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Lexa Pate, seventeen-year-old thief extraordinaire, has burned a bridge or two in her life. You don’t make a career out of stealing other people’s property without making enemies. When a risky job goes from bad to worse, Lexa and her adopted family find themselves on Precipice Corporation’s hit list because they’ve accidentally stolen the wrong thing—plans for a new model of genetically-engineered super humans. Now every bounty hunter, cop on the take, and snitch in the city is after them. Lexa’s world crumbles around her as she fights to keep her family safe even as someone strolls out of her forgotten past. Quinn claims to know who Lexa really is, but can she trust a stranger she met while robbing his boss? More importantly, does she really want to know what Quinn has to tell her? Based on the fairy tale Pinocchio, UNSTRUNG takes you into a near future world where the lines between fake and real are blurred, all that’s pristine isn’t always innocent, and being a criminal isn’t always wrong.

290 pages, ebook

Published October 17, 2014

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About the author

Kendra C. Highley

23 books714 followers
Kendra C. Highley lives in north Texas with her husband and two children. She also serves as staff to four self-important and high-powered cats. This, according to the cats, is her most important job. She believes in everyday magic, extraordinary love stories, and the restorative powers of dark chocolate

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5 stars
68 (42%)
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64 (39%)
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23 (14%)
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Displaying 1 - 30 of 57 reviews
Profile Image for Calyan.
114 reviews5 followers
November 29, 2014
Possible Spoilers????
Okay, so here it goes.

I don’t usually write reviews, but the feeling I got after this one…..I just had to. My initial thoughts compared to how I felt when I ended it were so different.
First off, I hate beginning a book. I love reading but, beginning a new book is like starting a new relationship. You have to get to know the characters and the plot. You then have to care about said characters and the goal they are working towards. However I love beginning a series because you get to hang out with your new friends for more than one novel. It’s great.

Unstrung began with a sigh from me. As soon as I met Lexa I knew exactly the type of character she would be. One smart, sexy, bad ass feminine unsuspecting hero coming up. I actually stopped reading for a day because I’d just finished a series with a character almost exactly like her. I hate not finishing a book and it started off well so the next day i picked it back up and got sucked in. I bonded with the characters and with Lexa. She was amazing, and this book came with a twist. One that I didn’t exactly see coming. Lexa handles situations well, and the love story that’s sprinkled in isn’t over the top. I like the way it’s played too. Lexa doesn’t come across as whiny or annoying, or stupid. She makes an excellent heroine and the flow of the novel keep me interested. You won’t be disappointed in this book. I didn’t intend to continue the series when I began but I’m definitely getting the rest of these books. I cannot wait to find out how Lexa handles the challenges ahead of her.
Profile Image for Moriah.
715 reviews89 followers
November 19, 2014
3.5 Stars

“’This is the place where we fix bad puppets…It’s time to remind you who’s pulling the strings.’”

Lexa lives in a world of larceny and trickery—it’s the only life she’s known. After arriving on Turpin’s door seven years earlier, high on stims and no memory of where she came from, she became one of the best and has a record of never getting caught. Suddenly, her world turns on its axis, and she finds herself having to trust a boy she has only dreamed about—literally—and being treated like a stranger to the people she has known her entire life.

For me, this book had a slow start and I was kind of wary of it. Although, as I got farther into the story, I began to really like Lexa’s character and her spunk. She can’t lie, her hamartia, and that adds a certain quality to the person that she is—a thief, whose job is to con people, that can’t lie. It’s poetic, really. As I dove farther into the story, and her relationship with Quinn reveals itself, I began to enjoy the story as a whole. The adoration that Quinn reserves specifically for the girl who doesn’t remember him or has not seen him in over seven years is something that seemed crucial to the person that Lexa would become, not only who she already was. When Lexa realized that the world around has more secrets, other than the ones that have been hidden from her and about her, she is willing to do whatever it takes to protect the people she has grown to love.

“’They’ll never see me coming…And they’ll be sorry once I’m done.’”

Overall, I enjoyed the novel. I would have loved for the villain to have been more developed and hope that there may be some more insight into her character as the series continues. I will be reading the rest of the series (especially after that cliff hanger), because I’ve got to know what happens next!

Profile Image for Sharon Absher.
104 reviews2 followers
May 5, 2015
I received this book for free to do a honest review.

What can I say this book had me hooked from the start. I had a hard time laying it down as it is a real page turner. It is about Lexa who is a thief and after she breaks in and steals the wrong chip finds that she has put herself and her "family" in risk. Lexa founds out that she is a bolt which is a artificial that is half human and half machine. So when she finds Quinn and starts to have memories she has to wonder if the feelings she has for him is her own or are they programmed and will she be able to save the family that took her in and the rest of the bolts and overpower the government. This is what will keep you turning the pages. This is a action packed book with something always happening. I have to say I am looking forward to reading the next book to found out what happens. I would also love to see this book turned into a movie as it would make a really good one. Kendra Highley has really done a good job in writing this book.
Profile Image for Salwa.
52 reviews5 followers
January 16, 2015

This review can also be found on my blog.

I received a copy of this book in exchange for an honest review.


It started off slow but now I realise it's alright because Highley was on to a whole lot of secret revelations and action. I'm really glad she managed to keep the suspense going on throughout the end after that frustrating start.

The plot is very promising. I love science so it's no surprise I loved the genetically-engineered characters called artificials so much. Their world is set in a very technologically advanced era, which is so cool, by the way. Oh, that advanced tech! It sounds amazing in my mind but in reality, it's really crazy. Imagine coexisting with robots who totally look like real humans who even feel. Like, they have emotions for real. Totally crazy, I know. And that's why it's amazing! Only a few people can successfully create such a world with little to no problem. Usually all of these stuff are being piled one by one in the book and sometimes you just want to pull your hair out of frustration. However, Highley did it perfectly well in Unstrung. She provided just the right information to make you understand and move on to the next page without being confused. I really love this world she built.

For the characters, man, Lexa is one badass female! She has such a strong heart and will. And Quinn is so perfect you wouldn't believe he's real. I usually dislike too perfect male protagonists because they aren't just... real, you know? But with Quinn, it's totally acceptable because he's an artificial so... *faints* He's perfect! All the other characters are very likable too.

I'm definitely recommending this book. It's full of action, has amazing characters, and a spectacular world I wish I could live in. I didn't get bored except during the first 20% or so of the book so you might wanna be a little patient and not just drop it out of boredom or frustration because I guarantee you, once things get interesting, it becomes even more and more interesting as each secret unfolds. And that cliffhanger ending! Such a torture. But it's okay because the sequel, UPRISING, is being released this year.

Recommended to fans of Reboot and Graceling.
Profile Image for Linda.
1,156 reviews
December 12, 2014
Lately I've been reading a lot of books without reading the synopsis and this was the latest one. Within the first chapter, I knew I would like it.

Lexa is 17 and a thief. Found wandering the streets as a child, high on drugs and with no memory of who she is, she was taken in and trained by Turpin, the man she calls boss. She is very good at getting into and out of places undetected, until the day she almost gets caught. Hired to steal something already considered confidential, they soon learn that what they ended up with is even more valuable and therefore, dangerous to their well-being. To minimize the threat, they decide they need to steal something else that combined with the information they already have, could be used as a bargaining chip. It is at this point that Lexa's life is again turned upside down. With the help of her best friend and technical whiz, Jole, and Turpin, Lexa manages to break into the necessary facility, only to find it more populated than she was led to believe. If not for the help of Quinn, she would not have gotten out nor learned a little about her past. Confused and not knowing who to trust, Lexa will have to make decisions that can decide the fate of not only her adopted family, but the genetically engineered humans she comes to learn are a lot more like her than she originally thought.

There were moments when things felt a little slow. However, when things did pick up, things moved at a pretty rapid pace. Lexa was one of the characters that you come to admire. She's tough, intelligent, honest for the most part, loyal, and courageous. You knock her down, but she gets back up. And she makes mistakes. She isn't perfect, but she owns up to those flaws and she tries to overcome them. When the people she thought were her family turns on her, but then later needs her help, she doesn't hesitate to risk her life for them. I didn't always agree with what she said or did, but I give her props for being a strong character. As secondary characters, I also liked Jole and Quinn. The childhood friend and potential love interest and the flawed best friend who eventually comes around and has her back.

There were some grammatical errors which were a little distracting, but overall, even with some of those slow areas, a very good first book. I will definitely be reading book 2. If you like YA, sci-fi / fantasy, or dystopian books, this would be right up your alley and something I would recommend you read.
Profile Image for Sarah.
227 reviews47 followers
December 20, 2014
Lexa is a 17 year old girl who doesn't know where she came from and was addicted to stims. She turned up at Turpin's as a ten year old girl, high on stims and doesn't remember anything from her life previously. They take her in at Turpin's and use her as a thief for their clients. When Lexa finds out something about herself after doing a job for Turpin it changes her life completely and she is left fighting for what she believes in and for the ones she loves.

It started well and it did a good job at keeping my attention for short reading stints before bed, but nothing more. I found I could take it or leave it most of the time, like it was lacking some suspense that could have made it so much better. The plot is interesting and it has a lot of action packed scenes at the beginning and the end mostly. The middle fell flat for a while and the underlying love story seemed to hold centre stage for a while and it was only after that took a back burner again that the characters really started to come alive for me and I started to get to know them more. Lexa is strong willed, good at her job and will do anything, including risking her life to stand up for what she believes in. A great protagonist that has the potential to develop well within the series.

I liked how the story progressed overall and the little surprises along the way really made the story for me as I didn't expect most of them and found myself shocked at one particular revelation in the book. The surprises really helped to increase the enjoyment I got out of the book.

The ending, for me, felt a little let down. I felt that it could have been dragged out that little bit more to increase the suspense and I felt a little let down when it ending and I never felt the big dramatic ending that I'd hoped for.

Overall a great start to the series that's left me wanting more and looking forward to the next installment in 2015.

Profile Image for Andreea.
1,232 reviews38 followers
January 23, 2015
Disclosure: The e-book version of the book was sent to me for an honest review. The opinions are entirely my own.

It's more like 3.5 stars, very close to the fourth... the ending just wasn't satisfying enough and it seemed hurried (if any of you wander why not four stars). But I read the books in two evening - could've done it in one day if I had the time because once you get hooked on the story it's hard to put it down.

This is the first book in a series and it felt like a great start, setting the atmosphere and the world we are in... which is a world were generations of Bolts do everything for us, the humans. But with each generation their creator wants to make them more and more human, apart from the free will part, mind you. We are also introduced to our lovely main character, Lexa, a 17 y/o girl, also a very skilled thief. She and her partners, her adoptive father - the man who saved her from her stims addiction - and her best friend, who happens to be a very good hacker, are contracted to still the plans for the new Bolts. But the mission doesn't go exactly as planned and Lexa's life is about to be changed forever.

The pacing of the book is a perfect fit for the story, the mystery that surrounds everything in the beginning makes it hard to stop reading even for a second. The other half of the book is even more action-packed.

The book left me wondering what exactly makes us human? Is it the biological functions? The empathy? The love? 'Cause if you read Unstrung you will discover that newer generations of Bolts have most of those yet the humans in the book are more artificial than the Bolts, keeping them as slaves and not acknowledging their feeling.
Profile Image for Louisa.
6,912 reviews31 followers
January 21, 2015
Oh, this book! It was really amazing! And first Kenrda C. Highley book that isn't a Matt Archer book, so something new! I really enjoyed Lexa, and I can't wait for the next book, that deals with the injustices that her people face!

Full Review from Blog:
I enjoyed both of these so much! I actually read Unstrung first, but I firmly believe that is the way that it should be read, because then Quinn, and the twist about Lexa, aren't out there first. Unfinished might be chronologically first, but Unstrung should be read first! They complete each other!

I was really excited to read Unstrung, I've really loved Kendra C. Highley's Matt Archer series, so yeah, I went into this book with high hopes, and I wasn't disappointed! In fact, afterwards, I hung around her blog, and found about Unfinished, and I immediately read it afterwards! I wanted to spend more time in the world!

I enjoyed reading about these, and that twist about Lexa, well, it makes sense. She and Quinn make a good pair, and I enjoyed their one job together, they work together well as a team, as they were supposed to, and I was glad that they got to use that against the bad guys!

I've read that the 2nd book is dealing with the unfair treatment that the genetically-engineered humans face, which is a good thing, because otherwise, I really couldn't see who the bad guy would be, they're all pretty much dealt with in this book! But those attitudes are something to deal with!

These were a really great beginning to the series, and I'm so excited to read more!
Profile Image for Zunaira Ghazal.
554 reviews48 followers
December 21, 2014
Lexa was a strong, caring and extremely human character. I think her character was well developed, well portrayed and extremely well written. She was—as intended—the heart and soul of this book.

This reminds me a little of the MILA 2.0 series by Debora Driza. But while I found Mila to be annoying while she clung to her humanity, Lexa was kind of a delight to read. Maybe because she was kind of already kickass or maybe because she didn't trust random boys who offer help. She had her wits about her even when things went south, even when she was barely clinging on to the remnants of a life and people who were very dear to her.
She was sort of perfect in her imperfections. She had spunk and she embraced her dark side, she repented for her the bad choices she made and strived to be better. Also, she loved to spite people and that just sealed the deal for me. She was love.

I only wish we would've seen Lexa developing her mechanism. She was too human and while her humanity was greatly emphasized to be her strongest point, i would've liked to see her accepting the part that made her a machine and then learning to live with it.

The plot was legit. Every piece of cryptic data thrown at us seemed legit and added to the credibility of the plot.
The starting was a little abrupt but it caught its pace and didn't let me down. The supporting characters and even the villain had substance; they weren't card boards cutouts like many others throughout the YA genre, and had potential and were just plain amazing! I absolutely loved it.

Profile Image for H.  Duby.
181 reviews1 follower
November 9, 2014
Lexa Pate leads an interesting life for a seventeen year-old. Instead of going out on dates and hanging out with her friends, Lexa makes her way in the world by stealing things from high security facilities. One day, Lexa finds out something that completely re-shapes how she understands her place in the world, and nothing is ever the same again.

One of my favorite genres is dystopian fiction like The Hunger Games, the Divergent series, et cetera. I had not realized when I first started reading the book that Unstrung fit into this category; I was so excited. I've read some dystopian fiction that failed because the author did not fully commit to the world creation and it left me feeling flat. Unstrung was not one of those novels. The author fully committed to the creation of her world and, as such, it felt completely authentic. That allowed me to go deeper into the story and really enjoy the characters and how they interact with each other. The characters, in turn, made me emotionally connect to the events of the story and the events that unfold.

In other reviews I complain about cliffhanger endings. I hate them. But, while this book ends on a semi-cliffhanger ending, the rest of the book was good enough for me to overlook that, and that's saying something! I highly recommend this book to mature readers fourteen and older.
Profile Image for Kristen Otte.
Author 16 books35 followers
October 17, 2014
Unstrung is the first in a new YA series from Kendra Highley. Unstrung is a sci-fi, dystopian novel where artificial humans were created to be a new workforce. As the technology increases, these artificial humans or "Bolts" have become more and more human. Lexa, the main character, is on a crusade to free these bolts from their slavery.

I enjoyed this novel. The pacing of this story was great–it really kept the plot moving. I found myself intrigued at the greater story arc about the bolts and this society. With so many dystopians novels these days, I am curious how Highley plans to differentiate Unstrung. I did want a little more character development and backstory, but I hear there is a prequel on the way to address it. Overall, Unstrung is a fun, enjoyable ya novel, and I'm looking forward to more in the series.

Note: I received a free review copy from the author.
Profile Image for Becca Andre.
Author 29 books232 followers
October 21, 2014
I could NOT put this book down. Yes, a lot of folks say that in book reviews, but in this case it's the honest truth. Unstrung hit my sweet spot. It had everything I like in a story: great characters, action, and romance.

Unstrung is a near-future dystopian novel that explores the plight of the artificial human population in this story's world. The main character is a wonderful mix of confidence and uncertainty as she deals with the current problems facing her, and those from her forgotten past. The plot was fast paced and never dull, but I'm not going to go into detail for fear of spoiling some great twists.

This is a fun read I'd recommend to teens and adults alike. I can't wait to read the book next in the series!
Profile Image for Rachel Cotterill.
Author 8 books99 followers
March 8, 2015
17-year-old Lexa has been a thief for about as long as she can remember, creeping through the night and stealing from the corporation that rules the city. But when she unwittingly steals schematics that turn out to describe the latest generation of artificial humans, she and her confederates are looking at serious trouble. At the centre of the story are the Bolts — engineered humans who with every iteration are becoming more and more human in their emotions, while retaining super-human levels of health and mental capacity. Unstrung is in a class above the standard dystopian adventure, using a transhumanist vision of the future to deal with hefty issues of identity, family, and acceptance. Fast-paced, but thought provoking.
Profile Image for Peggy.
2,212 reviews37 followers
December 8, 2014
Another great read that is outside of my normal reading. Really enjoyed the thrill this book takes you on. Makes you really think if this could happen in the future. But who can you trust? Or can you trust anyone? This book is really fast paced and will keep you on edge!

*Received For An Honest Review*
Profile Image for Stan Hutchings.
688 reviews4 followers
March 22, 2019
"Unfinished" in "Star Rebels: Stories of Space Exploration, Alien Races, and Adventure" is a prequel. I enjoyed the concept and the writing, so I bought "Unstrung". It would be good to read "Unfinished" first; that's what motivated me to read "Unstrung". So hold on for a wild ride; there's lots of action, suspense, emotions (even among the Bolts), and a thrilling conclusion.
In a dystopian future, Turpin, Lexa and Jole steal secrets from the new government: Triarch and the Quad. They steal more than they intended, and become a threat rather than a nuisance. Now they are the target of the full force of the power structure, led by heartless, power-seeking Maren. Lexa discovers a secret about herself that upends her life. She must leave Turpin and Jole and live on her own. Now there is that unknown Bolt named Quinn, who helps her against all logic. She starts finding answers to her early life, answers she doesn't like. Someone will pay, preferably Maren, with her head! If Maren doesn't get Quinn and Lexa first. Lexa finds out many answers about her early life, which give her determination and courage for Revolution! Be ready with "Uprising", as "Unfinished" lives up to its name; it's unfinished, and Unstrung" ends on a cliff-hanger. I can't wait to start the next book."
389 reviews
March 20, 2019
Very Probably.

I believe this author. Mrs. Hindley has hit on the likely way that humanity will allow itself to be improved as the old method of leaving our children outside overnight has fallen out with the Spartans. Seriously, the story is good, the meaning is serious and I'm hooked. Now for the next one!
823 reviews16 followers
June 11, 2017
DNF @ > 50%

I really wanted to like this. I loved the short story Unfinished in another anthology enough that I hunted this book down the next day. Unforutantely I ended up hating the heroine and disliking the melodramatic plot line. I also found the writing to be a bit stilted.
93 reviews
September 18, 2019
New to me author!

Real mesmerizing plot! Complicated characters not all black and white except for the really really evil villain. Complicated love and family story as well! Can’t wait for next in the series!
Profile Image for Karen Bainbridge.
106 reviews115 followers
December 25, 2014
Unstrung by Kendra C Highley is going to set the standard for this sub-genre of the dystopian kind, with a highly entertaining adventure in the near future. Lexa Pate,17, our heroine is a most proficient thief but she has just had a close call with her latest job stealing a microchip for a undersecured laboratory until she is trying to leave and now back with her 'adopted' family, Turpin and Jole. They find out that she's stolen the wrong chip! This one contains all the information about building a brand new mentally capable of making an engineered Super-Human which will adapt and grow! Now every crooked cop, snitch and bounty hunter is out to get Lexa and the chip back!
In Unstrung the world has gone through near total annihilation, and now in Lexa's world all manual labor is done by robots called Bolts - artificial humans. The microchip that Lexa stole was only supposed to have the prototypes for K-400 instead they have the schematics for a brand new type of robot K-800, these robots will be made from human DNA and will be the first Super-Humans and when crafted they will be unnoticeable! Turpin, Jole and Lexa are wondering why? they have been 'given' this information and to what end? Stealing from Maren holds undeniable consequences but what if there is a mole,inside Precipice? While lying low Quick Tony, an ancient friend of Turpins' sends information that it is not because of the chip incident that Lexa is being hunted,as she had a bounty out on her before that and Turpin and Jole are not being sort!
Thus is the start of a highly entertaining and very appealing cyber adventure, that has missing memories, Quinn a Bolt who says that he has known Lexa forever, but can she trust him? Why do her memories seem like a dreamstate? Will Maren catch her? The book ends with a cliffhanger that leads to the expectation of more books to follow ??
Unstrung is full of lots of information that is very exciting, full of new 'technology', people whom Lexa felt very very strongly attached to she loves undeniably and she will do everything to stay loyal to them no matter what. But her memories are flawed for a time but as they come back she does not know who to trust and she still believes in Turpin and Jole! A well written story that is very complex, the characters are interesting and have very real quirks just like us, and they have you rooting for them. This is a futuristic retelling of the fairy tale Pinocchio is well thought out and executed. I recommend this book to mature 14 year olds and up, it is an amazing fast paced adventure for all of us who love dystopia and would enjoy a new direction in that genre. I absolutely had a fun time reading this really inventive story! 5 Stars for an amazing read!

I received this copy of Unstrung from the author in exchange for an honest review
Profile Image for Kika.
164 reviews14 followers
December 6, 2014
***I received a free copy of this ebook in exchange for an honest review.***

I'm really torn about this book. Overall, I enjoyed it more than I didn't enjoy it, because what Ms. Highley did well, I think she did really well. But ultimately, what was less than impressive definitely hindered my final rating.

The pros: This world is fantastically built. Better built, in fact, than a couple of NYT Bestsellers I've read this year. I need to be able to buy that the world I'm reading could really exist, while not being completely info-dumped on. Lexa's world is pieced together slowly but surely, and by the end, I had a real feel for the surface-beautiful but gritty city our heroine resides in. Lexa herself is a really enjoyable, relatable character, as are her compatriots. I had a soft spot for Quinn as soon as I met him, and as the story and their relationship progressed, I liked him even more. I want them happy, and I want them together. I can't help it, I'm a sucker for romance. Their scenes together were, for me, the ultimate highlight of the book.

The cons: While I appreciated her and her world, so many of the scrapes Lexa gets into are SO easily resolved. There's a lot of "right in the nick of time" saves and too-easily fought battles. And if it was meant to be a big reveal that Lexa herself is a Bolt, as I suspect it was, the surprise was lost on me, as I suspected as much from nearly the first discussion they had of the artificial beings within the text. Somehow I missed this was the first book in a series (my mistake entirely), so while I was a little dissatisfied with the ending, I'm hopeful the following books will tie up some of the looser ends I was left with.

I'll most definitely be reading the further books in the series, because I hate being left hanging, but as of right now, I'm unsure of exactly how many more convenient saves I can be expected to buy.

This book is worth a read, I think, but I may just as soon recommend it to people after a couple more in the series comes out.
This entire review has been hidden because of spoilers.
Profile Image for Jenni.
12 reviews2 followers
January 16, 2015
- I was sent a free copy of this book in exchange for an honest review-

Unstrung is set in a dystopian future where the normal ways of living have disintegrated and been rebuilt by the help of artificially created humans-known as Bolts-created to do the menial work that no-one else wanted to do, created to serve humans unquestionably.

The story follows Lexa, who is a teenage professional thief with no memory of her childhood. A job goes badly wrong and she is forced to confront a lot of truths about herself that she’d never wanted to think about before, and she is kicked out of the only home she’s ever known.
Loose on the streets, she is found by a highly functioning Bolt named Quinn, and with his help Lexa starts to remember who she really is, and helps to orchestrate a revolution to free all the artificial humans from their lives of servitude and abuse.

Unstrung is a fast paced novel which is full of action from the very first page. There’s hardly any “downtime” between exciting events and the characters are kept very much on their toes, which is a great hook for a reader.

I liked the fact that although it was set in an unidentified future and some of the words/technologies used were not ones from our current lexicon, but they felt familiar enough to allow you to understand what was being said/done without confusion.

As I said, the action never really stops which is very easy to get caught up in and I definitely found this book was getting very un-putdown-able towards the end. There’s so much going on and you actually end up really feeling for the characters and sincerely hoping they succeed. And then in it ends in dramatic fashion-on a huge cliffhanger and leaves you desperate for more. It’s a very well written story and I thoroughly enjoyed it!

I’d definitely recommend this book to anyone who loves this genre or action packed books in general. It’s probably not suitable for younger readers but I think the over 14 rating is about right-I would have loved reading it as a teen as much as I did as an adult.
Profile Image for Alis.
243 reviews20 followers
January 9, 2015
What I liked: I really liked how all the little hints thrown in about Lexa and who she really is gets thrown in without being too obvious when they happen. Lexa herself is a fierce girl who I really liked as a character, she grew on me fairly quickly and I found that while she is a thief for a living, the fact that she can't lie was brilliant. It was very, interesting that she couldn't lie despite her line of work and what she was doing to live in her city. Quinn was also interesting as a character, and we know what he is right off the bat, though we don't know how or why he knows Lexa. That takes a little bit to learn, and it makes everything fall even further apart than what happens after she manages to botch a job that was important. I found that even though we get very little about the world outside the city, what worldbuilding about it we get is good, and the worldbuilding about the city we get gives me some answers but not all of them.

What I didn't like: I really didn't like our main antagonist, she felt very flat in the moments she's in and only seemed to serve the purpose of being the villain of the story. Did she sound like she would be an interesting character from how everyone spoke of her? Yes, definitely. So I was disappointed by that outcome. There was also a lack of a confrontation between Lexa and the main antagonist, especially in the times they meet and it was something that required fighting. It felt rushed and was wrapped up rather quickly.

Overall Review: Besides a few of the characters, I really liked the main cast of characters in Unstrung, they were both interesting and fun and even some of the side characters who don't appear much after their introduction are not characters who I would call characters you could just cast aside or mesh together. They stood up well in their own way and I really liked them!

Recommend?: Definitely! It was really good and if you like dystopian you should read it!
Profile Image for Karen.
500 reviews22 followers
December 22, 2014
This is a good book! I am excited to read the next book in the series. It is different then what I normally like but that is a good thing.

By the age of ten years old, Lexa was hooked on drugs, eating out of dumpsters, unable to recall her life before that moment and all alone. she lucked out and was taken in by a man who stole from others for a fee. Lexa became a great thief. Life was good until they took on a job to steal plans for a engineered human (robot) from the most powerful woman in the city. This is a big mistake that brings Lexa's world crashing down around her.

I will admit that one of the reasons I even read this book was the author was a fan of Rae Carson. I figured any one who liked Ms. Carson's writing enough to mention it must be a person who could write a good story herself. I was right. This story was different then I thought. I truly liked most of the characters and disliked the bad guys. The direction this story went in from the beginning to the end was attention getting. I stsyed awake far too late last night to finish this book because I needed to know what was going to happen. This book is the first in a series and I cannot wait to read the next. I liked the way Lexa dealt with her problems and thought through her emotions, feelings amd action whle not being afraid to take a risk. Her life gets ripped from her and she is thrust into the center of all the drama--not something she would have chosen at all. I found this book fasr paced and engrossing. Kendra Highley created a world that was believeable and flawed. She did a great job of making her characters likeable and the bad guys unlikeable. this story is one that I found that I had to get to the end to see how it turned out for Lexa and all the people she cared about and wanted to protect.
Profile Image for Elsie.
241 reviews11 followers
March 7, 2015
What an great book! I wasn't sure what I was getting into with this one... futuristic, thieves and genetically-engineered super humans? Weird. It was a really good story though and I was hooked. This is the first book in a long time that I've had to force myself to put it down at 1am and go to bed instead of reading late into the night.

Told from the POV of Lexa, a 17-year-old thief. She is a recovering addict and makes a living with an small group of people who are in "acquisitions" Things quickly start to go wrong when Lexa and her crew are set-up and steal some top-secret specs for a new model of "Bolts" or genetically-engineered humans.

On the run, Lexa meets up with Quinn. She has a weird attraction to him and he says he knows her from her past, but she doesn't remember him. She has to work with him though to get out of the mess she's in. And as her memory comes back she starts to question everything she's ever known.....

This story is complex and the characters are smart and interesting. The story pulls you in from the beginning and has a few twists and turns to keep you engaged in the story. It's non-stop action in this story. Lexa has strong emotions and loyalty to those she loves, but that doesn't make her stupid. I felt the characters were fairly realistic in their thoughts and emotions.

This book ends with a cliffhanger and I'm anticipating the next installment of the series already!

Disclosure: I received a free copy of this e-book in return for my honest review. No other compensation was received and all thoughts and opinions are strictly my own.
Profile Image for Zina.
186 reviews3 followers
January 5, 2015

I got an ARC in exchange for an honest review, and I completely forgot about it since I had exams and papers to prepare. Then, I remembered I had to read this for a specific date and I couldn't keep pushing off the time where I'd have to read it. As I started, like someone else here already stated too, it was hard to get into, but what book isn't, eh? So I kept reading and the more I read, the more intrigued I felt about what was going to happen to the main character, Lexa. This book was action packed and that's what kept me riveted! Whenever you felt like there was downtime, it was right at that precise moment where things got sticky for Lexa again: you think she's not going to make it? She does! You think she's going to escape? Well, she doesn't. And obviously since this is a YA book, there is automatically a love story this time between two robots! (It isn't any different than the other teen romances though, except that instead of wondering if they're doing things right, they wonder whether or not the humans did it this way or that.)

On the downside, the general time where the story is set isn't precise, nor is the place or the description of any location around it. All descriptions were too quick in my opinion, even when I don't usually like lengthy descriptions.

Overall it's a good read, although I'm curious to see why the story ends on a cliffhanger and so many questions are left unanswered, but there still doesn't seem to have a sequel planned for this book. It's a YA book! Therefore the chance of a sequel should be approximately 99%!
Profile Image for Becca.
418 reviews21 followers
January 22, 2015

This book was so much better than I thought it would be. Lexa is a 17 year old who can break into any building and retrieve almost anything for her boss / father figure Turpin. She works with her best friend Joel as well. They are quite the trio.

Lexa is plagued by dreams that don't make any sense to her. She keeps dreaming about a little girl in a white room. She keeps getting flashes of this girl over and over. She cannot understand them. Lexa cannot remember where she came from before finding Turpin and Joel.

After a job goes bad Lexa's life starts to get way more interesting. She lives in a world of Humans and Bolt's (artificial humans). Bolts are considered to be the lowest of the low.

Lexa is kidnapped and finds out that her life isn't quite what she thought it was. This seriously is when the book gets even more interesting. This is when we meet Quinn....I love Quinn. I am going to leave it at that. You have to read it to find out :).

This book was so intense. I was on the edge of my seat the whole time. Especially the last few chapters. I felt like I was holding my breath. It was so fantastic. I love it when a book does that to me. I was on pins and needles. Now I cannot wait for the second part of this story! Seriously when it ended I was like "WHAT!". I hate cliff hangers. Okay not really, but right now I am hating the cliff hanger, because I just want to read on.

This book is exciting, and it's full of some very interesting characters. It's a strange world, and fantastic.
Profile Image for Tracy.
Author 5 books15 followers
December 22, 2014
The book started a little slowly for me. It could have just been me, I had been having a couple of rough days. But it soon picked up and then I couldn’t put it down. This is a story of a cat-burglar named Lexa. It’s set in a dystopian future, where everything is composed of a city-state type of government. Lexa doesn’t like the current regime that puts out androids to take the place of many humans in the work force. She was sent in to steal a particular set of plans only to find out that the chips were switched and she was given plans for a much more advanced android. This is the catalyst for all sorts of situations that she finds herself in. In one of them, she meets an android, so human like that if HE didn’t tell her, she probably wouldn’t have figured it out. His name is Quinn and he knows her, whereas she has no recollection of him.

I liked Lexa’s character. I liked Quinn’s and Jole’s character too. Her relationships with both men seemed very real and genuine. There were a few moments of surprise for me. I won’t mention them here because I wouldn’t want to ruin it for anyone else wanting to read the book. I will say that I’m curious to see where the rest of the series takes me. So, I’ll definitely be looking forward...(http://textuallove.wordpress.com/2014...) You can read the rest of the review behind the link.
Profile Image for Marie Wingate.
58 reviews
December 21, 2014
What an excellent book! I went into this with an open mind, and the story starts around Lexa and her "job" as a 17 year old thief, and I was just thinking, "let's see where it goes", especially given the book blurb and how much I'd liked the sound of it. Well, it definitely went somewhere! It's not that it had a slow start, or that the beginning of the book wasn't good, just that it really ramps up as you go on, with new characters coming in, and involvement in a much larger plot.
There was a twist in the story that appears about halfway through, and depending on how good you are at guessing things, that might have been a surprise, but perhaps not. The second half of the book really ramps up, and I was then totally engrossed right to the end, and will definitely be on the look out for the next instalment.
I really liked how Kendra portrayed the characters, particularly the humanisation of the "artificials" which was so well done. I love the kind of book that look to the future in a "what if" manner - and while mankind haven't taken this route, so far, in terms of robotics, it's something that I, and many others, can believe to be a feasible future. So much more enjoyable than the mundane current reality...
I'll definitely be looking up Kendra's other works.
Profile Image for Stan Hutchings.
688 reviews4 followers
March 20, 2019
"Unfinished" in "Star Rebels: Stories of Space Exploration, Alien Races, and Adventure" is a prequel. I enjoyed the concept and the writing, so I bought "Unstrung". It would be good to read "Unfinished" first; that's what motivated me to read "Unstrung". So hold on for a wild ride; there's lots of action, suspense, emotions (even among the Bolts), and a thrilling conclusion.
In a dystopian future, Turpin, Lexa and Jole steal secrets from the new government: Triarch and the Quad. They steal more than they intended, and become a threat rather than a nuisance. Now they are the target of the full force of the power structure, led by heartless, power-seeking Maren. Lexa discovers a secret about herself that upends her life. She must leave Turpin and Jole and live on her own. Now there is that unknown Bolt named Quinn, who helps her against all logic. She starts finding answers to her early life, answers she doesn't like. Someone will pay, preferably Maren, with her head! If Maren doesn't get Quinn and Lexa first. Lexa finds out many answers about her early life, which give her determination and courage for Revolution! Be ready with "Uprising", as "Unfinished" lives up to its name; it's unfinished. I can't wait to start the next book.
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