The Unwanteds (by Lisa McMann): a book review

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by Tim Burdick on 18 February, 2016

On the book cover, one reviewer describe it as ---

Harry Potter meets Hunger Games.

And all I can say is--- Auugggh!

So, when I read this book, I found references to 1984, A Wrinkle in Time, Narnia chronicles, and Divergent. Please remember if you visit the world of Quill, try to see it with open eyes.


Unwanted children are marked for death in the lake of oil. But, once they arrive and the gates close, a mysterious Mr. Today reveals a magical jungle world of Artemis where creative people hide and develop their artistic skills: singing, art, photography, acting, writing and more. But they fear the high priestess Justine and the Eliminators will discover them one day.

The hero who failed: Our hero Alex (an unwanted) worries about his twin brother Aaron (wanted) and hopes to return to their horrible world of Quill. In his attempts to rescue his brother, Alex unravels the delicate peace between the two worlds.

The Villian who wasn’t there: The high priestess, Justine, is the ruler of Quill. A power hungry ruler who fears that she will lose control of militaristic society to outsiders. But, with only a few scenes, she is a character that you only hear about rather than meet. She instills the ideas of a caste system (wanteds, unwanteds, and necessaries) into her people. Even after the worlds collide, these two different society’s thinking doesn’t change overnight.

Ignore the similarities to your favorite teen fantasy novel and decide if you connect with the characters or not. Me, I am now excited for Artemis, and nervous about the Unwanteds’ futures. Who will win or lose? Who will love and who will die?

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