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Review – UnWholly – Neal Shusterman

unwhollyUnWholly
Author: Neal Shusterman
Series: #2 in the Unwind Trilogy

Description:
Thanks to Connor, Lev, and Risa—and their high-profile revolt at Happy Jack Harvest Camp—people can no longer turn a blind eye to unwinding. Ridding society of troublesome teens while simltaneously providing much-needed tissues for transplant might be convenient, but its morality has finally been brought into question. However, unwinding has become big business, and there are powerful political and corporate interests that want to see it not only continue, but also expand to the unwinding of prisoners and the impoverished.

Cam is a product of unwinding; made entirely out of the parts of other unwinds, he is a teen who does not technically exist. A futuristic Frankenstein, Cam struggles with a search for identity and meaning and wonders if a rewound being can have a soul. And when the actions of a sadistic bounty hunter cause Cam’s fate to become inextricably bound with the fates of Connor, Risa, and Lev, he’ll have to question humanity itself.

Review:
Sometimes there are books that just stick vividly in our minds and even a year or so after reading it – you can recall what happened in certain parts. For me, Unwind, the first book in this trilogy was like that. So I was excited to see the second book come out late last year…I pre-ordered it and everything…and then it sat, gathering dust on my bookshelf. I wanted to read it, but was too scared to, for fear that my memories of Unwind, would be ruined by a not so good second installment (I mean, it had been like 4 years since Unwind came out). Reviews among my friends were split – some loved it, others found it ok, but the majority of the reviews had the word BUT in them…like something was missing and that was concerning to me. However, I finally sucked it up and read it (or I think devoured might be a more appropriate description).

But moving on – the one thing I really liked about UnWholly was how it took the same issue, but looked at it from a wider perspective. While Unwind really focused on the micro-issues of the kids who were subjected to being Unwound, Unwholly focused on them, as well as society. I liked the touches of written ads (very similar to those we see during elections) campaigning both for and against unwinding and the various “groups” who were contributing for/against it. There was also a lot more history involved in this installment.

Plus, Shusterman introduced Cam – who might be one of my favorite characters in the series so far. He is the complete opposite to an Unwind – someone that has been created from parts of kids that were unwound. It was kind of freaky (for lack of a better word)…but he was certainly intriguing.

I can’t wait to read the third book in the trilogy that is due out later on this year and see how he ties up all the bits and pieces. Overall, I gave UnWholly a solid 4 stars.

 
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Posted by on May 7, 2013 in Book Review

 

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Review – The List – Karin Tanabe

the listThe List
Author: Karin Tanabe
Release Date: 5 February, 2013

Review Copy Provided by Washington Square Press, via Edelweiss

Description:
Meet Adrienne Brown, a twenty-eight-year-old Wellesley College grad who recently left her glamorous job at Town & Country for a spot at the Capitolist. Known simply as the List to Beltway insiders, it’s the only media outlet in D.C. that’s actually on the rise. Taking the job means accepting a painful pay cut, giving up perks like free Louboutins, and moving back in with her parents, but Adrienne is certain that her new position will be the making of her career. And it is—but not at all in the way that she expects. The Capitolist runs at an insane pace: Adrienne’s up before five in the morning, writing ten stories a day (sometimes on her BlackBerry, often during her commute), and answering every email within three minutes. Just when it seems like the frenetic workload is going to break her, she stumbles upon a juicy political affair, involving a very public senator—and her most competitive colleague. Discovering that there’s much more to the relationship than meets the eye, Adrienne realizes she’s got the scoop of a lifetime. But should she go public with the story?

Review:
Having lived and worked in DC for nearly three years now as a member of the Federal Gov’t, I was immediately drawn to the description provided. I mean, most of us have probably caught glimpses of those government/celebrity scandals on different TV stations and wondered how they came to list – which is what Ms. Tanabe did in her debut novel, The List.

I have to admit, however, that as the book progressed, I became more and more conflicted about the outcome and what route Adrienne would take. While so much of the book was a play on the hypocrisy of people in situations like that (and I have been in them to), I kept hoping that she would take the high road. But in the end, I have to say that I was a bit disappointed in the outcome. I had grown to like Adrienne as a character, as well as the various secondary cast, but her actions, ultimately pissed me off. Yet, this highlighting of the hypocrisy of peoples actions in order to make their mark and get ahead was intriguing. Much of my career in the military has been similar – and there is a reason that one of the unofficial mottos in my career field is stab, stab, look, stab stab…because there is a belief that in order to get ahead, you need to be able/willing to sacrifice others. What kind of society have we turned into where that is acceptable is scary unto itself…

While I have to say that I disliked the ending, overall, I remained intrigued through-out most of the book and will be interested in seeing what this author comes up with in the future. I would give it 3.5 stars overall, but rounding up to 4.

 
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Posted by on January 22, 2013 in Book Review

 

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