Monday, March 24, 2014

Review: UnSouled

UnSouled (Unwind, book three)
By Neal Shusterman
Published 2013 by Simon & Schuster Books for Young Readers

WARNING: There will likely be spoilers ahead. To read my reviews of the first two books, go here and here.

Connor and Lev are running, but they are also searching for someone - a woman who might have the answers they are looking for. Cam, the controversial "rewind," is growing dissatisfied with his existence. He longs to show Risa how much he cares for her. All four will continue on the unbelievable journey that started when they first met.

I was lucky to read Unwind shortly before UnWholly was released. But this meant that I had to wait like everyone else for UnSouled. No matter - I was just excited the brilliance of Unwind was going to be a series.

This book, hmmm, what do I say about this book? Well, I read it quickly, eager to see where Shusterman was going to take this dark story. But, as I read, I also didn't feel quite the same pull as I had in the first two. This book, more than book two, feels like the middle book in a trilogy (if there are four books in a series, is that common for book three?). While Shusterman continues to excel at darkly defining the terrible world these characters live in, much of the action in this book felt like a means to an end - that is, Shusterman was just moving the pieces around so that they'd all be where he needed them for the final book. The action didn't grab me as it had in the previous books. I think part of the reason I kept turning the pages so quickly was in fervent hope that I would rediscover the things I had loved about the first two books soon.

Once again, Shusterman carries on with the characters from previous volumes while also introducing new characters. For me, this is fine, but I can imagine other readers might get tired of trying to keep all the characters straight. In my opinion, as long as the author is doing something unique and interesting for each of these characters, I don't really care how many of them there are. I feel like Shusterman is still handling this well, so it doesn't bother me.

Mostly, this book just doesn't have quite the same drive as the previous books. I still have high hopes for the conclusion, though, so we'll see if Shusterman can successfully pull it all together in the end.

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