A Lot or a Little?
What you will—and won't—find in this book.
Island of Silence encourages middle-grade kids to think critically about issues including forgiveness and risk (both physical and emotional).
The world would be a better place if everyone would accept everyone else, despite their mistakes. Responsible people may not always be perfect, but they do their best to do what's best for their friends and their world. Creative thinking and cooperation are valuable tools to be cultivated.
Positive Role Models
Main character Alex is full of self-doubt after nearly being destroyed in the battle at the end of The Unwanteds. But with the support of his friends, Mr. Today, and the other Aritme creatures, he rebuilds his strength and steps up to the challenge of leading his people. With his friends, he works unselfishly for the good of the community.
Violence & Scariness
The people of Artime use weapons they create with art-based magic. Most are tormenting (and sometime humorous) spells from which victims can be released from permanent harm. But the Quillens get hold of a weapon and use it lethally. They also have guns and tanks, which they use to threaten, attack, and control. Some characters are hurt by barbed metal necklaces. Some people die.
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Sex, Romance & Nudity
Boys and girls, men and women are friends and equal partners in the society. But burning cheeks and strange feelings suggest to the boy and girl friends that there's more to their relationships. Blushing over the memory of a kiss on the cheek, innocent love notes, and a little hand holding is the extent of it.
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Parents Need to Know
Parents need to know that Island of Silence is the second book in a dystopian fantasy series for middle-graders that began with The Unwanteds. It's packed with action, magic, and excitement, as well as a bit of creepy terror that will keep readers (even reluctant ones) on edge and turning pages. It also serves up deeper messages about honor, honesty, acceptance, cooperation, and the importance of creativity. Blushing over the memory of a kiss on the cheek, innocent love notes, and a little hand holding is the extent of any romance or sexuality.
Is It Any Good?
This second book in the Unwanteds series is even better than the first -- and The Unwanteds was very good. Each well-written, action-packed page is filled with a unique blend of magic, fantasy, and real emotion that makes the story gripping and fun to read. Except for the evil empress Justine, the same main characters from Book 1 have returned, and they've learned a lot. They're even more well-rounded and competent as they struggle not only with bigger issues of fighting the bad guys but also with more ordinary feelings of fitting in, communicating clearly with each other, assuming leadership, and so on.
There are enough spies, counter-spies, selfless heroes, power-hungry challengers, and fantasy creatures to captivate any reader, as well as deeper messages about creativity, conformity, and the individual's place in society. All of this makes Island of Silence an outstanding read.
Did we miss something on diversity?
Research shows a connection between kids' healthy self-esteem and positive portrayals in media. That's why we've added a new "Diverse Representations" section to our reviews that will be rolling out on an ongoing basis. You can help us help kids by suggesting a diversity update.