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.
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.
The Wheel is an "island where all would-be criminals end up." Truth is, the Wheel is an island where all those who can't be controlled by drugs, issued by the UNA, end up at. The Wheel is dirty (absolutely), violent (totally), and chaotic (wholeheartedly). It's said by the UNA to be impossible to escape the Wheel. (In Forsaken, readers will discover if it is truly impossible to escape it.) The UNA also told its young citizens that the life expectancy of prisoners is two years. (Lie, again.) The Wheel contains many cameras to watch the prisoners. (Sort of truth)
The plot is so la la la! I love it. With many twist and turns, the plot brings the killing blade in the end of the book. (Cliffhanger Warning). Forsaken, however, needs more dialects. I would like it if Forsaken is more future-ish. Then Forsaken will be more alive and realistic. Moving on, let's talk about the ending. The ending, as I said before, is shocking! I'm so desperate for the second book, which isn't even out yet!
Alenna is not a bad narrator or character. I like how fast she adapted to the conditions of the Wheel. She immediately recognize the new threat of the Wheel. Alenna is bad like Scarlet from Scarlet (Cinder #2) by Marissa Meyer. Alenna is sometimes infuriating. For example: there is this one time where she just suddenly abandons everything. And then all the sudden, she picks it back up again. What the heck was that?
Liam could have been slightly improved by descriptions. I think he had the possibility to be "hotter." Like Jace from City of Bones/Mortal Instruments Series by Cassandra Clare. I like Liam's bravery and intelligence. This is someone who can really think unlike some of the many other people/drones on the Wheel.
Rating: Four out of Five
The characters were pretty relate-able. I really liked Gadya and her ability to speak her mind.
I also really liked the plotline. It was something I haven't read yet and a "new" dystopia.
I wasn't disappointed at all.
The Forsaken is a mixture of Lord of the Flies and The Hunger Games on acid. Once you start reading, there's no stopping. It's blow after blow after blow. The idea, at first, might sound a little overused, but Stasse took me by surprise with every turn of events. Even after reading so many post-apocalyptic books with the same concept utilized in the same way, The Forsaken shaped an entirely new world where nothing ceased to surprised me. It took me on an adventure I will probably never forget. It was raw, intense, and chilling to the bone.
Alenna was someone you could like and not like at the same time. She was brave, I'll give her that, and maybe a little determined. The only faults I found in her was the fact that she was very hesitant and didn't have much of a personality. She didn't make me laugh, or cry, or frown, or anything. I found her to be a little bland at the beginning, which would make sense since she was mostly invisible back in the U.N.A. but she kept it up through most of the book. I loved her sudden ferociousness closer to the end though, she was finally turning into that kick-butt heroine everyone needed her to be.
Gadya was my favorite character. She was Alenna's contrast (until the end of course). She was also the key ingredient to many of the upsides in this book: such as it's tinge of humor, sudden anger, and female fierceness that had me biting my nails throughout the story. She had a personality that marveled and stunned, which made her famous and even well-liked (at her worst moments as well). This was something Alenna lacked. Gadya is memorable, she made her place in the story, Alenna didn't.
Liam's character was the only character I failed to care for. He was interesting up the point where he turned into this drooling dog over Alenna. It was weird how he grew feelings for her before he even knew her. Alenna felt it too, and it's a connection that failed to make it's mark in the book. Liam was like a ghost. Yes, he was important (sort of), but it didn't seem like it. He was too simple, too gushy and cliche. No matter how faulty his character seemed to be, he was actually very flawless.
The romance between Liam and Alenna was the downside of this book. Stasse didn't give it enough time to ripen. There were no swoon-worthy, hot moments. The whole 'I like like you after meeting you two days ago' made Liam seem like a tool. The relationship was super fast, unexciting, and a little disappointing.
The plot was incredibly compelling. I enjoyed every minute of it. There were no holes and it was easily understandable, but not so easy as to ruin the entertainment. There were some parts that were predictable and others that had my jaw drop to the floor. I seriously underestimated the element of surprise in this book and now I've learned my lesson (again). The adventure was gruesome, but definitely worth it. I had trouble not gasping out loud after every turn of events. Stasse has this way of absorbing me into this new world she spun with her words so I really felt like I was part of the journey.
Overall, I really loved The Forsaken. Yes, the romance was bad and most of the characters didn't leave that much of a mark on me, but the adventure and the concept of the book itself had me glued to the book. There's nothing like a thrilling venture through a world of the unknown & deadly to keep you on your toes. I recommend this to anyone who loves a wild, gruesome roller coaster ride.
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!
This has got to be my favourite Dystopian book at the moment! I loved Alenna. Her character was one that I could somehow connect with, and being able to connect with characters brings me to like the book more than I would if I didn't.
Honestly, I enjoyed it all! I really wasn't expecting what the ending would be, but it was really good! I just hope that they ended up going back to get the others before it was too late for them..
Anyways, this was an amazing book and I'd recommend it to anyone who likes these sort of books (:
Alenna has always felt like an outsider, different in some unexplained way from society until she fails the personality test and is shipped to The Wheel, where even though they all should be mentally unstable or have a predisposition for violence, she finally feels like she fits in.
I know that I could really relate with Alenna, I never quite feel like I fit in, and one day I hope that I find that circle of people where I really do. It comes close with book blogging, and fortunately I have my husband, but I still feel on the edges sometimes. So it really is awesome to watch Alenna come to realize her strengths, and bond with the people around her. She has things to teach Gadya, Rika, David, Liam and the others, and they have things to teach her. Like how to fight, the value of being kind, that things aren't always what they seem and to never give up.
This is a gritty and suspenseful novel, and Lisa really nailed the dystopian category. The government is corrupt and it seems so powerful, but there are cracks. There are groups of rebels and they fight to survive. Lisa wrote her characters where I cared about them, and it was hard to read when something happened for them. I rooted for them and for the best to happen to them, and sometimes it did, and keeping it realistic, sometimes it didn't.
There was a spy in the camp, and I kept switching up my suspicions on who it was. Lisa really had a talent there, making people seem suspicious, and then clearing them in ways that I didn't see coming. David especially. One minute I was warm to him, and believing that he really had Alenna's best interest at heart, and then he would do something to make me think, well... Hmmm... But I didn't even really suspect who they said it was in the end... but I am wondering if it is really that person because of the phrasing.
Lisa Stasse paces the story beautifully. There is always action going on, keeping me on my toes, wondering what will go wrong next, and how they will get themselves out of each sticky situation. She throws me just enough of a bone with the romantic tension, of course leaving me wanting more, and for each question that she answers, I have more that I just know will be revealed in its sweet time.
I flew through this story, staying up til 2am to finish because I couldn't go to sleep without knowing what happened to the characters that I grew so attached to.