Warning: No major spoilers but thoughts on books 2/3/4 will reference events from the previous books.
What is it?
It’s a dystopian series set in a future where parents have the option of Unwinding their troubled teens. The three main characters are all set to be unwound for different reasons but when their paths cross, they find themselves on the run and just trying to survive.
The first book in the series, I originally kept putting this one off because the concept disturbed me. It was the same reason I kept putting off other series I ended up loving so I finally gave it a try and, yes, I loved it. It was dark and disturbing but I thought the world was so well done and it really intrigued me. There was a smart use of advertisements throughout the book for unwinding, things you would see on a billboard or in the subway, giving stories of people who’d been saved or found peace because of unwinding. We got the POVs from the main three characters but also POVs from other characters, sometimes they would remain nameless but the scene through their eyes was important.
I enjoyed all three main characters and a lot of the minor characters. It did take Lev some time to grow on me since he was what was called a Tithe, someone born to be unwound, and he was very stubborn about listening to people who didn’t believe in it. Connor and Risa were extremely sympathetic right away and I was rooting for them to survive. Minor character Hayden, thought, stole my heart with his story and his charm and sense of humour.
The second book in the series picks up where the first left off. Connor, Lev, and Risa’s actions have brought unwinding into the spotlight, making it impossible for people to ignore it. We got to see people start questioning the morality of unwinding kids but also saw how hard it is to fight against big business. I loved seeing all the kids who’d escaped unwinding come together to make a safe place at The Graveyard but there’s always power-hungry people who think they can run things better and this book introduced a teen who fit that description.
It also introduced Cam, a new character who was rewound to be the perfect specimen. It was taking the science of unwinding and going in a new direction, which was interesting and disturbing. He was made from parts of kids who had been unwound and he struggles with what that means for him. His presence introduced a whole new level of world-building that I really enjoyed.
The third book in the series, picking up where the second finished. This one I found to be the most intense of the books yet. The ending of the second book left me excited for this one and it didn’t disappoint. I was beginning to have serious doubts to my favourites surviving just this book, let alone the whole series. This is the book where we really start to see Connor and his friends pushing back against unwinding with the hopes of changing things. It’s not just about surviving and evading the bounty hunters anymore.
We also see the emergence of a new threat in Starkey, a character from the second book who wanted power and control of The Graveyard and now has his own army of kids. He was an interesting character because it was easy, as the reader, to see how wrong he was, how his anger was a bad thing, that he was barely in control of himself, but he was able to convince kids to follow him. I really liked the way things started to come into play with all the different sides going into the fourth book.
The fourth and technically last book in the series. This one turned out to be my favourite. We got so much backstory on how unwinding came to be, the original intentions behind it, how it could be stopped. All of it was interesting and pretty disturbing since it’s not hard at all to picture money winning out over ethics. This book did a good job of balancing all the story lines it had going on, from Connor, Risa, and Lev’s quest to expose the truth, to Starkey’s mission to destroy all Harvest Camps so they couldn’t unwinding anymore, to Cam’s struggle about who he is and if he was considered a person or property.
I liked the way things ended up finishing. It was satisfying but also left room for…
This book is a collection of short stories set withing the UnWinding universe and comes out in December. I’m definitely excited for it.