The Forsaken by Lisa M. Stasse
Rating: 3.5/5 Stars
Release Date: July 10th, 2012
Source: Bought on Kindle
As an obedient orphan of the U.N.A. (the super-country that was once Mexico, the U.S., and Canada), Alenna learned at an early age to blend in and be quiet—having your parents taken by the police will do that to a girl. But Alenna can’t help but stand out when she fails a test that all sixteen-year-olds have to take: The test says she has a high capacity for brutal violence, and so she is sent to The Wheel, an island where all would-be criminals end up.
The life expectancy of prisoners on The Wheel is just two years, but with dirty, violent, and chaotic conditions, the time seems a lot longer as Alenna is forced to deal with civil wars for land ownership and machines that snatch kids out of their makeshift homes. Desperate, she and the other prisoners concoct a potentially fatal plan to flee the island. Survival may seem impossible, but Alenna is determined to achieve it anyway.
I’m not quite sure what I expected with The Forsaken, probably something more The Darkest Minds-esque, but what I got was something very different. That’s not to say this book isn’t enjoyable, because it is. I think I was just hoping for more emotion, more connection, which unfortunately, we didn’t really get with this book. Nonetheless, this was quite a riveting dystopian novel that I overall enjoyed.
Alenna, our main character, was admirable. She seemed a bit distant at first, but as the book progressed and explanations were provided, I began to understand her more. Her strength and determination was truly enjoyable to see. She’s a tough girl, for sure. For the most part, I liked Alenna. She was independent on top of everything, so she definitely got some respect points there. The secondary characters were mainly well-developed as well, and seeing Alenna’s interactions with them was actually really interesting.
The plot was also another aspect that kept me engaged. Things move along quickly, and I’m surprised to see how much Stasse could fit into a single novel, because it was a lot. It was really addicting because of the stakes that were set up, and Stasse made it clear from the beginning that she was pretty ruthless. It was definitely an edge-of-your seat kind of thing. The author’s creativity to some of the elements in this book was also surprising and really upped the stakes as well, making this book stand out a little in the midst of a genre clogged by Hunger Games look alikes.
However, one aspect of this book really ruined a lot for me.
It was bad. Like, cringe-worthy bad. It was sloppy and completely rushed. Totally unbelievable. It was the basis for a lot of the book as well, and the Alenna’s emotions, but I couldn’t buy into it a tiny bit. I’m not picky at all about romances, but honestly, there was no connection built, nothing. The romantic scenes were basically “they kissed passionately” (yes, that sentence appeared in the book). If the romance was going to be such an integral part of the book, then I needed something. Some sort of emotion, or feels, or anything. Unfortunately, there was none of that.
Also, I worry a bit about where this book is heading. It seems like The Forsaken is going towards the stereotypical YA dystopian that all of us have become familiar and, honestly, quite bored with. I’m holding on hope that this series will take a turn towards the unique, but with that (slightly predictable in a way) ending, I’m not so sure.
Overall, this book had its good moments with the wonderful main character Alenna, and a riveting plot. However, that romance. It ruined the book for me in a lot of ways. Plus, I’m not sure if this series is going to be something new in this over-done genre. I’ll be reading the next book, but with freshly lowered expectations. I’d recommend this one to dystopian fans looking for an addicting read, but be wary of that romance.