The third book in Neal Shusterman’s YA UNWIND DYSTOLOGY is UnSouled (2013). It follows Unwind and UnWholly, and you’ll need to read those first. I almost gave up on this series because I found the premise to be so unlikely but, while Shusterman has not convinced me that many Americans would choose to have their children “unwound” (scrapped for parts, basically), he’s managed, over three books, to build an alternate history that at least has made me seriously consider the possibility and has challenged me to consider the consequences.
If you’ve been reading the UNWIND DYSTOLOGY, and are interested enough that you’re thinking about reading UnSouled, let me assure you that this installment maintains the quick-paced, dramatic, and high-stakes action you’re expecting. Shusterman is such a good storyteller.
Our favorite characters, Connor, Risa, Lev, and Cam are still working to change public opinion and stop the practice of unwinding. Along with all the normal sorts of dangers they’ve been encountering all along (such as parts pirates and juvie cops), new ones arise in this story.
One of these is in the form of an odious but fascinating new character named Argent Skinner. He idolizes Connor but his lack of social skills and a moral compass lead him down the wrong path. Every time Argent was on stage, I felt nervous. The same is true of Nelson, the parts pirate we’ve met previously, and Starkey, whose band of escaped storks continue to terrorize the populace, making it even harder for our protagonists to sway public opinion. Argent, Nelson, and Starkey are sociopaths – cruel, unpredictable, and unremorseful.
Argent Skinner’s sister Grace, who’s been classified as “low-cortical” is another new and important, but much more likeable, character. Some protagonists from previous books make surprise and welcome re-appearances in UnSouled, too.
UnSouled is an exciting and entertaining story that explores the ethical dilemmas and societal consequences of “aborting” unwanted teenagers. These consequences become more believable with each installment and I’m curious to see how Connor and his friends will change people’s minds.
My daughter and I are looking forward to what should be an epic conclusion in the final novel, UnDivided. We’re listening to the audiobooks (Audible Studios), performed by Luke Daniels.