Thursday, January 16, 2014

The Unwanteds

The Unwanteds
by Lisa McMann
Aladdin, 2011     390 pgs     Grades 5-8
Fantasy, Adventure

Its Purge Day in the drab, mythical land of Quill.  As expected, Alex is deemed "Unwanted", while his twin brother becomes a covenanted "Wanted".  Expecting extermination, Alex and his fellow rejects are transported to a beautiful land where creativity and humor are valued and encouraged and mythical creatures co-exist with humans. After a certain degree of creative readiness is reached, Alex and the new recruits begin to learn magic as a weapon to fight the land of Quill if a battle was ever to commence.  Alex, himself, sets off a chain of events leading to a great war encompassing all the players on both sides.  Alex must not only battle the hard-nosed Quills, but face off against his twin, along with other families with members on the opposite sides of the conflict.  The battle concludes, leaving room for a sequel (Island of Silence, 2012 & Island of Fire, 2013)  and a hint of romance to come.

The Unwanteds is what I classify as "Smart Kid Fiction".  There are many characters to keep straight and the plot is advanced.  I feel that the book would appeal to boys more than girls, but certainly not exclusively.  Although it is a fantasy, it has a hint of dystopian fiction to it and the broken machinery in Quill lead us to believe it is set in the future, albeit a future with magic.  The battling magical creatures feel like The Lion, The Witch and the Wardrobe and the book would appeal to Percy Jackson fans.  The Unwanteds has a great concept and is not your typical fantasy.  It does get a little intense at times and is completely lacking in humor, although some kids might not find that a bad thing.

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