Series/Sequel? The Forsaken #1
Author: Lisa M. Stasse
Genre(s): Dystopian, Romance
Age Level: YA
Page Count: 375 (Hardcover)
Perspective: 1st Person (female)
Summary: 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.
Review:I was pretty excited to read this originally, but I read the prologue and literally rolled my eyes. It was pretty cliche in the beginning (Your parents were taken/rebels/killed too? Join the club!) but it quickly picks up, and just keeps getting faster and faster until slowing down at the end.
It was cliche and predictable only a few instances throughout, most of the time things were new and intense, and extremely enjoyable. There were also several completely unpredictable curveballs thrown in there - something extremely rare for me, considering the amount of this genre I've read.
One thing I really disliked in this book, however, was the author's attempt at romance. That was probably the most predictable and cliche part of this book, and subsequently the worst. It was obvious what was going to happen in terms of Alenna's relationship with Liam, and the romance seemed flat and forced without any real spark or chemistry between the chemicals.
Another thing I disliked was how the author wrapped so much up into neat tiny boxes. This annoyed me for multiple reasons:
1. If you're writing a series, you should leave at least a few loose ends to wrap up in the coming books.
2. A book - a really well-written book - is supposed to be believable, even if it's a fantasy book. Life doesn't wrap up into neat, nice little boxy. Life is messy and bloody and chaotic. And in a dystopian book especially, one would think they would see more of it. But many things - who the Monk was and the reasoning behind it and everything, what the Monk wanted her for and wanted to tell her, who she was, why her and Liam were even together - it all had a nice neat little explanation. And while some readers like that, I found it annoying and unbelievable.
This book also is not particularly memorable. I read it a week or so ago, and even now, many details and big things - like the main character's name! - escape me. It is, all in all, a fairly average dystopian book. Recommended for fans of dystopians who want a world that is fairly new and different.
(There were a few others, but the post it notes I put in on the pages fell out, so I only have these two.)
"Before the secrets rise up and engulf me, and my chance to learn the truth gets ripped away forever."- Page 113
"I know exactly what it means - to keep going at all costs. To never give up. And to find meaning in the journey."- Page 247