Where many an author goes wrong in a series is not being able to find the perfect balance of recap and new details, Island of Silence by Lisa McMann however does this seamlessly. The second book in The Unwanteds series welcomes back readers without heavily burdening them with synopsis while at the same time clues in readers that maybe didn’t read book one (though shame on you for skipping around).
Book two picks up very soon after the events of of book one and we are shown almost immediately how those from Quill are reacting to the information that all the Unwanteds are alive and well; some take to this new world easily while others wish that everyone had in fact been thrown in to the lake of burning oil. It is really interesting to see how these new revelations have defined with even greater detail the class system that has been in effect for all 50 years of Quills existence. Those who had been Necessary had been relegated to doing tasks such as farming all the food and picking up everyone’s trash for years and once Mr. Today extended an open invitation for anyone and everyone to come to Artimè, who could blame them for shirking their duties. However if one were a part of the Wanteds, the upper class and highest echelon, one is at a loss as to why these people would desert Quill. This, coupled with the death of his idol and leader Justine, is what drives Aaron Stowe to begin plotting and scheming and soon a war begins.
As if his evil twins’ dastardly plans weren’t enough to worry about, Alex has been chosen by Mr. Today to begin learning how to take over for the mage should he want to go on something called a “vacation” or “retire.” There is so much to keeping Artimè ticking that Alex is unsure of his ability to lead. Additionally, two children appear one day on the beach having floated up on a dilapidated raft. As if this weren’t strange enough, the two have wire collars with thorns embeded around their necks, rendering them silent.
The story begins to be more complex in Island of Silence in regards to exposition and new plot points, weird feelings emerge (like how Samheed keeps looking strangely at Meg) and alliances are tested. McMann’s second tale in The Unwanteds saga is rich in scenery as we explore new places like the Island of Silence and takes us deep into the emotions of our main characters. It is especially interesting to see how Alex and Aaron mirror each other in their opposition. One is so entirely good and the other [seems to be so] entirely evil. I think there is more than meets the eye to these two and I can’t wait to see how they continue to shape the courses of Artimè and Quill. As their powers grow and their leadership roles increase, is one island big enough for the two?
I give this tale five out of five books for rarely is a sequel even more compelling than the first.