The Forsaken by Lisa M. Stasse

 Pages: 375   theforsaken 

Publisher: Simon & Schuster 

Summary from Goodreads:

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: The Forsaken is an average blend of dystopian tropes that is very action-packed, but not overly unique. 

I saw this gorgeous cover and knew I would have to read The Forsaken. But alas, I liked the cover more than the actual novel.

To me, The Forsaken was a been-there-done-that kind of book. There was one point where I liked the turn that happened, but the book never really explored it. Other than that, each plot twist was hinted at to the extreme. Some of the events in the book struck me as simple shock value. Some thing would be brought up that was designed to get a gasp of surprise, but then it would just become background noise to the next thing happening.

An interesting thing about Alenna, the main character, is that she supports the government, at least at first. I got a little bored of her to be honest. I liked when she wall kick-butt, but for the beginning half of the book she didn’t stand out.

I couldn’t stand Gadya, the “best friend”. She was an awful person and friend, having a major freak out over a boy twice. She was psycho, but not in the way I like. Supposedly, she is this feminist who thinks girls need to stand up and fight. Okay, I can agree with that. But then, she would say these blatantly sexist things. (I forgot to note my prime example, but I think you can get my point from the following: 

“She shows me how to throw a punch like a boy… And how to throw a rock like a boy too.”

Alenna says that quote, but Gadya was the one to say those things to her I bet. I was like, “Excuse me? I thought you believed girls were just as good fighters. Or did you not mean that?” I just can’t buy that this warrior girl goes crazy over a boy and then asks for forgiveness like she didn’t just completely flip out. Alenna just accepts all of this, but I would have dropped Gadya the first chance I had. Gadya just had too much craziness going on and was poorly-developed.

I didn’t feel as though The Forsaken added anything innovative to the genre. It was certainly full of action and the story never slowed. However, The Forsaken wasn’t a book for me, but some others looking to read a death-filled dystopian adventure will probably like it more.

The sequel, The Uprising is out now.