UnDivided – Neal Shusterman
Proactive Citizenry, the company that created Cam from the parts of unwound teens, has a plan: to mass produce rewound teens like Cam for military purposes. And below the surface of that horror lies another shocking level of intrigue: Proactive Citizenry has been suppressing technology that could make unwinding completely unnecessary. As Conner, Risa, and Lev uncover these startling secrets, enraged teens begin to march on Washington to demand justice and a better future.
But more trouble is brewing. Starkey’s group of storked teens is growing more powerful and militant with each new recruit. And if they have their way, they’ll burn the harvest camps to the ground and put every adult in them before a firing squad—which could destroy any chance America has for a peaceful future.
This is a review of book #4 in a series. The review is as spoiler-free as I can make it, but you might want to check out my reviews of books #1, #2, and #3.
Review: Well, that was satisfyingly messed up.
In the final-ish book of this series, Connor, Risa, Lev, and Cam uncover some of Proactive Citizenry’s secrets. The organization has been blocking scientific progress so that they can use their technology to get rich off military contracts. While Cam tries to expose Proactive Citizenry, Connor and Risa are on the run from parts pirates, and Lev is trying to get justice for all of the teens who have been unwound. While all of this is happening, Starkey continues his terroristic attacks on harvest camps, but some of the kids he commands have a plan to overthrow him.
One of the reasons why I don’t read a lot of series is that I usually don’t like how they end. There are so many plot threads in a series that they are rarely all wrapped up in a satisfying way. I think authors also sometimes chicken out with the ends of series. Authors are so desperate to give every character a happily ever after that the finale is bland.
Neal Shusterman did a fairly awesome job of ending this series. UnDivided is unpredictable, fast-paced, and creepy. There were several times where I stared at the book in horror, thinking No, that did not just happen! I was scared for the characters the whole way through. Every time I thought this series couldn’t get any more disturbing, it gets more disturbing. I would love to give examples, but everything I want to say is a spoiler, so you’ll just have to trust me.
This is my second-favorite book in the series. The first book is still my favorite, but this is a satisfying ending. I only have two small problems with it:
First, (I know I already said this in another review), I still don’t understand Risa. She’s a love interest and nothing else. I really, really wanted her to have more of a role in the conclusion of the series.
Second, there is a scene where Connor is trapped in a room full of kids who are sedated with IVs. Connor can’t get out of the room, so he pretty much just sits there until he’s captured. Why didn’t he yank the IVs out of the kids? He yanked out his own IV. Maybe taking out everyone else’s would have caused enough chaos that he could have escaped. Or he could have had a very sleepy army at his disposal. Maybe I missed something, but that part of the book didn’t make much sense to me.
Again, I’ve said it in other reviews, but my favorite part of this series is the ethical questions that it examines. UnDivided shows the dangers of letting science go too far and also the dangers of suppressing science.
“ . . . facts never prevent the ignorant from jerking their knees into the groin of science.” - UnDivided
Just because modern science doesn’t have the perfect solution to a problem doesn’t mean that it never will. We have to keep working toward solutions, but we have to be careful about how we do that work. Getting rich from scientific advancements should not be more important than human lives.
If I had to sum up this series with one word, I’d call it “brave.” The author confronts a lot of topics that most other authors would shy away from. I don’t agree with every position that the author/narrator/characters take in these books, but I think UnDivided is a brave conclusion to a brave series.