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The Unwanteds by Lisa McMann

The Unwanteds

by Lisa McMann

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9125514,599 (3.63)11



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Showing 1-5 of 55 (next | show all)
With all the hype this book has received, it was a big disappointment for me. I can see why kids like it. The plot is interesting. In a dystopian society, where kids are not allowed to write, draw or show any kind of creative display at all, there is a Purge Ceremony each year. Creative 13-year-olds are the Unwanteds who are sent away to die, never to be missed by their families. It's morbid in the same way the [b: The Hunger Games|2767052|The Hunger Games (The Hunger Games, #1)|Suzanne Collins|https://images.gr-assets.com/books/1447303603s/2767052.jpg|2792775] is morbid. Then it switches more towards a [b: Harry Potter and the Sorcerer's Stone|3|Harry Potter and the Sorcerer's Stone (Harry Potter, #1)|J.K. Rowling|https://images.gr-assets.com/books/1474154022s/3.jpg|4640799] plot where the kids don't actually die, but are transported to a magical place called Artime, that is colorful, happy and full of kids pursing artistic endeavors. Once they master their art, they learn to take it to the next step using magic.

To create the conflict in the plot, a set of twins have different outcomes. Alex is an Unwanted, who ends up in Artime. His twin, Aaron, is a Wanted who remains in Quill, eager to advance up through the government ranks. No one in Quill knows about Artime or that the Unwanteds actually go to a place that is far superior to Quill. The conflict happens when Alex tries to get his brother into Artime. The plan backfires, because Aaron wants nothing more than to follow the rules and achieve a position of power in Quill. This leads to Artime's existence being revealed to the evil High Priestess, Justine, and war breaks out. It's artillery against magic.

Here's the thing. This book could have been outstanding. It's a great idea. If Lisa McMann, who I've never been impressed with, had given this idea to [a: Suzanne Collins|153394|Suzanne Collins|https://images.gr-assets.com/authors/1394819770p2/153394.jpg] or [a: J.K. Rowling|1077326|J.K. Rowling|https://images.gr-assets.com/authors/1510435123p2/1077326.jpg] to write instead, this series could have been another blockbuster. McMann can not effectively develop characters. She doesn't provide the development that makes their actions believable. Mr. Today comes across as a weak character since he so easily allows a war to unfold. We hardly know anything about Justine and thus can't really hate her. Aaron appears wishy-washy at the end about his loyalty to Quill whereas some parents have a loyalty that will allow them to kill their own children. It's too inconsistent to me.

My star rating is low, not because kids won't like the book, but because when it is analyzed you see an author who got lucky with a great idea, but will never be able to pull it off again. The way you know an author got lucky is that the first book in the series has a lot of reviews and they drop off dramatically with each subsequent book. ( )
  valorrmac | Sep 21, 2018 |
Ugh. Great for youngsters--there will always be books (movies, tv) that are a thrill to a 10 year old but which don't hold up when returned to as an adult--and, like Gilligan's Island, The Bobbsey Twins, and Chitty Chitty Bang Bang, this will be one of them.

As a grown-up, substantially so, I spent most of my time wincing. The tone of the story is the Dursley sequences of Harry Potter--people behaving in an extreme, unbelievable manner--like the worst people in Roald Dahl. In Dahl's hands, it's terrific--but this book seems to want us to take it seriously, and it's hard to when Nobody Would Ever Behave Like That.

Examples: every family member is pleased as punch to be rid of their children, instead of emotionally shattered, people are whisked away to another world (so to speak) and then the whiskerer forgets to explain what's happened (and then explains that he forgets to explain), the entire world is threatened with destruction because people are given the option to shut off the contraption that would warn them, and so on and so forth.

Painful. And then there's the weirdness. I like weird. But it has to come from a sensible place. In this book, much of the cast is made up of talking statues, or two types of animals somehow combined into one (e.g. a llama and an ocelot would become a llamalot), and can speak (or teach art), for no apparent reason at all.

I read it by listening to it via Audible--so it's possible that it's more tolerable in print--but I think it's unlikely. ( )
  ashleytylerjohn | Sep 19, 2018 |
This was very abrupt. Everything happens so fast. There's really no time for processing or world building. Descriptive language is very sparse. Don't get me wrong, it's very enjoyable, I just wish they'd spent more than five seconds on the war the entire book was building towards. ( )
  benuathanasia | Mar 23, 2018 |
This is a fairly easy to read book that is appropriate for younger ages - my 10 year old read it and recommended it to me. It is both dark and fun at the same time; Quill is a very regulated place where emotions and creativity can get you sent off to your supposed death by the age of 13. However, instead of dying, those same creative kids are sent to a fantastic place based in magic and taught that emotions, free will, and creativity are both welcome and necessary parts of life.
  GretchenLynn | Oct 10, 2017 |
I had a difficult time getting into this book. It was chosen for our book club to read. I don't usually read the fantasy genre and the target audience was teens so maybe these were part of the reason I did not find it enthralling. The author does have quite an imagination. I think it just wasn't the book for me. ( )
  Thelmajean | Sep 21, 2017 |
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Book description
In a society that purges thirteen-year-olds who are creative, identical twins Aaron and Alex are separated, one to attend University while the other, supposedly Eliminated, finds himself in a wondrous place where youths hone their abilities and learn magic.
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In a society that purges thirteen-year-olds who are creative, identical twins Aaron and Alex are separated, one to attend University while the other, supposedly Eliminated, finds himself in a wondrous place where youths hone their abilities and learn magic.… (more)

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Lisa McMann is a LibraryThing Author, an author who lists their personal library on LibraryThing.

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Average: (3.63)
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1.5 4
2 17
2.5 4
3 35
3.5 10
4 58
4.5 7
5 31

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