reading Level: Easy/ Intermediate

Book Description:

“Connor and Lev are on the run after the destruction of the Graveyard, the last safe haven for AWOL Unwinds. But for the first time, they’re not just running away from something. This time, they’re running toward answers, in the form of a woman Proactive Citizenry has tried to erase from history itself. If they can find her, and learn why the shadowy figures behind unwinding are so afraid of her, they may discover the key to bringing down unwinding forever.

Cam, the rewound boy, is plotting to take down the organization that created him. Because he knows that if he can bring Proactive Citizenry to its knees, it will show Risa how he truly feels about her. And without Risa, Cam is having trouble remembering what it feels like to be human.

With the Juvenile Authority and vindictive parts pirates hunting them, the paths of Connor, Lev, Cam, and Risa will converge explosively- and everyone will be changed.”

Look Papa! I’m a real boy…

Seriously, this whole series is phenomenal. And disturbing. Make no mistake, there is quite a bit of disturbing.

First, I would like to show you a picture of what my copy looks like. I make my own magnetic bookmarks. I also make smaller ones to mark passages. This is how UnSouled looked and I wasn’t even finished yet-


I’m going to ruin the spine.

Onto the review…

To recap, whether intentional or not, I claim that Unwind is a reference to A Modest Proposal, UnWholly to Frankenstein. UnSouled is a little more obvious since it is right there in the text:

“Sorry, Pinocchio, but Risa’s not your Blue Fairy. She can’t turn you into a real boy.” p279

In UnSouled, Cam goes on a quest to discover whether or not he is a real person with a soul, or just parts:

“You are a collection of very specific parts, each one with a distinct monetary value. We’ve paid more than one hundred times that value for the unique manner those parts have been organized, but in the end, Mr. Comprix… parts is parts.” p209

Such a phenomenal topic for discussion. Even if this had been the only major issue, it would have been enough, but for those who have read UnSouled’s predecessors, you will know there is so much more. For example-

Political correctness to an extreme, even more so than now:

“Low-cortical,” grumbles Grace. “I ain’t feebleminded. I’m low-cortical. It’s the less insulting way.” p22

There are three in particular who have formed their own little click over the past few weeks. Two are sienna, one umber, and all three are annoyingly beautiful. p332

It pays respect to my heritage back in the day, when we were ‘black,’ and not ‘umber.’ p119

And there is the pound of flesh law, revival communes and partial unwinding. I could go on and on with the numerous discussion possibilities. In fact, I will draft a list of discussion questions for UnSouled. I wanted to address so many things and quotes in my review, but decided it would be better to compose a separate document, otherwise this review would have been mostly quotes.

As with Unwind and UnWholly, the writing is superb, the character development is outstanding and the story is simply mesmerizing. I understand this is a young adult book, but the topic seems more fitting for adults. I would say this series is the type of series that would interest young adults and win them over to reading, but due to the topic, I would think schools would have to get parental consent. So I do highly recommend parents read the series before recommending it to any child younger than 18.

Before I finish, I just want to give a couple of kudos to Shusterman. First, for selecting the Marine Corps. Semper Fi! And second:

Do we exist because others perceive our existence, or is, indeed, our own affirmation enough?… What Cam needs is some meat-and-potatoes dogma that can give him a concrete yes or no… There’s a Catholic church a few blocks away. p216

I think you really have to have a healthy sense of humor about religion to be Catholic. When someone criticizes or makes fun of religion, what is the first religion that pops into mind? The Catholic Church. Okay, recently Mormonism has been a respectable contender, but I think the Catholic Church still takes the medal. I just think it’s funny that it’s the Catholic Church that makes the cut for ‘meat-and-potatoes dogma.’

I’ll end with my favorite quote in the book, I guess a new ‘good intentions’ quote:

Unwinding creeps in on the hushed feet of angels. p81

Reviewed by Christina
November 30, 2013

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