Publisher: Simon & Schuster
Release Date: August 30, 2011
Source of my copy: publisher
Series: #1 book in The Unwanteds series
Synopsis (from Goodreads)
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.
My sister and I were really excited when we heard about The Unwanteds and given the a opportunity to review it and be part of the blog tour. We've heard great things about Lisa McMann and her Dream Catcher series (which we have all three books waiting on our shelf). I'm glad to finally have read a book by her. I have pretty high hopes and expectations for The Unwanteds and I am happy to say they were very well met and now I am excited to read more books by Ms. McMann.
This book is a mix of both fantasy and dystopian which I thought was quite interesting and unique. I really liked the storyline--it was exciting, unpredictable and fantastic. The rising action of the plot was great because it kept me interested. It was well paced and I was able to read it steadily without feeling bored or in a rush to read it, which made it all the more enjoyable for me. Throughout the book I marveled at the fantastical dystopian world, Artime. It was so amazing that I wanted to live there! I thought the world-building throughout the story was great albeit a bit confusing at times. There was a lot to take in when the story first began but that's probably just me because I can get easily confused when I begin reading a new book.
As for the characters, I liked how each character of the four friends--Alex, Lani, Meghan and Samheed--had their own special talent and ability. However, I wish that they have had been more distinctive from each other. The protagonists didn't seem to stand out to me as individuals and, therefore, I couldn't connect or care about with any of them like I should. The ones that did stand out were the antagonists but that may be because they were the bad guys so their actions were different from Alex, Lani, Meghan and Samheed. I do have high hopes that the characters will be better developed throughout the course of the series and I'm excited to read and learn more about them in the books to come.
Overall, The Unwanteds was a terrific fantasy/dystopian middle grade novel that can be enjoyed by everyone [middle grade, young adult and adult readers] who loves to read books set in magical fantasy worlds where magic and creativity blossom in every person, creature and thing. For the book being almost 400 pages, it was surprisingly a quick read for me. I am looking forward to reading the sequel.