Ranting over. This was a really fun read, very much unlike any of her previous books, both in style and tone. There are some dark aspects, but, for the most part, this is a story of a magical world that any kid would love to live in. I mean who doesn't want to go to a school where your room is made for you and full of stuff you love, where you can travel anywhere by tube, where you can eat whenever you want, where you take classes only in the arts and where you get to learn magic spells? I would still prefer Hogwarts, but Artimé is pretty cool.
My favorite character by far was Lani. She walks everywhere with her nose stuck in a book...what's not to like? Most of the others I didn't particularly bond with, but they were interesting. Actually, the one I disliked the most was Marcus Today, founder of Artimé. The problem is just that he kind of creeped me out, although I'm not really sure why. I think he reminds me a little bit of Willy Wonka that way.
The dystopian elements are pretty minimal, mostly just in the first chapter or two, so if that's what you want, you probably be disappointed. If you're looking for a fun story that glorifies the arts or you just love stories of magic, give this one a try, even if, like me, you were unimpressed by McMann's previous efforts.