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Sunday, June 23, 2013

Audio Review: Unwholly by Neal Shusterman

Posted by Irish in Review1 Comment

Title: Unwholly (Goodreads)
Publisher: Brilliance Audio

Publication Date: 30 April 2013
Series or Standalone: Series
Format: Audio
Audio Length: ~12.5 hrs
Narrator: Luke Daniels

The Author on the Web:

Rating: 4 out of 5 stars

First Line: He’s fighting a nightmare when they come for him.

Unwind Series Order
Book 1: Unwind
Book 1.5: Unstrung (novella)
Book 2: Unwholly
Book 3: Unsouled (15 Oct 2013)

When I first finished Unwind by Neal Shusterman I was upset when there was no audio for the next book in the series, Unwholly. When I can I like to stay in the same format that I started a book, there are exceptions to this of course, but its always nice to stick with it. Then I was browsing through my when my credits renewed last month and low and behold there was now an audio for Unwholly and I downloaded it immediately. As with Unwind the synopsis of this story is a bit misleading and as with the first book Unwholly is also told from multiple POVs there are the ones you’d expect from book 1 Connor, Resa, and Lev. Then there are new voices Starkey, Miraclena and Cam along with a couple of random one off POVs that do nothing for the story but act as a cheat (easy way) to get things across. 

Despite the fact that this book was released years after the first one it picks up about a year or so after events in Unwind end. Connor, Lev and Resa are all still adjusting to life after Happy Jack and trying to do the best they can. Then there is Miraclena who is a tithe and plays the roll Lev filled at the start of Unwind and Lev is more like Connor trying to convince her that her path is wrong. I never really understood her whole purpose in the story and hope that it will become clear in book 3. Otherwise, it was just all a bit of pointless filler that I could have done without. 

Connor and Resa are both a bit different in this story as well. They aren’t as close as they once were and that makes me sad. I was expecting more in terms of romance from them but all I got was annoyance and frustration as they both kinda refused to communicate what they were really thinking. Though Resa’s journey in Unwholly ends up being far from dull even as it was a bit predictable at times. But one of the most interesting characters was Cam, the hodgepodge human created entirely from unwinds. A character that Dr. Frankenstein would have been most impressed with. Cam is complex and funny and I really liked his addition to the story. Even while at the same time being a bit horrified for how he came to be. I look forward to seeing where his story goes in the third book providing of course that he makes the POV cut. 

The story in this one wasn’t super complex or even as riveting as Unwind and it definitely comes across as more of a set up/transitition novel. While Unwind is able to stand on its own. There are threads left dangling in this story and while its not a major cliffhanger there are still enough pieces missing that you need another book to finish them up. Which is a bit of a shame as there were lots of filler type moments in this one that could have been eliminated so the story was more complete. I am still a bit fascinated with this world though so I will be reading the next book, I just hope that there is more to it substance wise than in this one.

As for the narrator, Luke Daniels returns to tell this story and he does just a so-so job this time around. A lot of the voices seem to get a bit muddled and Cam, while I liked the ultra raspy approach to him, always sounded far far older than the teenage boy he was supposed to be. It was always a bit jarring when his ‘age’ was brought up. There were also times when it was hard to tell who was speaking when as Daniels seemed to use similar voices for certain characters and it was messy if they happened to be in the same room. The whole thing just seemed a bit rushed in some ways and the narration just didn’t have a polished feel to it. It was almost as if Daniels was a new narrator and not one who has a long history of reading audiobooks. Despite that though I will still go with the audio of Unsouled if there is one available and only if its read by Luke Daniels.

One Response to “Audio Review: Unwholly by Neal Shusterman”

  1. Vivien

    I was so eager when I found out there were going to be two more books in this series. I loved Unwind. This book didn’t have the same feel but I still ended up really loving it. It was brutal. I cannot wait for book 3!!