Island of Silence: The Unwanteds, Book 2

Book review by
Patricia Tauzer, Common Sense Media
Island of Silence: The Unwanteds, Book 2 Book Poster Image
Spellbinding second adventure even better than first.

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Kids say

age 11+
Based on 4 reviews

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The parents' guide to what's in this book.

Educational Value

Island of Silence encourages middle-grade kids to think critically about issues including forgiveness and risk (both physical and emotional).


Positive Messages

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 & Representations

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.


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.


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. 

Drinking, Drugs & Smoking

What 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. 

User Reviews

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Kid, 12 years old April 26, 2021
Teen, 13 years old Written byThalia Grace November 11, 2020

Love it!!

I actually think it's a little nicer than the first! When I read it I had to be in fourth or fifth grade- beginning of fifth at the latest.
So let's s... Continue reading

What's the story?

The battle has ended between the Wanteds in the dismal but orderly world of Quill and the Unwanteds of the more magical haven called Artime. The Unwanteds have won, the reign of terror is seemingly over, and the gate separating the two worlds has been opened. But the transition for all survivors is anything but easy. People on both sides must learn to deal with new emotions and unfamiliar situations. Recovering, healing, regaining confidence, and welcoming those who tried to destroy them, the people of Artime try to live up to their principle of building a peaceful, all-accepting world. But feelings are feelings, and conquering them isn't a simple thing. And all is complicated by the fact that not all people of Quill want to live peacefully. Bent on revenge, some Quillens plot to regain power, and the war seems far from over. Also, the appearance of two strange children from some other land adds a whole new dimension to the story.

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. 

Talk to your kids about ...

  • Families can talk about whether they agree with Mr. Today's decision to keep the gate open between Artime and Quill. Do you think his idea about allowing people to come and go freely was reckless? Do you think putting up gates and walls can make a place safer? 

  • What do authors do to make readers want to move from chapter to chapter or, in the case of a series, from book to book? How does this series compare to others you have read -- Harry Potter or Chronicles of Narnia, for example? 

  • Why did Alex think Mr. Today had made a mistake in choosing him to succeed him as leader of Artime? Can you think of other stories where characters were unsure of their ability to lead? Have you ever felt that way? 

Book details

  • Author: Lisa McMann
  • Genre: Fantasy
  • Topics: Magic and Fantasy
  • Book type: Fiction
  • Publisher: Aladdin
  • Publication date: September 4, 2012
  • Publisher's recommended age(s): 8 - 12
  • Number of pages: 416
  • Available on: Nook, Hardback, iBooks, Kindle
  • Last updated: June 19, 2019

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