Review copy was received from Publisher. This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.
Unbound by Neal Shusterman, Jarrod Shusterman
Narrator: Andrew Eiden, Karissa Vacker
Series: Unwind Dystology #4.5
Published by Tantor Audio on April 7, 2020
Genres: Young Adult, Science Fiction, Dystopia
Length: 10 hours 2 minutes
Amazon, Audible, Audiobook, Barnes & Noble, Apple
n the New York Times bestselling Unwind Dystology—Unwind, UnWholly, UnSouled, and UnDivided—Neal Shusterman thrilled readers with the story of a society that deals with its out-of-control teens by “unwinding” them—transplanting more than 99% of their bodies into other people.
In the latest installment of this sequence, Shusterman—along with collaborators Terry Black, Michelle Knowlden, Brendan Shusterman, and Jarrod Shusterman—explores even more aspects of a world that has accepted the unacceptable. These short stories examine the world of unwinding in a way we haven’t seen before, providing a fresh framework, new characters, and a different take on some events.
Anthologies are generally hit and miss for me but UnBound was a complete hit. A lot of that has to do with the fact that it explored some of the places and cultures that were mentioned in the Unwind series, but not explored. Then other stories featured some side character adjacent stories. And then just to round it all off there were a few of the other short stories I’d read before, now in one convenient location.
UnBound are stories set in the world of the Unwind Dystology, an alternate world much similar to our own, where the technology allows you to abort a child up until they turn 17, and convert a troublesome teen into parts that can be used in other people. It is a strange world and one of my favorite complete YA series of all time. UnBound was published in 2015 but I never got around to reading it because there wasn’t audio available; I’m so happy this has finally been put into audio format.
UnSchooled – Did you ever wonder if Jasper, the parts pirate, was always such a vengeful creature. Well, this is how he went from being a kid in a pretty ordinary family, to finding kids to unwind. He’s no better as a teenager than as an adult.
UnFinished Symphony – This follows a girl in the same orphanage as Risa, when they were going through the budget cuts, that ended with Risa on a bus headed to an unwind camp. It almost wasn’t the case but an event outside Risa’s control and a girl named Brookyn had a part to play in it.
As for Risa Ward, she will disappear, as if she had never been born. And no great loss. It’s not like she would have changed the world.
UnDevoured – Roland played a large part in Unwind. He didn’t have a good childhood and he was almost always a bully. This is just a small story of his life with his stepfather and the shark attack that made him get the tattoo on his arm. This was my least favorite story of the bunch.
UnClean – Clappers weren’t the only terrorist type plot against unwinding. There was also one man who thought to put cancerous parts in others by chemically hiding, then ruining and infecting the unsuspecting people who received those parts. Will they be able to do it or will they be thwarted by an unexpected group?
UnStrung – I’d read this story before. It is how Wil ended up in the hands of the parts pirates and Lev started down a path he never expected to go when he was a tithe. It was heartbreaking all over again, my heart aches for the boy Lev could have been, if that had never happened. But then there wouldn’t be the story of the man he became.
UnNatural Selection – Thailand is one of the only places on earth that doesn’t believe in Unwinding but it isn’t a safe place as Colton is about to find out. The Burmese Dah Zey is right over the border and people go missing from Thailand all the time. Colton is about to find out what happens to them when they do and why UnWinding isn’t the only thing to fear.
This was one of my favorite stories out of the anthology as it hit on some of the places we didn’t get to see during the original dystology.
UnConfirmed – Grace is now a really rich woman and she has a favor to ask of Hayden. She also has a few theories about what may have happened to Conner and Risa after all the events of the main series. There wasn’t a lot of meat to this story but it was a fun way to ponder where our characters rode off into their sunset.
UnTithed – Miracolina was one of my favorite characters from the main series, well eventually, she takes a little time to really come around. This is set in the middle of the Unwind series after she has returned to her family. She is trying to find purpose in her life, a way to be connect to the world. She was going to sacrifice herself into parts to help, now she just needs a way to do it while still remaining whole.
Live like Lev. Miracolina thinks. That was the battle cry of the rescued tithes back in the Cavenaugh mansion. Do not give in to the urge to extinguish oneself in the waters of the world, but instead be a light above those waters to help guide the way.
Micacolina is helping AWOLs and might just save a few lives tonight
Rewinds – This I think was one of my favorite tales of the entire book. It follows Cam and Una after the events of the series and we get to see how all the Rewinds are integrating back into society.
“The world is full of bad ideas that turn into wonderful things”
I’m so happy for both Cam and Una in this new life and thought it was very fitting how things worked out. Not all Rewinds are created equal though and some will be better whole people than others.
Unknown Quantity – Argent Skinner played a big part in the main series, but what happened to him after all the events? This story shows the reader where Argent went after the events of Undivided and why one day, he might see some of the characters we loved so much again. It is a small world after all.
This is definitely a must read for lovers of the Unwind Series. I was so glad to be back in this world and see some of my favorite characters again. Overall, most of the stories captured my attention and made me miss the original series.
The narration of this included multiple narrators that seemed appropriate based on the characters being represented. I listened to this at my normal 1.5x speed.
Listen to a clip: HERE
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Reading this book contributed to these challenges:
- Robin Audio20
Excellent review! I have planned to read this but your review makes me want to start sooner. I’ve enjoyed anther series but this author.
This was the first series of his I read and after that I was hooked and read Skinjackers, his MG series and they Scythe when it came out. He creates very interesting worlds and perspectives.
i don’t know if i’ve heard of the un series, but after reading your wonderful review, it makes me want to
Unwind is a strange dystology. When I read the blurb to the first book I really didn’t think I’d like it near as much as I did. I was hooked after reading Unwind.
Great review, I have not read this author but I am interested in this now.
I hope you enjoy the series when you get to it. 🙂
This is a series that I really do want to tackle at some point. I am glad that this anthology was such a hit for you!
Carole, I hope you find time for it. Like I said it is one of my favorite completed YA series in a very interesting Dystopian world.
Well, now I want to read this series. What an original plot!
The world is extremely well thought out and I really loved the what if of the entire series. I hope you get a chance to read it.
That’s a lot of stories in one anthology! It sounds like a bizarre, but interesting world. Good review!
It is definitely different and there were some great short stories in this if you enjoyed the world.