Every year in Quill, thirteen-year-olds are sorted into categories: the strong, intelligent Wanteds go to university, and the artistic Unwanteds are sent to their deaths.
Thirteen-year-old Alex tries his hardest to be stoic when his fate is announced as Unwanted, even while leaving behind his twin, Aaron, a Wanted. Upon arrival at the destination where he expected to be eliminated, however, Alex discovers a stunning secretbehind the mirage of the “death farm” there is instead a place called Artime.
In Artime, each child is taught to cultivate their creative abilities and learn how to use them magically, weaving spells through paintbrushes and musical instruments. Everything Alex has ever known changes before his eyes, and it’s a wondrous transformation.
But it’s a rare, unique occurrence for twins to be separated between Wanted and Unwanted, and as Alex and Aaron’s bond stretches across their separation, a threat arises for the survival of Artime that will pit brother against brother in an ultimate, magical battle.
Why I recommend it: Just like how this book was and is being marketed if you’ve enjoyed Harry Potter*, you will enjoy The Unwanteds as well. There is magic, a secret place for kids with artistic talents to grow and mature in their skills while learning the magical application of those skills. Then you have the evil priestess who would stop at nothing to keep a strong hold over her people.
As an avid fantasy reader I was surprised to realize that the world of Artime didn’t impact me much. Instead it was the characters in the book. More specifically the secondary characters. For example Samheed and Lani. How they carried their past, struggled with it and grew from it. Also there was something about their temper that stuck with me. (I wish I can say more but it will spoil the book for you).
Now even though the magical world didn’t do it for me, the concept behind the magic however was brilliant. Who knew you could draw magic from paint and a paint brush and wield it against an enemy? Or bring paper clips to life long enough to harm your enemy? Or better make origami characters and bring them to life to serve a purpose?
There is a lot more to fall in love with in this book which is why despite having some issues with it I still can’t wait to read book 2 (which I just got from the library).
*I still don’t get why the mention of The Hunger Games (on the cover). This book had nothing major in common with The Hunger Games.