Jason's Reviews > UnWholly

UnWholly by Neal Shusterman
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Aug 28, 12

Read on August 28, 2012

It wasn’t actually bad, but given how great Unwind was, certainly disappointing. If this was the only book in the series I wouldn’t want to read the sequel, though my hope that it might be middle book syndrome means I will read the third book. The book’s filled with on the nose clichéd writing, with few to no memorable quotes. And I’m reminded of Heroes a bit, in a bad way, in the whole destiny/special people motif.

Essentially the book’s mainly divided among 7 characters, which I feel is too many. Cackling evil Nelson (the cop that Connor tranq’d at the beginning of the first book), cackling evil Starkey who is a less interesting Roland, Kiss Slap Love Interest for Lev Miracolina who starts off strong but is ultimately a less interesting Lev (though certainly more interesting than Lev in the plain-bad interquel novella), and Cam who’s the most new character and had the most potential – but then he mostly turns into a creepy Edward Cullen-esque third wheel of a lurv triangle, super-perfect-hawtness and all.

I hated the first chapter introducing Starkey, and I hated him as a character and had to trudge through his chapters. Now, a villain is meant to be hated, but not when they’re hateful because they’re so annoying and dull that everything they do is predictable and their dialogue might as well be taken off of an assembly line. Or TV Tropes. Connor’s whole storyline about having to fend off multiple threats is very similar in feel to the storyline about having to fend off multiple threats in the first one, yet done less well.

Miracolina provides possibly the best chapter in the book (along with Cam’s first or second), but alas it is her first, and her storyline with Lev is generally quite dull and she becomes progressively duller as the story progresses.

Nelson’s chapters are a waste of time.

And Cam puts the new main characters at an even split among over the top villains and possible love interests who I either don’t want to or don’t care about making it happen. Risa’s whole thing is largely boring until the end, when it’s all very Katniss Everdeen (view spoiler).

Overall, it feels like Shusterman was spinning his wheels and repeating himself in order so that the last book could be a better book by having all the good stuff. Which, it kind of worked for Christopher Pike’s Thirst #3 & 4. Thirst 4 was great – though there I felt that some parts of the overly long 3 could have been condensed and part of 4 could have been inserted into the third volume to allow both books to be good. Perhaps it’ll be the same case here. There is enough potential/set-up for it. There's the malevolent power to take down...okay, that's the main thing. If there's more focus on that instead of bad romances and bad villain storylines, the third book will be much better.

Notes While Reading, by Character:
(view spoiler)
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Reading Progress

08/28/2012 "Okay, the second chapter is about 10x better than the lame first one. Relieved. Also excited that Shusterman might be able to seamlessly weave in new characters. And that we get different kinds of perspectives, creating a more nuanced book. Though hopefully the narrative isn't too splintered from too many narrative voices."
08/28/2012 "Okay, now we have wangsting, and boring romantic declarations. And self-aggrandizing black-cape one-note villains. Get better again, please."

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