I got through about half of this one when I put it down to read something else. Overly descriptive and slow moving plot had me flipping pages rather tI got through about half of this one when I put it down to read something else. Overly descriptive and slow moving plot had me flipping pages rather than enjoying the story. I really don't even remember much of what I read, it was too boring. I'd avoid this one....more
Holy wow. UnWholly opens up a whole new can of worms, shedding light on the more complMore of my reviews can be found on my blog: Literary Exploration
Holy wow. UnWholly opens up a whole new can of worms, shedding light on the more complicated aspects of unwinding and creating a shady grey area between both sides. There were characters I wanted to hate just because of what they were or how they thought, but I knew that there was more to it. There were characters I wanted to slap because their choices disregarded their feelings and opinions on unwinding. As much as I loved this book, I struggled to look at things from all perspectives. Shusterman's world has begun to change, as do our beloved characters and the way they view it. While Unwind was a heartbreaking story, one that I loved to no end, UnWholly provides more story lines, more characters, and a complexity that will challenge the way you think.
Connor, Lev, and Risa are still the same amazing characters I grew to love in Unwind, but they're struggling with new issues now. Risa can no longer walk, Connor must rule the graveyard, and Lev has to live with the consequences of becoming the clapper who didn't clap. In addition, we meet Cam, who has been built rather than born, Starkey, the stork who wants to rule, and Miracolina, the tithe who will stop at nothing to be unwound. Each new character adds another layer to Shusterman's story that will make you stop and think about this society that allows teens to become unwound. I had a hard time accepting Cam and I'm not even sure if I do yet. He's been built from the best parts of 99 unwinds, but is that his fault? He's an abomination, but is he really alive? I just couldn't wrap my head around the idea that he was okay. Even being compared to Frankenstein's monster paints a picture of death and something unnatural, something that should never have been allowed to live.
The inclusion of propaganda advertisements that discusse the benefits of unwinding is included throughout the story which really messed with my mind. Maybe I'm just gullible or easily persuaded into things, but I started to second guess myself and personal feelings towards unwinding, which I'm sure is exactly what Shusterman had in mind. The writing style is still spectacular, gorgeous, elegant, beautiful, thought-provoking, and all the other gushing things I tend to say about Shusterman. His world-building is amazing, adding levels of complexity in UnWholly that left me unsure about who was right and who was wrong. And by the end, I couldn't hold the emotions in anymore. Shusterman's ability to tug at my heartstrings unwound my feelings and left me an emotional wreck.
If you haven't already picked up Unwind you definitely need to. This series of stories is unlike anything I've ever read. Shusterman's ability to create a world so horrifying, yet so complicated is remarkable. After finishing this one I cannot wait to get my hands on whatever is coming next! Be warned, this book will have you second guessing yourself and our beloved characters. I loved the inclusion of advertisements because it makes the world all the more real and makes the ideas of unwinding, and why people fell for them, so much easier to understand. If you're a fan of books like The Hunger Games and Uglies this is definitely one you're not going to want to miss!!...more
I don't really know where to begin with my thoughts on Level 2. This is definitely a cMore of my reviews can be found on my blog: Literary Exploration
I don't really know where to begin with my thoughts on Level 2. This is definitely a case in which the more time that goes by, the more my feelings change. At first glance, I liked the book alright. It's a cool concept, dealing with the afterlife in such a manner. I've never read a book that focuses on the idea of purgatory (other than Purgatorio), so it was definitely a catchy topic. However, the execution fell far too short, causing me to almost put the book down for good on more than one occasion. As much as I wanted to love this book, I just couldn't. In fact, I probably won't even pick up the next one. The concept is fantastic and original, but that's about it, sad to say.
Out of all of the characters, I honestly didn't really love any of them. Julian was by far my favorite, but that was only because he's the biggest trouble-maker. He instigates everything and always does his best to mess everything up. Felicia is just boring and annoying as a protagonist, living her afterlife for a boy who's still alive and consuming her days with her video-like memories of him. I mean, I get that she's dead, and she misses her still-alive boyfriend, but get a life. [pun intended] Even in life she seemed pretty lame, and at no point in the story could I connect with her. All of the other characters are pretty one dimensional, sadly, and I kept praying for more scenes with sexy Julian.
Like I said, the concept is fresh and original. The execution is where everything falls apart. I mean for one, the layout of this limbo-like place is filled with technology. Sure, everything is possible in the afterlife or whatever, but these girls are hooked up to big memory playback machines every day so they can relive their lives and then they get points when other people watch their memories and then they can use those points to watch more memories from other people. Confused? Me too. Also, I know this book is all about what happens after you die, but it became way too preachy for me. I mean, the number of times that mention how angelically chaste Neil is is ridiculous. they meet at church, they sing at church, they take an abstinence pledge at church, they make out at church camp, REALLY?! I'm all for spirituality and understanding religions of all kinds, but when they blatantly get pushed in my face I get really turned off.
Enough of the ranting. The concept is good and the writing is well-done, so I will definitely pick up another of Lenore's books, just not one in this series. I wish more of the world that Felicia is now living in had been focused on rather than her past and what lead up to her death. the story is definitely short and if you don't mind the religious undertones than you might really like this one. I definitely would've if the religion had been toned down a few notches and if there was more Julian....more