Thursday, January 15

The Unwanteds

The Unwanteds
(The Unwanteds #1)
Lisa McMann

My rating: ★★★

ISBN: 978-1442407695
Publisher: Aladdin
Date of publication: August 30, 2011
Age: Grades 4 - 8
Genre: Fantasy, Dystopian

Themes: good vs. evil, creativity, fear, twins, control

Every year, Quill has a purge of 13-year-olds: the stoic and intelligent, like Aaron, are Wanted and sent to the university. The creative with an infraction too manymany, like Aaron's twin brother Alex, are Unwanted and sent to be eliminated. But Alex is shocked to discover that, instead of death by boiling hot oil, he is welcomed to the secret land of Artime, where the Unwanted train their creative magical powers. But will the bond between twins be too strong, revealing the secret of Artime to the destructive society of Quill?

This book had a lot going for it. But perhaps, that is what turned out to prevent it from being amazing. The overall concept takes place in a dystopian society but the one twin gets sent to train his magic. Enter in one wise, old mage and an epic battle of good verses evil. It didn't really shine in one aspect, just taking on a lot of aspects at once. It's still good, just not great.

There are a lot of characters, including some pretty random magical creatures (Ms. Octavia: half croc, half octopus). Alex was pretty good, facing some hard times and good times. Aaron may have been a bit confusing for me because I never really got a good grasp on why he does what he does. Then, there's the magic. The magic in this book has no real parameters; any creative action a character does can be turned into some magical action.

The writing? Well, the narration jumps from different characters suddenly, even on the same page, which makes it unimpressive. But I really did enjoy how McMann addresses fear and why a person would want to control a society. She did get me thinking in that sense. So overall recommendation? Up to you. I think kids could find it really exciting and enjoyable.

Find it at your library or on Amazon

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