UnWholly (Unwind, #2)

UnWholly - Neal Shusterman To say this book is suspenseful is an understatement. Just like Unwind, it is a nerve-wracking, emotionally-charged dystopia. The narrators from the previous novel--Connor, Rise, and Lev-- all return, and each end up going on their own journeys in a world of unwinding. The plot is relatively strong. There are a lot of pieces on the proverbial chessboard here, and Shusterman somehow manages to not only keep everyone straight, but give an emotional core to each of them. The characters are fully-developed and are passionate people, and it's interesting to see the jarring ideals of each narrator: some of them are in favor of tithing, others find it a repulsive practice; some are dispassionate about the cause and are only looking out for those they care about, whereas others are trying (and sometimes failing) to be heroes for everyone. Like I mentioned, there are a few more narrators in this story... and maybe that is a few too many. We get further inside Nelson's mind (Nelson, the police officer who tried to capture Lev, Risa, and Connor in the first book); we also see new sides of the Juvies, and of the people in the Graveyard. While that is interesting, it is also a lot of people to keep track of. Some of the names began blurring together, particularly when we hopped not only POVs but also general landscapes. (Some of the characters are in different states.) While the story itself was made more interesting by these changes, I occasionally got confused. I thought the writing was pretty good. Shusterman keeps a balancing act of suspense and comic relief. This story has a great pace, and the energy never lets up. However, there were a few clich├ęs that stood out and, because the material is so original, it was a little disappointing to see. For example, at one point in the story two characters emotionally connect over what is "right," and then coo over how they now "see" the light. This kind of forced dialogue happened VERY few times; but when it came up, since this is such a dark story, it struck me as a little strange.