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Friday 10 August 2012

Review: The Forsaken by Lisa M. Stasse

Author: Lisa M. Stasse
Publisher: Simon & Schuster Books For Young Readers
Page Count: 375 pages, Hardcover
Date Published: July 10th 2012
Find it on Goodreads: The Forsaken
Source: Purchased
Rating:  3/5

  A thought-provoking and exciting start to a riveting new dystopian trilogy.

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.

My Thoughts:   I really really wish I had liked it more...

I'm warning you all in advance that this review is going to be very hard for me to write, because I wanted to like the book SO MUCH but it just fell short.  The claims that this book is like Lost and the Hunger Games are correct and I liked that combination enough, but at the same time, it felt unoriginal, which makes sense. Right? With dystopian books being such a fad right now, it's becoming really difficult to get a book that will stand out. I was really hoping The Forsaken would be it, but sadly it is wasn't. 

I did start out enjoying it. The introduction was great, with a prologue introducing the past with lots of background information and a bit of action. But then we enter the present time and it begins to fall short. The book starts out with Alenna and her classmates learning about Alpha Island, aka The Wheel. Everything's fine and dandy until boom! A boy on the island appears on a screen and Alenna feels an instant connection with him. I don't mind a lot of book romances, I can even tolerate some insta-loves, if it is executed well enough to not be like me eating ten jelly doughnuts, but this was too much. Yes we knew Alenna was going to get sent to the island and meet a boy... But it happened in a way that was just too unbelievable and exaggerated.They were both practically in love with each other the moment they set eyes on each other... But hadn't said a single word to the other. I just don't believe in that kind of thing. Sure the love at first sight stuff is cute and rare, but I'm getting tired of it in YA novels. Their relationship seemed purely focused on the physical side, with random secret make out sessions in little caves. I didn't feel any chemistry between them nor could I have cared less whether they stayed together or not. I didn't feel much emotion or connection with any of the characters honestly. But I did enjoy the friendship's Alenna made. I liked hers and Gadya's growing relationship, which involved jealousy and boy trouble, but they got through it. I also really liked David and Alenna together. They made a good team when they needed to, even when it was rough.

Other than the insta-love, I think there were a lot of things about the book that I could/should have liked, but I ended up scrutinizing everything and not really getting into the book. There were many times where there was a ton of things happening at one and was a bit confusing, and then for the next few chapters I was bored out of my mind. I think The Forsaken has an excellent idea behind it and there was quite a bit of action but a lot of it felt forced and all over the place. There were a lot of deaths in the book, thrown in quite randomly which reminded us that the conditions on the island were horrible, but there were too many deaths. One after another, after another, and it never seemed to stop. Then there was the worst thing. I bet you know what it is. My ULTIMATE pet peeve... Predictability.I guessed what was going to end up happening at the end of the book and it was almost exactly right. All throughout the book hardly anything surprised me, which was very irritating. I think there were a few moments where my eyes shot up in a bit of astonishment, but that was rare. I only really got into the story 2/3 of the way in. That was when the story shot up and became exciting. I enjoyed the last chapters of the book a whole lot more than any of the first bit because some of it shocked me, while other times I was just left on the edge of my seat waiting to see what would happen.

After reading The Forsaken I was left a bit disappointed, because I had a pretty good idea of what would happen in the end and then that's exactly what did. But all in all I liked the book enough. I think Stasse had a fantastic idea that could have been an incredible story, but her writing left it hanging. She's talented no doubt in world building and her platonic relationship development is great, (romantic could maybe use a little work) as well as really fast pacing, but she has weaker writing and that was disappointing. The world's set up and backdrop was really well done and I am really just looking forward to learning more about the UNA and all of the other future countries. I am hoping in the next book we will see an improvement in Stasse's writing, as well as further connection between Liam and Alenna.

I'm sorry I haven't updated in a few days!!! I'm in London right now and internet has been difficult to find for some reason. :/ Let me know if you'd like a post about my trip when I get back... I've gotten so many books!!!!! :D

Happy reading!


  1. :O You're in London? ARE YOU GOING TO THE OLYMPIC GAMES??

    Otherwise, great review. I totally get the un-originality. I saw that coming from the start. If you're going to compare a book to two popular things, it's safe to say you're basically just riding on the popularity of the two things.

    1. Um I'm not sure if I am but my brother and dad are! I'm glad someone else gets my drift about the book! :)

  2. Sorry you didn't get the fireworks. I actually like the plot though but hopefully i'll enjoy the book once i get around to reading it.

  3. Hey,
    I nominated you for the Belle Blog Award head here for details- http://asupersunnyspot.blogspot.com.au/2012/08/the-belle-blog-award.html

  4. Ah, sorry to hear that you didn't like it! I hate it when books don't meet my expectations :( I'm looking forward to see all the books you got ^^

  5. Hi, I'm a new follower. I came over from Editor's Article. Thanks for the review.

  6. Hope you enjoyed London. You'll be able to talk about your experiences there for a long time. I hope you saw some of the women's basketball. I loved that. Being from Connecticut and having 6 former UConn players on the team, it was like watching old friends.

    Other than that, just wanted to stop by and support your blog.
    If you do get a chance, check out my giveaway for "Stranger in the Room" at



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