11 September 2011
Author: Lisa McMann
Publisher: Aladdin, 390 Pages (August 30th 2011)
From: the Publisher & Amazon Vine, Thank You!
Synopsis: Every year in Quill, thirteen-year-olds are sorted into categories: the strong, intelligent Wanteds go to university, and the artistic Unwanteds are sent to their deaths.
Thirteen-year-old Alex tries his hardest to be stoic when his fate is announced as Unwanted, even while leaving behind his twin, Aaron, a Wanted. Upon arrival at the destination where he expected to be eliminated, however, Alex discovers a stunning secret—behind the mirage of the "death farm" there is instead a place called Artime.
In Artime, each child is taught to cultivate their creative abilities and learn how to use them magically, weaving spells through paintbrushes and musical instruments. Everything Alex has ever known changes before his eyes, and it's a wondrous transformation.
But it's a rare, unique occurence for twins to be separated between Wanted and Unwanted, and as Alex and Aaron's bond stretches across their separation, a threat arises for the survival of Artime that will pit brother against brother in an ultimate, magical battle.
Review: 3 Stars - The Unwanteds by author Lisa McMann is a middle grade book about a society who fears creativity in any way, shape or form. With a controlling government, a drab society and a hidden colorful and magical place where anything is possible, McMann has taken the idea of cutting out all creative programs to new heights.
When the Purge comes, the Unwanteds are cast out and sent to their death. The Wanteds remain behind to learn, follow rules and never step out of line. Alex and his twin Aaron will both face a different fate. One Wanted and one Unwanted.
The story takes place in drab, colorless and more than harsh Quill. Alex and his brother knew the day was coming when they would be separated. Alex, the Unwanted of the two is purged from society and taken away from everything he knows, while Aaron, the Wanted brother stays behind to go to school and learn ways to better Quill and the controlling people in charge. Quill doesn’t sound like a place I’d want to live; I can’t imagine anyone wanting to stay there for long. Barbed wire covering the sky, shared buckets of water for washing… yeah, not fun, no art or being creative in anyway... yeah, no thanks!
So, Alex, on his way to his death gets a shock when he, along with all other Unwanteds from his purge are saved and taken to a colorful, artistic and magical place called Artime. The best part of the story was watching the characters change as they learned that expressing yourself through art isn’t a bad thing and it should be encouraged instead of taken away. Taking a persons creativity away takes away too much of who they are, what they are and what they will become.
The whole idea for the story was great… being punished, taken away and killed because of being creative in any way; I couldn’t wait to read where McMann would take the idea. And yeah, she did run with it. However, I felt it was a tad flat. I didn’t connect with the characters at all. I tried throughout the whole story to find something to grasp onto, but... just couldn’t. And no, I’m not saying this is a bad book in any way, it was a great idea and a pretty entertaining story.
This is my first time reading anything by McMann, and I know it won’t be my last. I have heard nothing but amazing things about her YA series. I look forward to reading more from her in the future.
FTC Disclaimer: I did NOT pay for this book, nor have I been compensated at all in any way or means for reading and writing this HONEST review.