The Forsaken

Author: Lisa M. Stasse

Publisher: Simon & Shuster Books for Young Readers, 2012

Series: The Forsaken

Genre: Science Fiction, Dystopian, Young Adult

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. {}


Dystopian novels have become extremely popular within the Young Adult genre (thanks to The Hunger Games trilogy, the Maze Runner series, et al.), and the problem with that is keeping the genre pure and well written.

Lisa Stasse attempts this with The Forsaken, but does not quite achieve the entire package. The Forsaken is a very well written and had enough danger and grit to keep me interested. It wasn’t long before we were transported to The Wheel and the danger was very real and present and to an extent more believable than  The Hunger Games or Divergent. The world that Stasse creates is very vivid with it’s humid jungle and freezing tundra, the extreme juxtaposition of the different climates leads to the juxtaposition between the different peoples who inhabit each area.

I loved the idea of the different sectors and how they were each divided and how each faction competes for new recruits and space, but I felt that Stasse did not spend enough time discussing the history of the factions and how they became to be so different. I believe that Stasse needed to spend more time on the characters within Alenna’s faction, and who/what they are. I was also a little put off by how well adjusted the teens were. How did they know to make their own soap, food, housing; who taught them these skills, and why was that not expanded upon? The lack of information in this area made it a little hard for me to believe that they could live this way without any direction (i.e. no air dropped packages explaining how to survive).

Another shortcoming of this story is the lack of character development. Alenna is very flat. We don’t find much out about her and she never seems to have any true feelings. Liam is written to be this big, strong, burly teen, but that is all he is. He never truly develops in to a full character. This lack of development creates very forgettable characters. Which also plays out in their romance. It is very Twilight-esque. An automatic attraction that leads to a creepy unrealistic relationship.

Overall, the story was gripping, but the lack of character development left me wanting more. I might read the rest of the series, but they will definitely fall to the end of my list.




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