Reading Level: Young Adult/Middle Grade
Size: 464 pages
Release Date: September 3rd, 2013
Stand Alone or Series: 3rd book in the Unwanteds series
Source: eGalley from Edelweiss
Rating: 4/5 stars
This is the third book in the Unwanted series by McMann. McMann has said that she has seven books planned for this series. This was a decent book in the series, the beginning was a bit slow but it picked up pace in the second half of the story. I read this with my six year old and we both enjoyed it. The following contains spoilers from book 2, so just be aware of that before reading on.
This book picks up right where The Island of Silence leaves off. Alex and crew are struggling with Mr. Today’s death and trying to survive on the barren part of the Island that used to be Artime’. Lani and Samheed are still being held captive on Warbler island. Aaron is still doing his best to take over the rule of Quill (the dystopian society that Alex and the other Artimeans were purged from). This book is mainly about the struggle to restore Artime’ to its former glory, rescuing Lani and Samheed from Warbler Island, and discovering a new Pirate Island.
This book was engaging and easy to read. There are lots of wonderful characters here as well.
Alex plays the lead role throughout the book as he struggles to restore Artime and take over Mr. Today’s role as head mage. He struggles a lot with the responsibility and the stress of it. He also struggles a lot with confidence, as the book continues he grows into his responsibilities and learns it’s okay to believe in himself and to accept help from his friends as well.
The other two characters that play very large roles in the story are Simber and Sky. Sky is the silent girl that was introduced in Island of Silence. She is smart, supportive, and an excellent compliment to all of the stress that Alex is dealing with. We also see a lot of Samheed and Lani as they fight to adapt to their situation as captives on Warbler Island.
As you can probably tell from the above, this book is told from a couple points of view. Mostly we hear from Alex and then from Samheed/Lani. We also hear some from Aaron in Quill and from the leader of Warbler Island.
The first part of the book is a bit frustrating and slow. Alex and his friends just spend so much time struggling to restore Artime’ that their frustration is really contagious. I just wanted them to figure it out so bad! Things pick up mid way through the book though as Alex and crew set out to rescue Samheed and Lani and discover a fourth new island that holds a lot of surprises for them.
The world increases quite a bit in complexity in this book, we learn a lot more about the other islands. The characters also begin to speculate about how they actually got on the island. I am very intrigued to see how all of these books end up tying together.
As I mentioned above I read this with my six year old son. Everything in this book was pretty kid safe. This book does have a bit more about who is falling in love with who, there are also a couple kissing scenes. My son found these boring and thought the fact that Alex kissed a girl was yucky. Still the relationships portrayed are healthy and sweet, so I didn’t mind this being my son’s first foray into reading a book about boys and girls liking each other 🙂
The book ends on an absolutely horrible cliffhanger, which kind of sucks. The main goal of this book is wrapped up nicely though, it’s just that McMann sets up the storyline and problem for the next book and totally leaves the reader hanging.
Overall this was a good continuation of this series. The characters are engaging and interesting, the world is intricate and creative as well. I thought the beginning of the book was a bit slow, but things picked up pace towards the end. I am intrigued to see what happens next. This whole series is recommended to fans of middle grade fantasy; although this book does have a bit of a dystopian flavor to it as well.