After reading the synopsis, I felt ready to five in to a great dystopian novel. The only problem, is this book is not that novel.
The Forsaken takes place many years from now after the world has reached a point of chaos in which many countries are starving. The UNA (composed of Mexico, Canada, and the USA) is formed in hopes of "somehow" stopping the chaos and the destruction. Teens are given a serum at the age of 16 in hopes of detecting if they have tendencies to become law-breakers or corrupt citizens and then are sent to an island.
This could have been a great trilogy, but the romance I think has already started to ruin it. The main character, Alenna, is immediately "drawn" to Liam for seemingly no reason at all. She sees him for one second and then "feels a connection." And by the end of the book they've both confessed love for each other even though they've hardly spoken to each other. Maybe there's some deeper meaning that will be revealed later on in the series, but right now it just seems stupid. Like, why can't teens just meet, decide they "like" each other, and then take things from there.
Another aspect that kind of ruined the story were the characters. The character development is usually my favorite part of the book. And maybe there isn't much going on because this is the first in the series, but some characters are already too much for me. Alenna meets another girl on the island name Gadya, and even though they barely know each other, Gadya is already telling Alenna what to do and who to date...And Alenna listens to her (for the most part). Yeah it's good to have a friendship, but she just seems controlling to me.
A lot events were also left unexplained. And I still have many questions, but I'm hoping they'll be be explained later in the series.
The Forsaken does move surprisingly fast, with lots of action, and plenty of explanations of the people. I would still recommend this in hopes that the series will only progress from here.
After finishing The Forsaken, days later I am still thinking about that story. I always consider that a good thing. If a book causes me to remember it well after I finish it, that means it made a pretty significant impact. Still, my thoughts on Alenna's story are very jumbled, and slightly torn. This book feels a lot like many of the other dystopian novels out there right now. In fact, it is almost like a mix of a few of them. A hybrid if you will. Not a bad thing, just not anything that really wowed me. I'll do my best to explain.
On the one hand, I really did enjoy the world that Lisa M. Stasse builds for her characters to inhabit. The U.N.A. is a sinister government. One that has no qualms with reducing its people to numbers. To them, people are meant to be controlled. Kept in line. I liked this! I suppose it's because I can actually see this happening at some point, but for me it is pretty terrifying. "The Wheel" was also a nice touch. A lush area with so much beauty, and yet so much possibility for violence.
The first thing that I found a tough about The Forsaken was the fact that I didn't fall in love with any of the characters. Alenna as okay. I liked her back story, and I did appreciate the fact that she was so positive despite everything that she had been through. However I just didn't really feel that much emotion for her either way when it came to surviving. In fact, when the story picked up and things started happening to her, I just kept feeling like I wasn't invested in Alenna's story at all.
Couple this with the fact that there are portions of this book that move slowly, and you can see why I feel so torn. I was struggling to latch on to something. I really wanted to feel emotion for the characters in the book, but I couldn't find a foothold. By the time I reached the end of the story, I finally felt like I had uncovered something to keep me coming back. The U.N.A. is sinister all right, and their ultimate plan for these kids is just awful. Once I knew that, I knew I'd be back for more, no matter what.
Let's be honest. I didn't love The Forsaken, but I did like it. Especially after I read the ending. As a reader, I am extremely character driven. So I know that the majority of the reason this book failed to hook me is because I just didn't feel invested. The story line is solid. There are plenty of reasons to hate the government in this story. Overall it just fell in the middle of the spectrum for me. I definitely suggest you give it a shot! If you are a fan of dystopian especially, this might sate your need for a new read!