{Book Review} Unwind by Neal Shusterman

 

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9/10

My wonderful librarian handed me Unwind while I was searching for a novel to read. Immediately I said I hated horror stories. (I mean look at the cover doesn’t look like a horror story???) So anyways… she set me straight and told me this was a great book and checked it out to me  despite my initial inhibitions.

Unwind is a dystopian novel set in the near future where parents have the option of having their children “unwound” from the age of 13 to 18. The unwound parts of the children are donated to people who are in need of organs or a limb. By law, every part of an unwound child is used so that the child is still in a twisted sense “living”. The novel follows the lives of 3 children who are on the path to a harvest camp to be unwound. Connor is a trouble maker his parents cannot reform, Risa, a ward of the state who is being unwound to save money, and Lev, whose unwinding has been planned as a tithe to God. However, when their roads literally meet, their lives are changed forever. This novel is an odyssey to their journey to survive in a world that is morally lost.

At first, it’s a really big shock to read about a future where parents would actually pay to have their child dissected for body parts. Once you dig deeper, you discover Shusterman’s mastermind behind this world. These horrifying unwindings were a result of a fictitious second civil war in the United States, a fight over reproductive rights. After a long and bloody war, the two sides came with a compromise. Life existed at the moment of conception until the age of 13 where parents could opt to have their child unwound in a living, but in a divided state. The parents who chose to unwind their child had selfish reasons such as, bad grades, misbehavior, and expenses. Then there is the added issue of advertisements which pollute every corner of society. Unwinding is promoted by companies who benefit off of unwinding children by selling unwound parts to those in need of a new body part(s). Behind the horrors of unwinding shows the plausible reality of how twisted humans could become in greed, and selfishness.

The character progression was one of the most compelling aspects of this novel.  Each character changes dynamically in so many ways, emotionally and physically. (spoilers)

At the end of the novel Risa and Conner are changed physically, but despite their deformities, they learn to forge a stronger love and trust. Levi struggles to find his purpose throughout the novel, he first tries to be a perfect tithe and then tries to use his body as a bomb to destroy the harvest camps. In the end, when Levi chooses life above death, love before anger, he becomes a symbol for all that his friends stand for. At the end of the novel, there is hope, when Levi’s story speaks out to the world that unwinds, are human, and they cannot be cut apart from society silently.

In my opinion, this book was the complete break through into the theme of dystopian novels, this came before the Hunger Games, Divergent, and Legend. If this was my first dystopian novel that I would have give it 10/10. It has every making of a great novel, hair-raising suspense and action, romance, and typical teen angst in a crazy futuristic society. (Unwind is part of the Unwind Dystology which consists of 4 novels)

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UPDATE: A Google slides presentation by meee for class

Winter Break

 

 

 

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WINTER BREAK IS HERE. FINALLY. Obviously from the stack of books, I will be reading ALOT. Hopefully, I can post reviews on most of these books and introduce you guys to novels you can read over break. Please comment below if there are any other books that you would like me to read and review here. I will try my best to find those books. Merry Christmas!

{Book Review} Shadow and Bone by Leigh Bardugo

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Details
Author: Leigh Bardugo
Series: The Grisha #1
Genre: Fantasy, Young Adult
Publisher: June 5th 2012 by Henry Holt and Co.
Age Range: 12+
Pages: 358 (hardcover)
Buy at: Amazon | Barnes and Noble | Book Depository | Google Play | iBooks


My Review

6/10

Leigh Bardugo intricately weaves a unique and enjoyable fantasy novel in a world that draws itself out of a Russian fairytale. The main characters Alina and Mal are orphans,  are raised by a kind duke who charitably raises them up on his estate. As children, Alina and Mal are tested for magic by Grisha, an army made of magicians who can manipulate flesh, air, fire, water, steel, and even darkness. Alina and Mal are not tested as Grisha and they grow up. Mal becomes a handsome flirtatious tracker and Alina, a cartographer in the 1st army. The two best friends seemed to be destined to live mundane lives, each starting to drift into their separate paths. However, Alina and Mal’s lives are changed forever when their regiment is ordered to travel over the Shadow Fold, which is filled with hungry creatures named volcra. Alina discovers a power within in herself when the boat she and Mal are on are attacked. Alina’s new found power makes her the most important person in the entire country and she is whisked away to be protected by the Ravka’s Darkling, the most powerful Grisha there is. Alina is separated from Mal, and she tempted by the allure of the riches of the palace, power, and the handsome Darkling. The story is not without its twists, though, Alina shifts through secrets to uncover who really is by her side.

This novel deeply resonated within me in certain parts. Alina wants to be more than just ordinary and to be loved, this reflects many human desires. Furthermore, I really appreciate the entirety of the world that Bardugo has created. There are separate cultures, languages, customs and superstitions for the background of this novel.

There is a strong theme of good versus evil throughout the novel. Bardugo tries to explore the idea that someone is never truly bad or good. What is true is that power corrupts.

As much as I enjoyed this book, Leigh Bardugo spends too much time describing a scene when sometimes all you need is dialogue or action. For an example, Alina has a very slow development as a character, she spends a very long time trying to find a way to access her powers before the story finally progresses.

There is a second and third book, however, Leigh Bardugo closes the 1st book so nicely that this novel could stand alone. 2nd and 3rd book: Siege and Storm and Ruin and Rising.

{Book Review} Endgame: The Calling

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My Review:

8/10 Stars

The Calling is the first book in a series called Endgame, the series focuses on 12 different children all 13-19 years old who represent lines of lineage in the human race. Each child (a Player) is trained in ancient secrets, languages, and deathly skills to prepare them to play Endgame. Endgame is a scheme created by the Gods (or also named Makers), the first of the 12 to find all 3 keys hidden on Earth will save their line from the end of the world. Well, how cheery.

This book is what I would imagine the perfect combination of The Hunger Games and The Percy Jackson Series. There is A LOT of killing, blood and action so I would only recommend this for high school students. If it helps, on the goriness scale I would say it’s not at the same level as Game of Thrones, but it is still more graphic than the Hunger Games. The Percy Jackson side is that the whole game is tied to the Gods who are shrouded in mystery because there isn’t a clear explanation of WHY the Gods created the game or who they really are. I would also like to mention at this point that throughout the book are clues, pictures to help people who are competing in a real competition for gold. I tend to ignore those because they are really confusing and really do nothing for the plot of the story. So don’t worry if you can’t make heads nor tails of those pictures and codes.

Although this novel isn’t completely unique in idea, it’s still a book that I recommend for all it’s high paced action and gore.


Details
Authors: James Frey and Nils Johnson-Shelton
Series: Endgame Series, #1
Genre: Young Adult Fiction, Science Fiction, Fantasy
Publisher: HarperCollins
Age Range: 15+
Pages: 491 (hardcover)
Buy at: Amazon | Barnes and Noble | Book Depository | Google Play | iBooks


 

 

 

Introduction

Hey y’all this is a new blog started today at exactly at around 6:35 (PST) on Monday December 7th. I am so excited to be blogging on here! I am hoping to share book reviews here, tiny adventures from my life, and hopefully an interview here or there with a stranger or friend. On a good day I can sneak in a blog everyday if not then once a week. Anyways… GOODNIGHT and I am going to stop procrastinating on my homework. :]