Thursday, October 18, 2012

The Forsaken by Lisa M. Stasse [REVIEW]

  TITLE: The Forsaken (The Forsaken #1)
  AUTHOR: Lisa M. Stasse
  PUBLISHER: Orchard Books
  PUB DATE: Aug 2 2012
Summary from Goodreads

"Alenna Shawcross is a sixteen-year-old orphan growing up in a police state formed from the ashes of Canada, the US and Mexico after a global economic meltdown.

But when she unexpectedly fails ‘the test’ - a government initiative which supposedly identifies teens destined to be criminals - she wakes up alone on a remote island reserved for the criminally insane.

Terrified and confused, she soon encounters a group of other teen survivors battling to stay alive, including Liam, a boy who will become her love... and her lifeline.

Soon Alenna makes the terrifying discovery that there’s more to the island (and her past) than she could ever have guessed... But who can she trust? And can she ever escape?


The world has fallen to pieces, people are starving, a global economic meltdown has occurred. What’s left of Canada, the United States and Mexico form the United Northern Alliance. The UNA was formed to salvage what remains of their countries. What citizens didn’t expect is a government ruled by a dictator.

Orphaned and taken in by the government, Alenna Shawcross has to take the Government Personality Profile Test just like everyone else. The GPPT is designed to identify if a young individual has potential aggressive behaviors that may lead to future outlaws committed to murder, robbery and all sorts of crime. The test is to ensure safety within the UNA, and since Alenna has been raised by the government itself then she’s unlikely to fail, right?

That’s what she thought up until Alenna wakes up on the remote island specifically held in reserve for those who would fail the GPPT. Not too long, she stumbles upon a band of survivors, she then learns to fight for her life, meets a boy she feels a strong attraction to, and then some. Not only does she get to discover herself, but she also discovers things about the island, their enemies, the government... and something about her past...

The back of this book has a fine print that says “If you loved the Hunger Games, you’ll love this” – okay, that’s a lot of pressure for any author to shoulder. No offense meant, I’m just stating a fact. Now if you chuck off the pieces of the Forsaken, that statement did come out just about right. Readers get to step into the dystopian world of the UNA with a dictator heading an over controlling government (Panem?); sending kids to a remote island which the survivors call the Wheel (the Hunger Games Arena?);  where our protagonist Alenna is off with a bow and arrow, fighting to stay alive (Katniss?); and then there’s the boy, Liam (Peeta and Gale combo? Not likely but let’s throw that in there). As you can see, it’s pretty close. So how well did this book do?

Characterization was pretty standard. We have the protagonist, Alenna, who was the quiet type, meek, not so pretty and all that stuff. The leading man, Liam, brave, handsome, charming... whatever – I’ve seen that before. Gadya, the frenemy – I don’t know if she is supposed to be, but she kind of fits it – who kind of has unstable emotions. At least she makes an interesting character even though sometimes I can’t stand her. And then there’s... what’s his name? Oh, crap! I forgot! The guy Alenna was with before she met Liam’s tribe? Hang on. [Looking up the name in the book......] A-ha! There it is – David. Yeah. He’s the mysterious one. Still haven’t figured him out yet. Anyway, sans David, what I’m basically saying is they’re kind of dull. There’s nothing new, something to spice it up a bit? Nada.

Love story? Boring. With a few cute moments that didn’t really raise my heart rate with eagerness. Insta-love is so not working on me anymore, at least with the last few books I’ve read lately, this belonging to that batch.

I can’t really say the world-building /setting was new. They go like any other dystopian novel does when it comes to that matter.

That being said, can I conclude this was bad? Not exactly. The Forsaken has its good points too.

One - the adventure; I always love a good adventure. Gadya’s description of the Wheel didn’t exactly make sense but the journey to the Grey Zone was intense. Another thing I can commend is the action, if you thirst for blood – not in that kind of way, but the blood pumping action scenes kind. Just so we’re clear – then I can assure you, you’ll get a lot of that. Up next on my praise list are the drones. They’re creepy and all but they got me curious.  

And then there’s the Monk, the “leader” of the drones. Wow, that totally caught me off guard. That whole thing was awesome!  Not saying what that is though, you’re going to have to check it out yourself.

So overall, it wasn’t so bad. But not the mind blowing kind of story I anticipated. Still, it was good and maybe it’ll get better once the story pushes through with the other books in the series.

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