Heather's Reviews > The Forsaken

The Forsaken by Lisa M. Stasse
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's review
Jul 22, 2012

it was amazing
Read in July, 2012

In the past, I've noted that dystopians are not my favorite genre, but that doesn't keep me from trying them from time to time and I have found many that I love. I have recently started changing my mind with the influx of really different traditionally and indie published dystopians. This one rocked! It read a bit like a horror story to me it was just so unimaginable what was happening. From beginning to end the inhabitants or should I say the outcasts on the island are constantly barraged by some threat. There is not a moment's peace where they can let their guard down and relax.

Alenna starts as a normal girl,as normal as can be, traumatized by her parents capture by the government when she was ten. She follows the rules and is a good little orphan. But you can tell by the questions in her head that she's probably not as quiet as she should be. However, there aren't any mind readers so she should be safe. The girls at the orphanage joke about taking the GPPT tests saying they are all safe because it would look bad if the government run orphanage had been harboring an "unanchored soul", the name they give people who fail the test. Less than 24 hours later, Alenna is running for her life not sure if the boy she's running with is safe or not and if she should go with the painted face people or the girl waving the gun, sure there is some mistake that she got dropped on The Wheel.

Truth is hard to come by on the island. Information is given only on a need to know basis and only if you're trusted.But one thing everyone has in common, they all felt like outsiders and invisible at home. Here, they aren't. Alenna makes friends fast with the girl that saved her when she first arrived Gadya, and a cook named Rika. The three girls share as much laughter as you can when your village is under constant attack by the "Monk's drones" who use fireworks to burn down their huts and weapons, of course, to kill.
And, Alenna falls for a boy that she saw on camera at the museum they visited the day before the tests were adminstered. He was the last thing she thought of before her test was administered. All before she was dropped here, a boy she's worried about quite a bit. But Liam is off limits according to Gadya, he's hers even if they are broken up and even if Liam likes Alenna. It's not quite insta love, but when you have a life span of about a year, I allow for a little immediate attraction, plus add the constant threat of dying, it probably adds to the intensity of feelings.

I liked that Gadya, Alenna and Rika were such good friends. Rika was a kind hearted person and helped Alenna hold onto what was important, the human part of herself. Gadya kept her realistic, that you had to fight for everything, never believe what you saw and never trust anything, always question. Alenna was a good blend of the two. Liam, of course, was a bit of a sore spot between Gadya and Alenna, but just as Gadya becomes okay with it things change drastically.

David is another main character though our time is limited with him. Yet when he's on the page, he takes center stage. He is the boy that sacrificed himself for Alenna when they were first being chased by the Monk's followers, the drones, so that she and Gadya could get away. He's later captured during a raid on her village, but he just wants to find haven in her village. He has information for her, but her village doesn't trust him, even if she will vouch for him. Every time he appears, Alenna is sure of his loyalty but allows the others mistrust of him to seep in until she questions herself. David seems to perform almost superhuman feats sometimes to prove his loyalty.

What a discovery mission finds at the end of their journey is horrifying. I can't say what, but it is definitely something out of a Stephen King novel. The government has no heart in it, at all. If I hadn't been sure of that fact when they dropped hapless teenagers on a desolate island to fend for themselves, I was sure at the end of the novel. The last hundred pages is a terror filled race to more terror, but there is a bit of closure at the end of book one. No big cliffhangers. Lots of questions left to be answered.

To say I was glued to the pages would be an understatement. I'm not sure I've ever read a book of this length in such a short amount of time. It is action packed, the plot moves at a breakneck pace. I did read the ARC at 375 pages. That's what the book information says on Goodreads. Anyone that likes a good dystopian should love this one. It's different and though I knew some things would work out, I didn't know how and that's what I liked so much about this novel. I couldn't have guessed at what was going on or why.

The book is recommended for teens 12 and up. I don't remember anything I'd caution readers about except violence. I received an ARC from the publisher for review. I was in no way compensated for my review. This is my opinion of the book and not a literary review.
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