The story is an enjoyable dystopian fantasy centering around the city of Quill and the hidden magical city of Artimé. In the city of Quill, every year the thirteen-year-olds are sorted into categories: the Wanteds – the strong, intelligent children that attend the University; the Necessary – the children who do manual labor; and the Unwanteds – the artistic, creative children who are sent to the “Death Farm”. Alex and Aaron Stowe are twins who are separated into different categories. Alex is sorted into the Unwanteds and is sent to the death farm, while Aaron is sorted into the Wanteds and will stay in Quill.
When Alex and the other Unwanteds arrive at the Death Farm they find a secret world known as Artimé. Artimé, governed by Mr. Marcus Today, a magician, is a magical world filled with magical creatures. Just a few of the amazing creatures found here include animated origami dragons; giant talking tortoises; talking blackboards; intelligent statues; and a winged cheetah named Simber. Each student in Artimé is taught to use their individual creative abilities magically, weaving spells through paintbrushes and musical instruments. There is a struggle between Alex and Aaron, in which Alex wants Aaron to come to his world and leave Quill.
The future of Artimé is threatened and eventually there is a showdown between the magical weapons of Artimé and the military strength of Quill, with the brothers divided. The ending leads into a future sequel to continue the saga. Readers who enjoyed reading Harry Potter and the Hunger Games will enjoy this story and look forward to continuing sequels.
The recommended reading age level is grades 4th through 7th.
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