Thursday, October 1, 2015


UnWholly (Unwind, #2)UnWholly by Neal Shusterman
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

Unwinding is a big business. The setbacks of the destruction of the Happy Jack Harvest Camp, the clapper who wouldn't clap, and subsequent law changes have led to a new ad campaign in favor of unwinding and encouraging adults to sell their bodies to unwinding to care for their families. It also led to something more unique and unusual than anyone would fathom a rewound teenager. Camus Camprix or Cam for short was created using all the best parts of unwound teens for unknown reasons by the corporate entities that hold sway over the Juvenile Authority.

I wasn't sure quite what to expect with UnWholly since in many ways Unwind felt complete as they clearly expressed their message in a hard to ignore story. UnWholly expands the world and story in ways I hadn't truly considered. Part Pirates now stalk AWOL Unwinds and every day people for the black market. The law stopping unwinding at 17 has only fueled the need for parts and the black market doesn't care where they came from. Connor and Risa are constantly worried about the Juvenile Authority since they are fully aware of The Graveyard. Camus Comprix is equally disturbing because it's hard to understand why he was made in the first place other than him being a walking advertisement for what unwinding can do for a person.

I think the most frightening aspect to me is that the Parts Pirates and Black Market aren't as scary as the Juvenile Authority as a whole. Terrible random illegal things happen in our world, but the idea that the government itself endorses surgically dismembering teens is still far more frightening because these teens don't know who they can trust or if they can trust anyone.

The overall storyline is still one that grips my heart hard because it's unfortunately a bit too realistic. It's sad to see that those in authority don't realize they've created the teenage threat they're dealing with. If the only choice is to steal or be dismembered most would steal. If the choice is to kill or be dismembered many would kill. Unwinding is all well or good until someone's loved one is the one being unwound or a person themselves is facing it. I'm sure few of the teens thought much about unwinding until the juvey-cops knocked on the door asking for them by name.

UnWholly is an emotional tale I can't quite capture with words, but I'll end this with a quote from the book:

"We are not just AWOLs! We are not just parts! We are whole human beings — and history will look back on these times in shame!"

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Of Heroes and Villains

Of Heroes And Villains (Sage Saga, #4)Of Heroes And Villains by Julius St. Clair
My rating: 3 of 5 stars

5 years after the events of Hail to the Queen, The Age of Peace has arrived and with it the unity of all the kingdoms.

Along with the discovery of Quietus survivors, a new threat to the peace comes to Allay's attention. Rogue Sages have threatened the survivors of Quietus and shockingly they are far more powerful than James who was believed to be the strongest living Sage.

Meanwhile Bastion, a young Sage with amazing power has come to the world's attention. He fears his already immense power and seeks a way to control it so he doesn't harm anyone.

Of Heroes and Villains is an interesting start to a new Sage Saga trilogy. The book started slowly and I wasn't sure for a moment if it still had the interesting aspects the first trilogy did, but it definitely found what makes it uniquely interesting before the end. I think the reason it started slowly is because despite the fact that we all want to live in peace, peace makes for a boring fantasy story. Of course a new major conflict had to occur and this conflict comes from quite an unexpected place. This new conflict alone has me intrigued to read the rest of the series.

All the main characters that survived Hail to the Queen appear. Queen Catherine is still the leader of the land despite her naïveté. Arimus is mostly in retirement making up for lost time with his wife Ashalynn. James is now considered The Master Sage and is days away from opening a Sage Academy in the place of the old Sentinel Academy. All the characters seem practically the same as they were at the end of Hail to the Queen except that Arimus is a bit more laid back.

Bastion is an interesting addition. An extremely powerful youth who is about to join the sage academy. Bastion is an incredibly serious character who seems to never had an opportunity to live like a child because of his traumatizing past and since his family lives on the outskirts of the village. It's clear even without the note from the author that this Sage Saga trilogy will revolve more around Bastion than anyone.

Unfortunately like its predecessors Of Heroes and Villains suffers from poor editing. The book is riddled with grammatical errors along with using the wrong words from time to time. Most disturbing to me is the fact that repeatedly the one armed warrior Arimus is referred to as crossing his arms, placing his hands to his sides, and so forth. The amount of times it occurs is a bit disheartening. Despite these errors Julius St. Clair has written a good book.

Of Heroes and Villains has peaked my interest enough to keep reading this new Sage Saga trilogy. St. Clair has a marvelous imagination and I thoroughly enjoy what he brings to life with it.

3 out of 5 stars

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