Every year the land of Quill has a ceremony where 13 year old children are deemed to be necessary or Unwanted. Children who are Unwanted are then sent to a death farm where they are obviously put to death. Typically any spark of creativity would cause an infraction which are factored into whether a person is wanted or not. Alex and Aaron Stowe are twins. Alex knows he will be deemed Unwanted and is resigned to his fate. Yet he will discover a truly magical world, as the truth is Unwanteds aren’t put to death, but thrive in a secret land known as Artime.
However, the pivot on which The Unwanteds by Lisa McMann turns is the question of whether Alex will put all of Artime in danger by attempting to contact Aaron. It’s quite thrilling for the reader, as we want to know if he will do the smart thing or do the kid thing and act with no regard to the other people living in Artime. It’s that whole self versus society thing, and it’s awesome.
I thought that The Unwanteds was radically different from Cryer’s Cross, the only other book I’ve read by Lisa McMann. I liked this book much more. While it’s not quite The Hunger Games meets Harry Potter, it is captivating. I think it will work very well for the middle school set. As an adult, though, I couldn’t help but roll my eyes at things like ‘magical warrior training’. I mean, it doesn’t have the same ring to it as Defense Against The Dark Arts.
Yet, I can appreciate the creativity behind imagination-powered magic. I am not above acknowledging that The Unwanteds will absolutely have an audience with actual children, but it is a poor substitute for Harry Potter. Yet, I think that’s more a marketing fail than a book fail.
The narrator of The Unwanteds audiobook is Simon Jones. He definitely shows that there is an art to perfectly narrating an audiobook. It is more than just reading words on the page. There’s definitely a storyteller element. I think that Jones exemplifies this, as I thought his narration was spellbinding. He used different voices for different characters and was able to create an overall level of excitement and tension with the varied pacing of his voice. I found that thanks to Jones’ narration, the 7 hours and 20 minutes of this audiobook produced by Simon Audio flew by.
Disclosure: Audiobook Received For Review.
This is a CYBILS nominated title.
Other Reviews of The Unwanteds by Lisa McMann:
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