With UnDivided (2014), Neal Shusterman rewards fans of his UNWIND DYSTOLOGY with a thrilling and satisfying finale. Readers will need to read the first three novels, (Unwind, UnWholly, and UnSouled) first.
The story picks up where UnSouled left off. Our heroes, Connor, Risa, Lev, Grace, and Cam are desperately trying to fight a batch of newly proposed legislation which gives the government even more power to unwind troublesome teens, even without parental permission. They hope to do this by showing the public that the industry is unethical and that it has suppressed knowledge of a technology that could print new organs and make unwinding unnecessary.
Their efforts are thwarted by the actions of Starkey and his storks, who are terrorizing the populace with their brutal tactics and, thereby, engendering public support for the new laws. And, of course, they are still dealing with the loathsome parts pirates who are hunting them.
UnDivided is unpredictable and exciting all the way through, with numerous twists and turns, though some require a willingness to suspend disbelief for just a bit. There are some deaths that feel tragic and some that feel triumphant. There is justice for some of the bad guys, and redemption for others. There is a satisfying closure to the various dangling plot threads and the ending is a real tearjerker.
Throughout this series I’ve appreciated the focus on the ethical problem of unwinding and its consequences for society. As I said in my review of UnSouled, I was looking forward to seeing how our heroes would persuade people to abandon the practice. I wasn’t totally satisfied with this aspect of UnDivided – it seemed too quick – but perhaps that’s because we don’t get to see individual citizens wrestling with their own beliefs over time. It would have been more fulfilling if Shusterman had included the perspective of, for example, Connor’s mother throughout the novels.
Luke Daniels performs the audiobook editions of the UNWIND DYSTOLOGY (Audible Studios). I enjoyed listening to it with my daughter.
Fans will want to know that an UNWIND short story collection called UnBound (2015) is also available.