Author: Lisa M. Stasse
Series: The Forsaken #1
Publication: July 10, 2012 by Simon & Schuster Books for Young Readers
Source: Bought from Fully Booked
Genre: Dystopia, Romance
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.
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I've had The Forsaken sitting on my shelf since October of last year. Aside from its alluring cover and promising premise, I've heard nothing but great things about it. Dystopia genre surely did capture my heart and I know I cannot go wrong with this novel. And I am happy I was right.
Alenna Shawcross is an orphan who grew up in United Northern Alliance (U.N.A). It is a mix of countries which is now governed by Minister Harka. Since her parents were taken by the government ten years ago, her life has been completely monotonous. She keeps to herself most of the time and did nothing but to follow government rules to avoid trouble. The government runs tests to teenagers to see who have the potential to be an Unanchored Soul. Those who wouldn't pass will get thrown to Prison Island Alpha where the life expectancy is just up to eighteen. And Alenna has never been shocked in her life to see that she's now an Unanchored Soul.
Stasse's debut novel is very intriguing. They way she created U.N.A is a fresh approach to the dystopian plot she wanted to present. The world building is perfect for a YA Dystopia and it isn't a place you would question. The technology is very advanced and the populace seem to be very well-adapted to the futuristic world. It is honestly breath-taking and different from any other dystopias I've read.
The Forsaken has such strong story line. I love how Stasse intensely beautified her novel with her writing technique and how there's no dull moment in it. The spaces between the mysteries of the Prison Island Alpha and Alenna's past are too thin that once you start reading, for sure one would find it difficult to stop even just to get a drink.
I was torn between four and five stars as my verdict for The Forsaken. It is truly a wonderful read. However, when I pondered why I was even torn and just like those reviews I've read, I have to drop a star. I didn't totally agree with how the romance took place in the novel. It was too fast and way too misplaced if I may say. There are a lot of grave situations where romance shouldn't have happened at all. I appreciate that Stasse probably doesn't want to bore readers but the initial attempt with the romance didn't quite work well for me and I am wishing that the sequel's approach to love would be better.
The characters, I think, have played their parts right. From the normal reaction one might do in a given situation to a deeper sense of being, I couldn't complain at all. I've never encountered such realistic characters and how Stasse managed to make each character compliment each other is admirable. The characters have each of their own motives that added to the already action-filled plot and I enjoyed that immensely. There are tons of heart-wrenching parts but eventually, everything just simply fitted perfectly at the end. And with The Forsaken, nothing can compare with the braveness and toughness of my favorite character, Gadya.
The Forsaken is a novel one would surely fall in love with. It has rich world-building and a very thrilling premise that is partnered with fantastic characters. I cannot wait to continue Alenna and Liam's fight for freedom in The Uprising!
"Because as long as you were alive, there was hope. That's all people need in order to do amazing things, Alenna. Hope is the great human motivator. It always has been."