Book Review: The Unwanteds

The Unwanteds, by Lisa McMann

Quill is a dystopian city where thirteen-year-olds are sorted into three society levels: Wanteds, Necessaries, and Unwanteds. The Unwanteds are sent away to be killed, along with those who outlive their usefulness. Alex is prepared for his Unwanted status, while his twin Aaron is named a Wanted. But when Alex arrives at the death farm, he is introduced to a whole new world of magic, imagination, and everything that was never allowed in Quill.

The Unwanteds is an incredibly creative and inspired idea. What makes the kids unwanted in Quill is exactly what makes them most useful and wanted in Artime. The young teens use their talents from music, drama and art and create magic with them. And ultimately must use this magic to defend themselves from an impending attack from Quill. McMann’s characters are dramatic and colorful. The plot and characters hold so much promise that it’s easy to get carried away in the story.

With magic, mystery, and plenty of heart – this fantasy for young adults is fun and engaging. Blending futuristic dystopian scifi with Harry Potter-like fantasy, two worlds collide in a fantastic way. Events culminate to a big showdown, with a few surprises and some heartbreak. While the novel works well as a standalone, there seems to be more story left to tell, and I hope for a sequel.

The Unwanteds releases from Aladdin Books on August 30, 2011.

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