The Forsaken by Lisa M. Stasse

Published July 10, 2012 by Simon & Schuster

Pages: 375

Series: The Forsaken, #1

Genre: Dystopian

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.

Okay, The Forsaken is reminiscent of The Hunger Games. Kids get picked by an unfair system and are sent away to a horrible place where everyone wants to kill each other. Basically, that’s what it is, but hey, that’s how I wound up reading it. I wasn’t particularly excited about it, but it was a rainy day and I had nothing new to read. So I bought it on my Kindle.

Alenna’s world is somewhat interesting, but we don’t get much time to see it. We only get to see a glimpse of it before we’re thrown onto The Wheel. I prefer to see more of the dystopian society before it’s torn down. Too many dystopian novels go straight to dissembling the society.

The Wheel itself is really…confusing. I had trouble keeping up with what was going on and where everything was. There should have been a map. The Wheel is split into six sectors, and the group that Alenna winds up with controls the one sector that the Monk hasn’t taken. The Monk is a scary religious figurehead guy that no one knows anything about, but his followers (called “drones”) will do anything for him, even die. The two sides are at war, and Alenna’s team is just barely hanging on.

There’s another problem on the Wheel. Every once in a while, these mysterious flying things drop “feelers” from the sky and scoop up people. These people are never heard from again. Okay, it’s a good idea, but I couldn’t wrap my head around these feeler things. It was just too weird and too convenient.

Alenna is a boring character. She has no spunk, no spark, no individuality about her at all. She spends a lot of time doing nothing. Actually, I’ll take that back. She does spend a lot of time thinking about a particular boy, although she doesn’t even know why she’s attracted to him. (Insta!love alert!)

Gadya is a much better character. I think she was the only one with a little depth. She’s one of those kick-ass girls with a soft, vulnerable side that shows through when she can’t help it. The only thing I didn’t like about her was her tendency to blurt out things a little too conveniently. She ruined the whole vaccination scene, in my opinion.

I liked Rika’s character too. It was interesting to see this kind, gentle character in the middle of this awful island environment.

In the last half, we do learn a few things about the island and how things have happened. If this hadn’t been a series, it could have worked as a standalone. The Forsaken is wrapped up nicely at the end, with no evil cliffhanger. It’s not a great book. It’s decent. I would grab it from the library.

Will I pick up the next book? Well…maybe if it’s a rainy day…and if I’ve got my Kindle.

Rating: 3 stars

I would recommend this book for dystopian fans.