Posted in Interview

Lisa McMann Interview

That’s right my followers, the author of the Unwanteds and Unwanteds Quests series was kind enough to speak with me despite her many responsibilities she only had time for a few questions but here they are just for you.

  1. Was one set of twins tougher to write than the other? 

Both sets of twins had moments of difficulty for me: Alex floundering early in the first series, and Aaron’s big redemption arc later in that series. Aaron again in Quests—he’s the most complex character to write. Thisbe feeling alone and abandoned early in Quests in the catacombs. Fifer’s struggle to find herself and her place after the end of Quests book 2 and beyond when she’s faced with so much.

2.) Who (or what?!) is your favorite Artiméan creation?

Several characters were favorites at different times throughout the years. Florence is one of my consistent favorites. Aaron is my all-time favorite. Dev became a recent favorite as his story unfolded. I also adored Mr. Appleblossom. Kitten and Fox were stand-outs.

3) The volcano system is ingenious! Did you get the idea from anywhere in particular? 

When I was doing research on the Dragon’s Triangle, I saw a note in a Wikipedia entry about how undersea volcanos that appeared and disappeared randomly were sometimes blamed for missing ships. That gave me the idea for the Island of Fire. The volcanos being a transportation system evolved from there.

4) If you’ve read my reviews you know I’m an Aaron fan, how far ahead was his arc planned? 

Almost from the beginning. Aaron has tiny moments of uncertainty about his choices throughout. I couldn’t wait to write Island of Graves to fulfill his arc—it was such a slow build. I’ve never said this before publicly, but I feel like Aaron is the true main character and heart of the story, not Alex. (Please people, don’t be mad at me—I love Alex too).

5) I love the way you treated disability when it came to speaking with Sky, and Lani’s issues with walking, Alex on the other hand I wanted to slap off the page, which I guess as a reader means you did your job. Did you worry about sending a negative message with Alex and his disability in the last book of Unwanteds and the first book of Quests? 

Thank you for asking this question. Yes, I worried a great deal about that.

Not many people know this, but I had planned for Alex to die at the end of book 7 of Unwanteds at Eagala’s hand. When it came down to it, though, it didn’t feel right to me, so I didn’t do it. It also didn’t feel right for him to make it through all of those battles unscathed.

Alex faced a lot of struggles as a result of surviving that last battle. His disability affected his creativity, in which he’d invested so much of his identity (to a fault. Creative people are so much more than their art). Added to that, Alex was forced into parenting his twin sisters as a teenager, and it was extra difficult for him because of Thisbe and Fifer’s destructive, uncontrollable magic. The community he’d fought so hard to protect were now turning on him—because of their fear of his dangerous sisters. I couldn’t picture Alex, or anyone, not having a chip on their shoulder about it all. He needed to work through several tough issues, and I didn’t want that to happen off screen, so they carried across the gap to the first book in Quests, where he could begin to figure out who he was after all of these changes.

I never want to cause harm to people with disabilities. I continue to learn and grow as a writer and as a human being in this regard and others. For those who feel like I messed this up, I am so sorry.

6) Love that the Islands are LGBTQ friendly, Henry and Thatcher’s little family is so sweet. Fifer seems like she’s not interested in anyone or romance at all. Is she asexual or aromantic? 

I hesitate to label Fifer, partly because I don’t want to spoil anything, but also because she’s in the early stages of questioning. Determining one’s sexuality can be a lengthy, sometimes-changing process for some people, right? A process that can take a person many years to define. I know people in their fifties who are still trying to figure it out.

As Fifer witnesses her twin—someone she feels is so much a part of her—having romantic feelings for Rohan when she doesn’t have them at all for anyone, that’s the beginning of the questions for Fifer, but it’s definitely not the end.

That said, I can confirm that Fifer fits under the ace umbrella.

7) Is this really the last we’re going to see of everyone in the Unwanteds universe? 

I believe this is the last of it. I never say never, but I don’t foresee anything else happening in this world. I hope you enjoy Dragon Fury, and thank you for being so wonderful and supportive.

 And if I may, I’d like to take a moment to mention that I have more books coming. This fall (2021) marks the arrival of Clarice the Brave. It’s a stand-alone middle grade book about two mice siblings who are separated in a ship mutiny, and vow to find each other again. It’s a book that I’ve been working on for many years, and every time I think about it I cry a little bit for happy. I can’t wait for people to read it.

 After that, next spring (2022), a new fantasy series begins. More on that when we get closer – keep an eye on my Twitter and Instagram feeds @lisa_mcmann.

Posted in Reviews

Unwanteds Quest-Dragon Slayers Review

Just because I can’t get this far and not talk about spoiler so SPOILER AHEAD!

Dragon Slayers (The Unwanteds Quests Book 6) by [Lisa McMann]

Summary

The people of Artimé have the Revinir with her back against the wall, but when people get desperate, they do strange things.

The Revinir made a desprate attempt when she captured both to capture Fifer and Thisbe. and now she trapped them in an isolated, crumbling castle with four killer dragons on all side to try and coerce them into joining her side

Things start to look up when Dev sneaks into the castle the the of them have reunion then start to plan a way out. The plan is so devious, so horrifying that it just might work. But when it comes time to act, Thisbe struggles to confront her deepest fears about her own inner levels of good and evil, and question if she’s really been on right side all along?

In Artimé, Rohan and Queen Maiven join forces with Aaron, Florence and the others to discover the truth of what happened to the twins. But when Fifer sends a message that challenges everything they believe in Rohan attempts to handle the situation… with horrible results.

Review

I love their plan, I also love Evil Thisbe. She’s kind of hilarious, but watching her take the Revinir to task is really great. I also love learning more about the Revinir’s history which I hope we learn more about in the final book.

Rohan, oh why are so in love, I mean of course you know Thisbe’s lying, but boy did you pick a bad time to call her it.

Then, that moment for Aaron, ouch, McMann just tore my heart out, again. But this one was particularly bad.

Photo by Brody Childs on Unsplash

Posted in Reviews

Unwanteds Quest Dragon Fire

Dragon Fire

And because I literally can’t talk about these later books without spoilers. SPOILERS AHEAD!!!!

Dragon Fire (The Unwanteds Quests Book 5) by [Lisa McMann]

Summary

The book opens and Artime finds itself in the middle of a civil war, those loyal to the Stowes vs those following reckless new head mage Frieda Stubbs.

Stubbs has now turn most of the people of Artime turned against the Stowe she uses the people’s fear of the Revinir returning and the idea that she stopped her ,(as opposed to Thisbe and Drock) that to keep the people under her sway.

Aaron and his allies are captured while Fifer is left exposed to mortal danger.

Thisibe and the team of black-eyed children from Grimere journey to Artime to, but doing this leaves one of their own behind to fend for himself against the Revinir. Thisbe grapples with worry and guilt from multiple directions as the bond between the two youngest Stowe feels more streched than even.

When things are at their most desperate and everything is on the line. Fifer is forced to make a choice that will change her and Artime forever.

Review

I don’t know if any political figures were involved but Frida Stubbs sure does remind me of some current (soon to be former ones). Also did she really hate her life as Unwanted that much or was it just personal revenge. It seems like just personal revenge to me, but even then it’s scary that some of the Unwanteds were willing to send their fellow Unwanteds to places they new there would be no food or watter. I like the system they set up for who they decide to let back into the community. Then again I also just like Mavien Taveer.

While important Thisbe stuff happens, such as her and Rohan getting pretty close to being a serious item.

But this is very much a Fifer book, Fifer has to figure things out, Fifter has to find her destiny. I like what her destiny is, I also appriciate that the girls finally talk.

One final thing Mavien and Aaron lunch are just so sweet an idea

Posted in Reviews

Unwanted Quest-Dragon Curse Review

Hi guys I’m now an Amazon Associate so if you are thinking about perchasing this book pleases consider clicking on my link below.

Dragon Curse

Dragon Curse (The Unwanteds Quests Book 4) by [Lisa McMann]

Summary

After harrowing battles and horrible losses, the three Stowe sibling are FINALLY, reunited. McMann made us wait for this one though things aren’t as happy as one might expect.While they are back in Artimé they have all been changed by their experinces.

Fifer who so enjoyed being in charge and working with Simber while in the dragon lands now sees her role reduced now that she’s back in Artime, and she struggles to find her place and purpose.

Meanwhile Thisbe was changed by her experinces in the catacombs and it has given her a deeper link with Rohan and the other black eyed children in the land of the dragons now she’s relentless in determination to return and help.

Finally Aaron has little success at warding off incresing opposition at his being head mage, from a resentful Frieda Studbbs and her dissenters, leading to a shocking and dangerous turn. Frieda can’t see past Aaron’s past actions, and see the girls as dangerous, she saw Alex as the only good example from the family and has a grudge with the rest of the Stowes due to some childhood experinces.

Meanwhile the Revinir pursues Thisbe and all the way to the seven islands putting Artimé in danger. So Thisbe and Drock make a choice to try and save their homes, meanwhile leaving Aaron and Fifer to fight in a political rebellion in what used to be a peaceful magical world.

Summary

So Dead Juliet wins all the awards. I have to think Mr. Today would especially appricate it. For real though, poor Aaron Alex had to deal with some stuff, and kind of coup when the world disappered but I think this is one of the most annoying conflict Artimé has had to deal with, I know why McMann put it in, and understand who it helped to grow and what it showed, but I still feel sorry for Aaron and Simber especially

As for Thisbe and Drock’s plan, pure genius. Perfect way for McMann to move the plot along can’t wait to review the next book.

One other note, the dance scene in this book is one of the few where I notice Fifer’s lack of interest in romance, and since LGBTQIA romance seems to be accepted in Artimé might she be aromanic or asexual.

Unwanteds Quests: Dragons Curse

Photo by Jason Blackeye on Unsplash

Posted in Reviews

Review-Unwanteds Quest:Dragons Ghosts

I won’t say anything specific, but books don’t make me cry / aggravate me much and wow did this book do a number in that department. But the description is has SPOILERS AHEAD.

Dragon Ghosts (The Unwanteds Quests Book 3) by [Lisa McMann]

Summary

Just when the team thinks they have it all figured out the Revinir strike’s at Artime’s heart, Alex’s leaving the the magical land without a leader while they are stuck in a strange place which is in the middle of it’s own civil war. Fifer and Simber struggle to lead their team in what now seems like a hopeless search for Fifer’s twin.

Back home Aaron must take the mantel that he’s had so much conflict around, head mage of Artime, he once dreamed of it, now he dreads it. And rightly so finding unexpected trouble relating to a past that just won’t leave him behind.

Meanwhile Thisbe thanks to a unique broth, is able to see images of Grimere’s dark history, but she must deal with her growing feelings of abandonment, while she considers leaving Rohan in a gamble that could take her home or to her death.

Finally things in Artimé are escalating at the worst time as Aaron find the Revinir’s control reaches into the very heart of Artimé.

Review

There were several points when I almost threw my tablet, Alex’s death for one. It was great, well played not at all expected. He just died, we expected him to live and he didn’t great show for everyone about how powerful the Revinir’ is and the fragility of life.

Also as stated before I feel sorry for Aaron an man does he get walloped in this book too, he’s always had a weird relationship with being head mage, but to get it this way ouch.

Also I’d be shocked if I didn’t almost cry during the Simber paragraphs.

Also the issue of timing people are almost in contact with one another then they aren’t it’s great but it makes you want to throw your book, and it’s what makes McMann a masterful writer.

Amazon: Dragon Ghosts

Photo by raquel raclette on Unsplash

Posted in Reviews

Review- Unwanteds Quest: Dragon Bones

Unwanteds Quests: Dragon Bones

Dragon Bones (The Unwanteds Quests Book 2) by [Lisa McMann]

Summary

The Artiméans thought their years of taking losses were over. But after being trapped in the dragon lands and making a grim discovery about the true nature of the Revinir. Fifer and Thisbe are forced to spilt up for the first time in their lives.

The Artiméans also must make an impossible choice of leaving Thisbe behind to save Fifer’s life.

Not only is Thisbe captured and Fifer injured, but Sky is lost at at sea. Leaving Alex paralyzed over the idea of doing anything that might lose him anyone else. But as Fifer slowly recovers her rage and pain at losing a sibling slowly convince him to finally trust her to help in the battle now that their true enemy has been revealed.

Thisbe has no idea about Fifers wounds, Alex’s guilt or her complicated rescue attempt, she’s on her own underground in the Revinir’s catacombs, where the ancient dragon rulers are buried. Along with fellow prisoners it’s her job to transport the bones from her crypt to the extracting room where others extract the magical properties dormant in the bones.

As time goes on and it doesn’t look like anyone is coming back to rescue her, Thisbe must train in secret trying to learn how to control her fiery magic to use it to escape.

But with what looks like no help coming, she may have to risk allying herself with the ultimate evil.

But will it be worth the risk?

Review

The timing on these books was perfect I kept wanting to put people places because McMann was so genius to make them just miss each other. I believe I remember grumbling at the book because I was like you guys have to be at the right place at the right time now, but alas. McMann keeps us on our toes until just when we need to be.

Also thing I love about this book, Fifer ready to go all deadly sister on Alex.

Any scenes with Rohan

Alex getting past his pride and training again for his family.

Also seeing a crew of Artiméans going out on an adventure again was just great!

Another great adventure! 5/5

Amazon: Unwanted Quests: Dragon Bones

Posted in Reviews

Review: Unwanteds Quests: Dragon Captives

Ah, we are now at Unwanteds Quests when a new set of twins enters the picture. And while we saw a little of Fifer and Thisbe as toddlers and saw some of their important powers now is their time to shine.

Summary

Identical twins Fifer and Thisbe Stowe have grown up in the magical world of Artimé. They are more powerful and naturally gifted than their head mage brother Alex could even hope to be, and as almost teenagers they aren’t exactly big fans of control.

Especially when it’s the only thing Alex wants from them, he keeps them from magical warrior training when they can control their natural outbursts. When they accidently use their magic in the jungle of Artimé to strike down a beloved creature. Alex is furious and threatens to lock them away until they can learn to control their powers.

His threat is soon forgotten though when Hux, the ice blue dragon, and one of the dragons Alex help make wings for in the Unwanteds series. Comes to tell the people of Artimé that he and his siblings have been enslaved by the evil Revinir who has taken over the Dragon Lands.

He asks for Alex’s help, but since his disability in the last book of the Unwanteds series. He doesn’t think himself fit for combat again. He offers with his friends help to update Hux’s wings.

Fifer and Thisbe see this as a chance to right their wrong with their brother, and escape his wrath. So along with their friend Seth they steal the wings hitch a ride on Hux. They head back to the land of the dragons, hoping to rescue the dragons from slavery.

But will their untrained abilities be enough to save the dragons—and themselves—when they come face-to-face with the Revinir? And is this Revinir more than she seems?

Review

Great intro to the Unwanteds world for anyone who has read before. It also has great subtle nods to old fans. I spent the first half of the book wanting to smack Alex for his parenting strageties. It’s where the writing had to go, but ouch, Simber knew it was wrong, he knew it was wrong, everyone knew it was wrong.

To be fair to Alex he’s only 25-26 at the time when this happening and inherited parental responsiblity at 14? So I’ll give him some slack

I also really like how Seth is trying to find his place between the twins, and the twins are trying to find their powers in this new landscape.

Also the ending, Lisa McMann. Tears I tell you tears!

Posted in Reviews

Review: Island of Dragons

So we finish the original Unwanteds series with my favorite book. Yes, the last is my favorite. If it’s not clear in my writing of the summary I’ll explain in the review. As for the book reviews SPOILERS AHEAD!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Island of Dragons

Summary

Twins Alex and Aaron Stowe have finally come to peace with each other. However their feud being over doesn’t mean the danger is. Artimé and Quill are about to face the ultimate test from a deadly enemy who has been building up against them and waiting in the wings.

Now Alex must lead Artimé in one final epic battle they can’t hope to win alone, even with Aaron’s help they are going to need everyone they’ve ever met in the seven islands to help win this battle

In this final epic battle personal loyalties are tested, suprising powers are revealed, and unexpected friends show up when they are needed most.

Still even with all this help will Artime finally have peace or will the world they worked so hard for be destroyed forever?

Review

Okay, I admit I love this because a bunch of my favorite characters show up. Plus its kind of an Aaron book. I mean Aaron spends lots of time considering things during this book, very important things that relate to himself and Alex and his new and old selves.

But ultimatly at the end of the book when Alex has an issue, Aaron pushes him to make the best choice. That’s why I love this book, I love the battle, I love things that different friends from the Seven Island do. It’s intresting to see the actions of Alex and Aaron’s sisters.

But in the end the heart of this series was always Alex and Aaron and I was glad it ended the way it did.

Photo by Elena Theodoridou on Unsplash