These are what we call the 'YMMV items.' Things that some people find in this work. We call them 'your mileage might vary' because not everyone sees these things in the same way. This starts discussions in the trope lists, a thing we don't want. Please use the discussion page if you'd like to discuss any of these items.
Fridge Brilliance: Since so much of Lev's character comes from his belief in and devotion to God, it only seems fitting that he gets a Crucified Hero Shotwhen his arms are lashed to a crossbeam and stretched out so he can't clap and blow himself up.
Fridge Logic: How is this a viable alternative to abortion? If anything, the new system seems worse.
To be exact, it is worse, in every possible way. It eliminates the health and economic benefits of an abortion by requiring the child be born and raised to age thirteen, and the people who can't afford to raise a child in the first place turn to storking (god help you if you were raped.) Furthermore, the abortion issue is primarily based on whether or not an embryo is technically alive; here, the argument over the morality of killing someone who's potentially alive is somehow resolved by killing someone who's obviously alive. How did this ever pass as an option?
That was the whole point. It was sarcastically proposed by the military during the Heartland War to show both sides how ridiculous they were being, and they were shocked when both sides not only took it seriously but accepted and demanded it as the only possible compromise they could both agree on.
The in-universe answer to "How is it better?" is that, so long as every part of an unwind is used, that person is still physically alive. They rationalize it, therefore, as not killing anyone. In fact, those who support the procedure are offended when unwinding is described as "murder," or its end result as "death." They argue that in fact, it promotes life by allowing ill or injured people to live longer and function better, and by giving otherwise valueless people a purpose. Even some unwinds agree: Samson, a minor character who appears early in the book, says he would rather be partly useful (for transplant organs) than completely useless (as he feels he is otherwise).
Well, 1) The old skills aren't completely lost (the doctor did know how to do open-heart surgery on the Admiral; she just said it wasn't as effective an option), though they haven't developed beyond about present-day levels; 2) In the situation you cite, in the Unwind-verse the obvious solution would be to find someone who's naturally immune to the illness (there's always someone) and "unwind" them for their antibody-laden blood — poof! a vaccine; 3) People have a remarkable, and depressing, ability to settle for the best short-term solution, often without an eye to the long-term. If they can just replace damaged hearts with new ones, they'll consider the problem solved, even if they might have developed other/better solutions.
Exactly how would unwinding fit with either side of the argument? I suppose you could make it a far-fetched strawman parody of the pro-choice position if the setting not only kept abortion legal, but extended the right to it by ruling that an embryo is not a person until the 68th trimester (plus there might have to be the rule that only the mother gets to make the choice, not the father.) But that's not what is presented in the story; and in real life even the most ardent pro-choice activists agree that an already born baby is a person, and has a right to life that can trump the mother's best interests. And I don't see how allowing parents to order the deaths of their 13-16 year-old is in any way an extrapolation of pro-life arguments; as mentioned above, the debate is whether an embryo counts as a person. If people in the setting accept that parents may order a 16-year old harvested for their organs and technically they aren't actually dead from the process, there's no reason a 3rd trimester embryo couldn't get the same treatment. (I dunno, maybe the author assumes the pro-life position is "We like to oppress women for the evulz"? Unwinding might be consistent with that.) TL;DR: it doesn't sound like the author is satirizing either position at all well.
Unwinding doesn't fit with either side of the argument. That's the point being made here; not that the system is a satire of pro-life or pro-choice mindsets, but that it exists outside of the two, in some absurd "compromise" that contains all the negative aspects of both arguments, and none of the positive aspects.
The second book finally gives an answer: protesting teens during the war were victimized and all but forced into violence, and the government passed the Unwind Accords in order to have an officially-sanctioned excuse to put them down forever. Which is the real reason why the history classes never teach the Heartland War - otherwise, the kids will be able to protest again, and this time they might be able to pull off a win.
Another example of Fridge Logic: Would Risa have the legal right to refuse a transplant, when a transplant would make her eligible for unwinding? She was a ward of the state, and youths consigned to unwinding are effectively property of the state.
The best answer I can think of is that no one wants to waste time giving her a transplant when it would just mean she would be unwound afterwards. It's like curing a criminal's cancer right before their execution.
Ward of the State or no, Risa is almost an adult. Even though she's technically a minor, her rights and opinions still matter to the doctors. Like if a teenage christian scientist came into the ER and didn't want treatment the doctors would be obligated to listen to them.
Jerkass Woobie: Roland is a manipulator, a bully, and all-around bad news. He's also a kid whose mother consigned him to unwinding for beating up the stepfather who was abusing her. And it's impossible not to feel for him in his last scene, as he's unwound.
Magnificent Bastard: Roland beyond qualifies for this, with his scheming and manipulating the social mechanics of the group to his benefit.
Specifically, the chapter in which we learn exactly what the process is like is told in a third person limited from from the perspective of Roland. And he's completely conscious while this happens, and is still alive until his entire brain is picked apart. Possibly after that, in fact.
The entire premise; especially the idea that your parents can sign your life away to the government, and nothing can take it back. Your parents sign your death warrant knowingly and willfully. And it's completely legal and accepted.
Tyler begging his parents not to have him unwound.
Paranoia Fuel: Clappers. They could be anyone, anywhere, and the only difference is that their blood is volatile, so they explode if they clap hard enough. (Hence their name)