Teen Tuesday – UnSouled YA Dystopian Book Review
First, if you haven’t read the first two, you may want to check out my review of Unwind here, and/or my review of UnWholly here (or just scroll to the post before this. Lol!). Otherwise, this review may not make much sense since I’m not going to go into the basic premise of the series again.
Let me now say that I absolutely love the world Shusterman has created here because it is so appalling, repelling, and mind-blowing. The great things about dystopian books is that you can always see a little bit of our society in the way the world is structured and the way the people act and interact. In a way, that’s what dystopian books are for – to remind us we could be headed there if we’re not careful. To make us take a long look at ourselves in the mirror and reflect. To let us not remain complacent and passive, letting the media manipulate us into whatever it wants us to believe.
Maybe that’s one reason I’m in love with and identify so much with this series. A big part of it (at least in the 2nd and definitely the 3rd) is tied to the media and the big players behind it manipulating the masses…which if you haven’t read much on my blog, is a big passion of mine.
Okay, enough about dystopian books in general. Let’s talk about UnSouled.
Things I loved about UnSouled: The increased information and insight into the way the media is involved; the love triangle that popped up (although that kind of started in the 2nd one), Lev and Connor’s relationship and banter, and Grace’s character and how she is so dang clever despite being “low-cortical” (I think she must be autistic or something similar and they just pegged brain issues all together – anybody else think that?). One other thing about the whole series I haven’t mentioned before that I love is the random articles and documents he throws in from our time that are real and incredibly shocking! It just makes the whole thing seem so much more plausible.
Things I didn’t care for as much: Really, the only thing I didn’t care for was the massive amount of plots and sub-plots.
It just seemed overbearing and annoying at times. Now, granted, the second book had several sub-plots as well, but it still focused mainly on the three main ones: Cam and Risa, Connor and everyone at the Graveyard, and Lev. This time you had Risa, Cam, Connor and Lev, Starkey, Nelson, and a few others like Argie and Hayden before they converged with Nelson and Starkey, respectively. I think part of the problem with this was that I found I liked some of the plots more than others, so when it stopped one I liked and took a detour to one I didn’t like, I had to force myself to continue through it.
Part of my issue with the million plots and the jumping back and forth between them was that it was kind of jarring to be moved back and forth like that, in and out of stories. The other, and probably main, problem I had with it, though, was simply that I didn’t like being inside the antagonists’ minds for too long.
I hated arrogant and completely selfish Starkey by the end of the second book, and, of course, Nelson has always been a psychotic creep who for some reason thinks he’s Mr. Man of Integrity. With Starkey’s plot not really involving any of the main characters, and then Nelson’s plot adding the nauseating Argie, I just found that I wanted those sections to be over quickly. I understand those sub-plots were necessary, and for a book with an obviously omniscient point of view, I think Shusterman did an amazing job still getting the reader involved with main characters and making sure everyone had a different voice. I guess I just think these sections with the antagonists could’ve been shorter, and, in Starkey’s case, more of them could’ve been told through Bam’s or Hayden’s eyes. I didn’t feel as uncomfortable seeing it through Bam or Hayden since they aren’t psychotic narcissists.
Well, there’s my two-cents anyway. 🙂