Recommended for Readers
in Grades 5 and up
A war between creative/artistic types and practical/logistic types, made sharper by a battle between twins who each represent a different faction.
There are a lot of interesting ideas in this book, but they are not all as fully developed as I wish they were. There are some good moments of tension and suspense, especially at the beginning with the Hunger Games style selection, and later between the twin brothers. The story feels like Harry Potter, with a character exploring a training school in a world he has never known. The invented world suffers a bit from some logical inconsistencies - artist characters can use paint in battle, and musicians can employ music to defeat their enemies. It's a nice idea to use imagination to fight, but a little haphazard, as a reader could almost always think of a plausible technique a fighter could have used. There's a lot happening - betrayal, mentors, gigantic talking animals with battle expertise, an impending war, internal competition - plenty to make readers turn pages, but maybe not as much to hold on to when the book ends.
The best discussion questions, of course, are generated by and contemplated by readers. These questions are designed to avoid major spoilers about the book, and to provide a starting point for teachers, parents, and student reading groups.
**Questions coming soon**
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