Wednesday, May 8, 2013

Island of Silence by Lisa McMann [Review]

Island of Silence (Unwanteds, #2)4 out of 5 Robots!
   

Island of Silence by Lisa McMann
Series: The Unwanteds #2
Genre: Middle Grade Fantasy
Release: September 4, 2012
Hardcover: 416 Pages
Publisher: Aladdin
My Copy: Purchased
Reviewer: Shannon
Buy the Book: Amazon

Book Summary:
Second book in the phenomenal middle grade dystopian fantasy series, Unwanteds by New York Times bestselling author Lisa McMann.

The battle is over. The magical barrier between the dreary land of Quill and the fantastical world of Artimé is gone. Now residents of both places are free to mingle, but tensions are high. The artistic warriors of Artimé struggle to forgive those in Quill who condemned them to death, while the Quillens attempt to recover from the shock of Artime’s existence, the loss of their leader, and the total collapse of their safe, orderly world.

14-year-old Alex Stowe has recovered from his physical wounds since his death-defying role in Artime’s victory, but his confidence is shattered. He battles self-doubt after Artimé’s beloved mage, Mr. Today, makes a stunning request, which is further complicated by the mysterious arrival of two silent, orange-eyed teenagers.

Meanwhile in Quill, Aaron is devastated by his fall from grace and seething with anger toward his twin brother Alex. Spurred by rage, Aaron recruits a team of Restorers and devises a masterful plan of revenge that will return him to power…if no one gets in his way.

Bestselling author Lisa McMann delivers another trademark page-turner in this second book of The Unwanteds series, as Alex and Aaron's parallel stories ultimately come together for a shocking climax that will leave readers desperate for more.
(Courtesy of the Publisher)
 
Shannon's Thoughts:
Island of Silence is the sequel to the Middle Grade fantasy novel, The Unwanteds.  It picks up shortly after the events of first novel.  (Quick recap of the first novel: In militaristic Quill, children are placed into one of three categories: Wanteds who run everything, Necessaries who do the grunt work for the Wanteds, and Unwanteds who are sent to their death.  Only it turns out that the Unwanteds are actually secretly sent to Artime, a magical place ran by Mr. Today.  The citizens of Quill have no idea that Artime and magic exist.  The first novel centers on twins Aaron, a Wanted and Alex, an Unwanted.  Artime is discovered and a huge battle ensues).  

But now the battle is over, Artime is exposed and the gate is open.  Quill is recovering from the loss of High Priestess Justine and the knowledge of what really happens to the Unwanteds.  The world order has been shaken up.  Aaron has lost his privileged place in Quill society and grows angrier and angrier.  Alex is approached by Mr. Today to become his successor.  Meanwhile, Necessaries flood into Artime to escape their indentured lifestyles, leaving the Wanteds in Quill to fend for themselves. Aaron begins to hatch a revenge plot that spawns several horrible events.   In additional, two mute children show up in Artime wearing strange thorn collars and Alex’s friends go missing.

The first half of Island of Silence is a bit slow.  Alex struggles with his confidence and deals with jealousy from his friend, Lani.  Nothing much happens as they try to help the Necessaries adapt and continue their magical studies.  But after the two kids wash up shore, the book starts to pick up speed and by the ending, things are kicked into high gear.  I am, once again, impressed with Lisa McMann’s decisions to “go there”.  She doesn’t hold back a lot and there are some truly disturbing scenes (such as the Island of Silence - shudder).  As an adult reading a middle grade book - I loved the darker elements.  There are some catastrophic events and the ending leaves a lot of questions.  So be prepared.  Overall, I think this is a good series and perfect for younger Harry Potter fans.  It definitely has a bit of a Harry Potter feel to it. 


Books in the series in the order they should be read:
1. The Unwanteds
2. Island of Silence
3. Island of Fire (expected publication September 2013)

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