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The characters of the Unwind Dystology:

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    The Main Three 

Connor Lassiter

"Yes, it is an answer. Maybe it's the best answer of all. If more people could admit they really don't know, maybe there never would have been a Heartland War."

One of the three main characters, Connor was signed by his parents to be unwound because of his trouble-making nature. He plans to runaway with his friend and crush Ariana, but she backs out at the last second. Connor gets caught, but manages to escape and meets Risa while rescuing Lev.

  • Anti-Hero -> The Hero
  • The Beard/Undercover as Lovers: Connor and Risa pretend to be in a relationship during most of the story so they won't get separated.
  • Berserk Button
  • Book Dumb: The natural result of kicking-AWOL in the tenth grade.
  • Boy Meets Girl: Connor meets Risa.
  • Character Focus
  • Deadpan Snarker
  • Delinquent
  • Doorstop Baby: Connor and Risa take care of one for a while.
  • Eye Scream: Lost his eye - and his arm - during the Clapper incident at the Chop Shop.
  • Famed In-Story: As the Akron AWOL.
  • Foil: First Roland and later Starkey. Both see him as The Rival and share his natural leadership ability, but are more calculated and manipulative in their relationships with others and seek to use their power for their own glory and goals.
  • Green-Eyed Monster: Connor gets worried when he notices Roland repetitively flirts with Risa and helps her out a lot (giving her his food, offering her his blanket) and even questions her about it, the first thing he says being, "You're not actually falling for him, are you?" We all know he's jealous, though.
  • Humble Hero
  • Horrible Judge of Character
  • Hot-Blooded: This trait of his is why the Lassiters signed the order to have Connor unwound. Over time, though, Connor learns to control his temper and it cools down into Tranquil Fury.
  • Ineffectual Loner: Until Risa convinces him that he needs to start playing politics.
  • Jerk with a Heart of Gold: Impulsive and quick-tempered, but ultimately cares about his best friends.
  • Love Hurts: When Ariana backs out at the last second to kick-AWOL with Connor.
  • Love Triangle: A mild, implied one between Connor, Risa, and Ariana. Connor, Risa, and Roland could possibly count too.
  • Meaningful Name: Not his real one, but his Arápache alias translates to "stolen shark."
  • Meet Cute: Meet Risa.
  • Mismatched Eyes: After he loses one in Happy Jack bombing and is given a new eye.
  • My Fist Forgives You: To Lev
  • Morality Chain: Risa seems to be that for Connor.
  • Official Couple: Connor and Risa.
  • The Power of Friendship
  • Red Oni, Blue Oni: The red to Risa's blue, especially early in Unwind.
  • The Rival: Roland.
  • Scars Are Forever: Lost an eye, received scars on his face, and lost an arm from the Clapper incident at the Chop Shop. And the arm he got transplanted with while he was unconscious? ... It was Roland's arm.
  • Second Love: Risa.
  • Slap-Slap-Kiss: Connor and Risa from time to time.
  • Teeth-Clenched Teamwork: With Cam in the last half of UnSouled.
  • Tranquil Fury: When Connor finds Roland cornering Risa in the restroom, Connor acts like nothing is wrong and says that Risa and he broke up. This deflates Roland, who leaves the scene. Connor is secretly furious at Roland for harassing Risa (and holding his temper being perhaps the hardest thing he ever had to do), but followed Risa's previous advise to him to not take any bait that Roland hands him.
  • Troubled, but Cute
  • True Companions: Risa and Lev.
  • Unwanted Rescue: Ironically, Connor is tranquilized by Lev to get him out of the battle because he wants to stay and defend the Graveyard at the end of the second book. At the start of the first book, Lev is rescued from being unwound against his will by Connor.

Risa Megan Ward

"Don't I have a choice in this?

One of the three main characters, Risa is an orphan at Ohio State Home 23, StaHo for short. After making several mistakes during her piano recital, Risa is one of the 5% population of the teenagers there that are going to be unwound to cut the orphanage's costs. She escapes the bus taking her to the Harvest Camp and ends up meeting Connor and Lev.

  • The Beard/Undercover as Lovers: Connor and Risa pretend to be in a relationship during most of the first book so they won't get separated.
  • Big Sister Instinct: Towards Lev while on the run.
  • Big Sister Mentor: Her relationship to many of the younger Whollies.
  • Boy Meets Girl: Connor meets Risa.
  • Brainy Brunette
  • Category Traitor: Subverted. Risa appears to betray her friends and endorse unwinding, but she's only doing it so that the Graveyard won't be raided and all of its resident unwound.
  • Character Focus
  • Disabled Love Interest: Risa's spine gets paralyzed when the Clappers detonate their suicide bombs at the Chop Shop. She refuses to get a spine transplant because this is her choice and she wants to be herself. Also because if she gets a transplant, she'll be immediately unwound. There are laws protecting the disabled from being unwound. Until she's blackmailed into having a spine transplant by Roberta.
  • Doorstop Baby: Connor and Risa take care of one for a while.
  • Famed In-Story: Especially after Proactive Citizenry blackmails her into becoming a postergirl for unwinding.
  • Guile Hero: Tends to work her way out of trouble with quick thinking and trickery,
  • Green-Eyed Monster: When Risa sees Connor drawing Ariana, she gets jealous.
  • Hates Being Touched: Reacts very poorly to be touched by both Connor and Cam, at least at first.
  • I'll Pretend I Didn't Hear That: When Connor suggests Risa is falling for Roland.
  • Hospital Hottie/The Medic: When Risa becomes a medic at the Graveyard.
  • Love Triangle: A mild, implied one between Connor, Risa, and Ariana. Connor, Risa, and Roland could possibly count too.
    • Cam develops feelings for her in UnWholly, creating another love triangle.
  • Meaningful Name: Risa's name is short for "sonrisa," which means "smile" in Spanish.
  • Official Couple: Connor and Risa.
  • Parental Abandonment: She was given to the state home as a baby by her birth mother
  • The Power of Friendship
  • Red Oni, Blue Oni: The blue to Connor's red.
  • The Smart Guy
  • Throwing Off the Disability: Roberta blackmails Risa into agreeing to receive a new spine harvested from an Unwind and promoting the practice of unwinding teenagers. If she doesn't hold up her end of the bargain, then the Juvey-cops will raid the Graveyard.
  • Troubled Backstory Flashback: Particularly in UnSouled.
  • True Companions: Connor and Lev.
  • Women Are Wiser: Although she's able to teach Connor a thing or two by the end.

Levi "Lev" Jedediah Garrity, né Calder

This is what I was born for. It's what I've lived my life for. I am chosen. I am blessed. And I am happy.

One of the three main characters, it was in Lev's religion to become unwound - as he is the "tithe." Along the highway, Lev is kidnapped by Connor as a hostage, but impulsively rescues Lev when he gets tranqed by a bullet meant for Connor.

  • Animal Motifs: We learn in the third book, it's a kinkajou, of all things.
  • Beware the Nice Ones: When Lev becomes a Clapper.
  • Bratty Half-Pint: In the beginning.
  • Character Focus
  • The Chick
  • Creepy Child: Even Risa admits Lev as this because of how must he has changed. See Beware the Nice Ones.
  • Famed In-Story: Becomes the subject of media fascination when he ends up not clapping.
  • Happily Adopted: By the Tashi'ne family.
  • Heel–Face Turn
  • I Just Want to Be Normal: Understandably hits this point by UnSouled.
  • Important Haircut: Inverted. Growing his hair out symbolizes his development into a less complacent, clean-cut person. And then later, played straight when he chops it off at the Tashi'ne home.
  • The Load: At times.
  • Older Than They Look: Obviously, since no one is meant to survive the process of becoming a Clapper long-term, all those chemicals that were put into Lev's body not only damaged his organs enough to render his organs useless for transplantation, but also permanently stunted his growth.
  • Only Sane Man: This is what Lev thinks at first about himself when he is kidnapped by Connor and Risa.
  • Parental Abandonment: Lev's parents refused custody of Lev when offered it by the state following the harvest camp incident. It's all right though because Lev's big brother Marcus, the only person who stood up for him in the beginning of the story is petitioning for guardianship. Which works out pretty well until Marcus is seriously injured in a clapper attack in UnWholly, and Lev's parents still refuse to take him back leaving him alone in the world once again.
  • The Power of Friendship
  • Tagalong Kid: To Connor and Risa, and to Cy.
  • True Companions: Grows to see Connor and Risa as this. And Cy.
  • Unwanted Rescue: Lev is rescued from being tithed, against his will by Connor, to be used as a Human Shield.
  • Walking Disaster Area: To be fair, many of the characters are, but Lev is the one they talk about most.


     The Stork Brigade 

Mason Starkey

Starkey is a stork who is rescued and sent to The Graveyard. He is bitter and angry because storks are treated as second class citizens most of the time. He also feels that Connor isn't doing enough to actually stop unwinding and wants to take things to the street.

"Bam" Bambi

  • Berserk Button: Don't ever call her "Bambi".
  • Brawn Hilda
  • The Dragon: To Starkey
  • Mistreatment-Induced Betrayal: Finally turns on Starkey when he begins leaving her out of his decision making and not telling her things until the last minute.
  • The Starscream: Hayden encourages her to become this. She finally turns on him in Undivided when he agrees to the Clappers' plan to attack a Tithes-only harvest camp and kill everyone inside.


One of Hayden's computer technicians in the Graveyard's communications hub. [[spoiler: He serves as Starkey's spy within the Com Bomb and later becomes the computer expert of the Stork Brigade. Eventually, he begins to have doubts about Startkey's methods and joins Hayden and Bambi in instigating a coup in Undivided.

     Other Unwinds 

Roland Taggart

"Consider yourself lucky."

One of the three Unwinds that Connor and Risa meet when finding shelter with Sonia, Roland was going to be unwound because he beat up his stepfather for beating his mother; his mother took his stepfather's side instead. An intimidating adolescent who is both feared and respected, Roland sees Connor as a threat.

Hayden Upchurch

"Let's take a poll—would you rather die, or be unwound?"

One of the three Unwinds that Connor and Risa meet when finding shelter with Sonia, Hayden came from a wealthy family, but when his parents had a divorce, they fought over the custody of Hayden, leading to an alternative choice - to have Hayden unwound rather than to have one of the parents have Hayden. A bit of a jokester, Hayden befriends Connor.

Hayden briefly takes over the Graveyard after Connor and the others take the Admiral to the hospital. He continues to work at the Graveyard to help Unwinds like himself.

  • The Lancer: To both Connor and Roland.
  • Motor Mouth: He was very talkative during the cargo ride to the Graveyard.
  • Mauve Shirt: Gets less focus than other characters but still plays a major role in the story.
  • Preppy Name: Comes from money, and sounds like it. Upchurch.
  • Sad Clown: Connor thinks his out-there jokes are mostly a way to avoid the reality of his situation.
  • Techno Wizard: Has a group of kids in the ComBom who help help him monitor the Juvies.
  • Troubled Backstory Flashback: At the end of UnWholly.


A tithe born to help her sick brother. She was rescued by the tithe deprogramming group that takes in Levi. She resists the deprogramming, convinced that her purpose was to help others and that the group disrupted that. Eventually, she escapes and goes on the run with Levi, who's tired of the hero worship he's getting in the mansion. After the Juvey Cops' raid on the Graveyard, she returns home and spends the remainder of the series helping AWOL Whollys find safe haven.

  • Beta Couple: Forms one with Lev.
  • Character Focus: She gets several chapters over the course of Unwholly, and the novella Untithed focuses on her adventures following the raid on the Graveyard.
  • Mauve Shirt: Only appears in two books and a novella.
  • Unwanted Rescue: Although it is unclear what Miracolina wanted to be done at the end of the book given that, techinically, her parents never signed the unwind papers, Miracolina is excited to be a tithe, and is very angry at being "rescued" by the Anti-Divisional Resistance.

Zachary "Emby"

"Wait till you're the one who's dying and see how you feel about it!"

One of the boys in the same crate as Connor and Hayden when they're sent to the Graveyard. Nicknamed the Mouth Breather.


"Unwound. I'd rather be unwound."

One of the boys in the same crate as Connor and Hayden when they're sent to the Graveyard. He is the quietest of them.

     The Anit-Divisional Resistance 

Sonia Rheinschild

"Maybe, maybe not. One thing you learn when you've lived as long as I have—people aren't all good, and people aren't all bad. We move in and out of darkness and light all of our lives. Right now, I'm pleased to be in the light."

An elderly woman who shelters Unwinds. She works with Hannah in protecting Unwinds. Nicknamed "Dragon Lady" by Hayden and Mai.

The Admiral/Admiral Dunfee

"I'd like to be the first to welcome you to the Graveyard."

The Admiral is in charge of the Graveyard, where he protects Unwinds until they turn eighteen. Rumors spread that he's only after parts of the Unwinds for himself, but the Admiral is genuine about helping the Unwinds.

Trace Neuhauser

A 23 year old AWOL air force boeuf at the Graveyard who acts as Connor's head of security and strategic adviser. Is later discovered to be working for Proactive Citizenry to spy on the Graveyard, but he still believes in helping the unwinds there and thus doesn't give away the most important information he knows.

  • Double Agent: Admitted to working for Proactive Citizenry, but hasn't told them all of the secrets he knows because he believes in what's being done at the Graveyard. Eventually gives the Whollies his full loyalty after being fired.
  • The Lancer: To Connor at the Graveyard.
  • Reverse Mole: Doesn't reveal Proactive Citizenry's secrets, but he withholds the Graveyard's secrets to keep them off Connor's back.
  • The Mole: Proactive Citizenry's spy in the Graveyard.
  • Token Adult: Other than the team in charge of running the office that serves as a front for the Unwind rescue operations, he is the only adult who works directly with the resident teenagers.
  • Killed Off for Real: Starkey leaves him to drown when their plane crashes at the end of Unwholly



"We get sent to the harvest camp and they cut us apart, that's what happens next."

One of the three Unwinds that Connor and Risa meet while finding shelter with Sonia, Mai was going to be unwound because her parents tried to have a boy and instead had another girl for the fourth time.

Mai becomes a Clapper after the death of her boyfriend Vincent and kills herself when she activates her detonator.


  • Dark Messiah: Trains angry kids to become clappers by seducing them with the idea of being a powerful, chaotic force of nature.
  • Dies Wide Open: After being beaten to death by the mob.
  • We Hardly Knew Ye: Killed off by a frantic mob a few chapters after being introduced. Aside from a few scenes we learn almost nothing about him.

    Proactive Citizenry 

Camus 'Cam' Composite-Prime/Comprix

The first teen built entirely of the parts of other unwinds, specifically the best and the brightest parts of each one used. He's constantly struggling with the memories of the other kids that he carries in the various parts of his mind. Has a crush on Risa because one of the kids he was made from knew her from the state home.

  • Artificial Human: Made up of unwound parts, and is dubbed a "rewind."
  • Beta Couple: Forms one with Una over the course of the second half of the series.
  • Big Brother Mentor: Fills this role towards the other Rewinds in the novella Rewinds.
  • Character Focus
  • Frankenstein's Monster: Initially feels this way about himself and wrestles with the question of his own identity throughout the series.
  • Instant Expert: Averted. He may have all the best skills of his former parts, but he has to re-learn motor skills and how to talk like a normal person (for instance, instead of saying "Stop!" he says, "Red light! Brick wall!"; and to express anger for the first time he says "Bull seeing red!")
  • Insufferable Genius: Due to the extensive crystallized intelligence that came "pre-programmed" and high liquid intelligence making him an extremely fast learner.
    “The fact that I’m physically, intellectually, and creatively better than you is not arrogance or conceit; it’s a simple fact,” Cam says with forced calm. “I’m the better man because I was made to be. I can’t help what I have any more than you can help what you don’t.”
  • "It" Is Dehumanizing: Hates begin referred to as a thing.
  • Laser-Guided Amnesia: His memories of Risa are erased in Undivided.
  • Living Lie Detector: One of his component unwinds was, and the skill made it down to Cam.
  • Meaningful Name: After French philosopher Albert Camus.
  • Nightmare Face: He's very attractive looking, but his patchwork skin makes people more than a little unsettled.
  • Omniglot: Knows nine languages off the bat.
  • Photographic Memory
  • Smite Me, O Mighty Smiter!: During a brief stint of questioning himself. He gets better.
  • Spare Body Parts: It is joked that Cam has three sets of genitals.
  • Teeth-Clenched Teamwork: With Connor in the last half of UnSouled.
  • Turned Against Their Masters: Decides that to win Risa's heart, he needs to take down Proactive Citizenry.
  • What Measure Is a Non-Human?
  • Yandere: For Risa at the end of UnWholly. "And then she'd have to love him" Indeed.


The head of the project that built Cam. She also blackmails Risa into getting a spine transplant and doing ads supporting unwinding.


     The Black Market 

J.T. Nelson

The juvey cop turned parts pirate whom Connor tranq'd in the first book. Nelson wants revenge because he was left a laughingstock by the incident. Now he kidnaps and turns over runaway AWOLS and won't stop looking for Connor.

  • Character Focus: He and Starkey are two of the major villains to be given POV chapters. One of the short stories in Unbound details the events of his childhood that led to him becoming a Juvey Cop.
  • Chekhov's Gunman: First introduced during Connor and Risa's escape.
  • Dirty Cop: Before becoming a parts pirate.
  • It's Personal: He blames Connor for ruining his life and has a personal vendetta against him as a result.
  • Jerkass: Betrays his partner and leaves him to suffer a horrible fate, tries to burn down a store filled with AWOLs, kidnaps children to kill them and sell their organs, yeah, this guy is a major dick.
    • When he is unwound without anesthetic in Undivided, the computer program lampshades it by calling him "Jerkass Dirtbag" instead of his real name.
  • Kick the Dog: [[spoiler: Hands Argent over to Divan at the beginning of Undivided in exchange for the undamaged half of Argent's face.
  • Mismatched Eyes: Of the Red Right Hand variation, since they come from his obsession with replacing his eyes with those of the AWOL unwinds he catches to find the ones that "complete" him.
  • Politically Incorrect Villain: Calls Native Americans ("People of Chance") slotmongers.
  • Those Two Bad Guys: With Argent.
  • Villain Episode: The short story Unschooled depicts the events that lead to him becoming a Juvey cop.

Divan Umarov

Nelson's primary contact and head of his own black market parts pirates ring. He prides himself on being more humane than the infamous brutality of the Burmese Dah Zhe. He runs his operations from aboard his private cargo plane, the Lady Lucrezia while his sister Dagmara manages their ground operations.
  • Affably Evil: Acts like a very nice man to his soon to be victims, treating them like guests, stands by them as they are unwound acting as a father figure to them, lets them pick what music they would like to listen to as they are unwound, ETC.
  • Cain And Able: Kills his sister after her attempt to take control of their operations in the final segment of Unbound.
  • Cool Plane: The Lady Lucrezia.
  • Entertainingly Wrong: When he sees Connor alive on television after Undivided, he's convinced that he's an impostor.
  • Even Evil Has Standards: He refuses to have anything to do with the Dah Zhe because he finds their methods (ranging from unwinding without anesthesia over the course of days to horrific experimentation) brutal and barbaric.
  • Faux Affably Evil: Played with. His Affably Evil traits are genuine, they just don't extend to his nephew Malik.
  • Villain: Exit, Stage Left: After the events of Unknown Quantity, he decides to retire and sail the Mediterranean.
  • Would Hurt a Child: Makes his money by dissecting teenagers and selling their organs on the black market. Has his nephew Malik unwound at the end of the novella Unknown Quantity.

     Other Characters 


"Sure. Sure I do. I could leave here. If you asked me."

Connor's friend and crush in the beginning of the novel. Connor and Ariana planned to kick-AWOL together, but Ariana backs out at the last second because of she is the maid of honor at her sister's wedding and because of school.


"Hi, you must be new! I'm Alexis, and this is Chase."

A girl who Connor and Risa meet on a school bus. She has a baby son named Chase.

Hannah Steinburg

"Don't tell me your names. Don't tell me anything, so if they question me afterward, I won't be lying when I say I don't know."

A teacher who helps Connor and Risa escape the school and find shelter with Sonia, who shelters Unwinds. Hannah volunteers to take in the baby that Connor and Risa were briefly caring for.

Cyrus "CyFi" Finch

"Ain't no one gonna tell you what's in your heart. You gotta find that out for yourself."

A young Umber who Lev accompanies to Joplin after Lev betrays Connor and Risa, Cy is friendly and optimistic.

It is later revealed that when he had surgery and received a 1/8 lobe of a brain from an Unwind, that Unwind - named Tyler - still believes he is alive and at times takes control over Cy's body to steal. Cyrus is going to Joplin for the sake of Tyler, and they both (sort of) reconcile with their respective parents.

Argent Skinner

  • Big Brother Bully: While Grace is older in age, her developmental disability leaves him as the one with the authority and power, which he uses to abuse her.
  • The Dog Bites Back: Has Nelson unwound in retaliation for being sold to Divan and taking his face.
  • Heel–Face Revolving Door: Aids Nelson's hunt for Connor, then helps switch his parts after Divan unwinds him so he can be put back together again, and then goes back to being Divan's valet.
  • Heel–Face Turn: And all it took was a wink from Connor.
  • Loony Fan: Of the Akron AWOL.
  • Lower-Class Lout: His best job is as a grocery cashier.
  • Psycho Supporter: His infatuation with Connor leads Argent to kidnap him and hold him prisoner. He even wants to give Connor cosmetic surgery so that they look more alike.
  • Scars Are Forever: They aren't, but he can't afford treatment.
  • Troubled Abuser: He was a victim of their father's cruelty, just like Grace.

Grace Skinner

Janson Rheinschild

The creator of the technology that made unwinding possible. He also founded Proactive Citizenry to supervise use of his advancements to prevent abuse.

  • Death by Despair: The combination of being erased from history by Proactive Citizenry and Austin's unwinding cause him to suffer a heart attack.
  • I Let Gwen Stacy Die: He let someone be unwound. It's Austin.
  • Married to the Job
  • My Greatest Failure: His medical technology is responsible for the institution of unwinding itself.
  • Parental Substitute: To Austin, a feral teenager who he takes in and offers a job.
  • Un-person: Erased from history by Proactive Citizenry in order to keep the system of Unwinding going.


An ex-feral teen that Janson takes on to help with his research.

  • Delinquents: Until Janson offers him a job and gets him off of the streets.
  • Fingore: Lost two fingers on one hand to frostbite.


Wil's fiance. She spends much of Unsouled mourning her fiance's death, until the arrival of Camus Comprix forces her to confront the tragedy of Wil's demise.

Example of: