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Archive Book Review: The Unwanteds Series


Archive Book Review: The Unwanteds Series

This series easily finds its place among my all time favorites

Book Review Date: December 30th, 2012

Cover Copy

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 graves.

On the day of the Purge, identical twins Alex and Aaron Stowe await their fate. While Aaron is hopeful of becoming a Wanted, Alex knows his chances are slim. He’s been caught drawing with a stick in the dirt — and in the stark gray land of Quill, being creative is a death sentence.

But when Alex and the other Unwanteds face the Eliminators, they discover an eccentric magician named Mr. today and his hidden world that exists to save the condemned children. Atimé is a colorful place of talking statues, uncommon creatures, and artistic magic, where creativity is considered a gift… and a weapon.

The Unwanteds


Honestly, when it comes to middle grade books, one of the biggest things for me is when I’m in the middle of reading it, if I involuntarily begin to imagine myself reading it to my children, then I love it. And that’s what happened here. These are relatively easy reads, full of magic and imagination. When I wasn’t reading it, I was thinking about it. Another good sign. I thought about how I would totally have been “eliminated” early in life because I’m pretty much unable to contain my creativity. I also thought about how terrible the world would be without creative, imaginative people, and that I’m so happy I am one.

My initial choice to pick up the first book was based on the beautiful cover and intriguing title, but also the quote on the front that advertised it as “The Hunger Games Meets Harry Potter” …and while I was skeptical of this assessment upon reading the first few chapters, I have to say, by the end, I think it was an apt comparison. Soon, though, I was no longer comparing this or the subsequent books to anything. These stories stood on their own. I was simply enjoying the story as it continued to unfold and twist and grow. I loved these characters and this world, and quickly devoured each title as it was released. Every story has progressed with twists I did not expect, natural and believable added world building, and fantastic storytelling, not to mention some incredibly adept character arcs. This series easily finds its place among my all time favorites, and will definitely be one I will recommend to (aka badger until they give in) my daughters to read when they’re old enough!

The Unwanteds

First Line

There was a hint of wind coming over the top of the stone walls and through the barbed-wire sky on the day Alexander Stowe was to be Purged.

Favorite Lines (Book 1 Only)

  • …Quill was a serious place, and it was doubtful that any of [them] even thought a joke possible.
  • For a child of Quill, who might have been sent to his death for merely drawing something completely ordinary with a twig in the dirt — like a square, perhaps, or, good heavens, a rhombus...
  • Lani startled and nearly screamed, because it is one thing to see a magical creature when in the company of others, and quite another thing entirely to have one nearly upon you when you’re alone.
  • once you know it’s okay to — you know — feel something, all the feelings get stronger.
  • It made no sense to her at all. And she absolutely loved it.
  • …writing led to creativity, and creativity led to revolt…
  • …the stage was crawling with thirteen-year-olds taking swipes and cuffing one another. The voices joined in crescendo, and the volume grew to such riotous proportions that the poor little instructor … had to resort to standing on a chair and reciting a magical soliloquy so deathly boring that it not only sucked all the energy from the room, causing the students to fall limply on the stage, but it also put some of the smaller ones like Lani into a deep sleep.
  • …without knowledge that life can be different, there can be no desire to change it.
  • …I cannot express how urgent it is that you get over your fear. Because one day, I expect sooner rather than later, you will have to fight.
  • Fear is a difficult thing to unlearn.
  • Still melancholy, but such is the life of a painter.
  • …we don’t punish bad ideas, or thoughts, or intentions.{paraphrased}
  • Dreams … Grounds for dismissal and death.
  • Well, I’d hate to have you go off to battle and get killed without me at least doing one decent thing for you. You know. Karma.
  • …and the dreaded Shakespearian theater curse from those who had no qualms about inflicting mortal fencing wounds on their enemies.
  • Things weren’t perfect, and they never would be … At least for now, things were good.

Last Word

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Reader, Author, Bookstagrammer, and Mom; Alexis runs Nerdy Post, a fandom artwork box as well as serves as chief editor and writer on Drop and Give me Nerdy.

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