The Unwanteds series by Lisa McMann is one of the best series I’ve ever read. It is a combination of action, adventure and fantasy, all set in a dystopian society.
In a place of order, logic and rational thinking, there is no room for the arts in the Land of Quill. People who display an aptitude for the arts are “Purged” when they turn 13 by High Priestess Justine. To everyone living in Quill, including our main character, Alex, and his twin, Aeron, being Purged is a one way ticket to the Death Farm (I’ll let you guess what happens there). However, when Alex is Purged for being caught drawing in the dirt with a stick, he discovers what really happens…All I’m going to say is this is a magical land that would make J.K. Rowling jealous.
Apart from its captivating plot, The Unwanteds has characters that will have you rooting for them to the very end. Mr. Today, the mentor, is delightfully eccentric and has a heart of gold. Alex is an insecure but brave and kind-hearted hero who will have you on the edge of your seat. Lani is a stubborn, independent, courageous heroine whose heart is in the right place but can appear somewhat mean at times. Her character transformation is interesting and beautifully written. Samhede is the hothead who is hiding a lot of hurt behind a layer of biting sarcasm. Meghan is the kind, motherly figure who just wants to keep her friends safe.
Can these heroes save their world? Can they free the others from the tyranny of the high priestess? What’s beyond their little island at war? We’ll have to wait for the next book to find out.
Book cover from Barnes and Noble