Author: Lisa McMann
Series: 1st in series
Published: August 30, 2011 by Alladin
Source: Galley Grab
Descrption: 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 secret—behind 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 occurence 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.
I Give This ...
I was excited to read this. I've enjoyed Lisa McMann's other books. Plus, this seemed to fit into a genre that I enjoy...middle grade fantasy. I think it's a worthy ready for those who enjoy the category (adults and kids alike). But, I'm not sure it has the power to become the next big thing.
I liked Alex at first, but I had a hard time identify with his need to contact his twin. I got that they were identical twins. And I know that twins have a special bond. But, it bothered me that the separation seemed to bother Alex more than it bothered Aaron. I was strange to watch Alex convince himself that Aaron really wanted and needed to be with him. He completely disregarded what it might do to the people that inhabited Artime.
I did think the idea of Artime was fascinating, but oddly explained. The castle (mansion?) itself seemed really intriguing. But, the descriptions of it seemed unimportant. I loved the idea of taking blackboards, tubes to get you to certain parts of the castle, and instructions tailored to your strong suits. But, the story focuses some much on Alex and his desire to contact Aaron. I feel like so much more could have been done with this story.
So for me this wasn't the next things for middle grade fantasy lovers. I'll keep looking. Although, I'm sure I will read the next one if give then chance. I don't feel the story is completely done yet.