The Unwanteds by Lisa McMann – Dystopian Books Review

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Review, Synopsis, and Summary of the Novel The Unwanteds

The Unwanteds is a fascinating middle-grade dystopian novel from Lisa McMann that is set in the land of Quill. It divides all the thirteen years old into categories of Wanted and Unwanted. Wanted ones who are strong and intelligent go to university and the artistic unwanted ones sent to their demises. Known to the people of Quill as Death Farmer.

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Author:  Lisa McMann 

Genre: Dystopian/ Fantasy/ Middle Grade

Goodreads Rating: 4.10 of 5

My Rating: 7 of 10 

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Review and Summary of the Novel The Unwanteds

***Warning Spoilers Below This Point***

Aaron and Alex received their categories as Wanted and Unwanted. Alex was sent to his demise, and he thinks he reached a magical land of Artime, he accepted his fate and start a new life there. He soon learns that the skills considered as a weakness in the Quill can perform magic spells in Artime. Their protector, Mr Today, warns them about the risk to the existence of Artime if the people of Quill discovers about them. 

In the meantime, Aaron studies at Quill University and aims to be the land’s greatest ruler. He and his family seem to have forgotten Alex because they consider Quill’s normal human emotions as a weakness. Also, anyone who mentions the Unwanteds faces severe consequences.

Mr Today suspects that the leaders of the Quill received a hint about the Artime when they visited him to inspect his work. He then warned the Unwanteds to get ready and prepare more magic spells to protect themselves from the Quill’s army. Alex concerned about his twin brother Aaron did not want to fight against him. His friend Lina and Samheed are keen to fight with the people of Quill, particularly their fathers as they disowned them. 

The two lands settled to live in peace, and few families reunited. But some Unwanted reject their families because they disowned them. Mr Today gave Alex authority to punish Aaron, but he allows him to return to Quill.

Final Say on The Novel The Unwanteds

Starting with the positive points, The Unwanteds offers an unquestionably fun book featuring some wonderful characters and an imaginative, magical world. However, there are considerable problems with the structure of the novel.

It offers a good story but there seems a disturbing repetition to emphasise certain plot elements like every scene in Quill had at least one chant of “Quill prevails when the strong survive!” I liked the idea that magic comes from the art, for example, the origami paper dragons that attack and paintbrushes with invisibility spells. Will, I read this story again? Yes, probably after a few years.

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Max Atlas
Max Atlas
I am Max Atlas; my only mission is to raise awareness of Dystopian fiction and share in a collective awakening. Together we will explore not only the best Dystopian Novels ever written but also new and upcoming Authors, giving future greats a platform to share their Dystopian Worlds.