January 6, 2013

Review: The Forsaken

This book was in my mound of reads for a while. After reading it over the holiday break, I cannot believe I waited so long.

Guys, I could not put this book down! 

Title: The Forsaken
Author: Lisa M. Stasse
ISBN: 978-1-4424-3265-9
Pages: 375
Available: NOW at your local bookstore or library

Summary (from the book jacket):

When the rest of the world has given up on you, who will you become?

Alenna Shawcross hasn’t seen her parents since they were dragged out of their house by government soldiers of the UNA, a new nation formed from the remnants of Canada, the USA, and Mexico. And now, as a sixteen-year-old orphan, she has failed a government personality test designed to diagnose subversive tendencies.

As punishment, Alenna is banished to the wheel, a mysterious island where all the kids who fail get sent. A place where the conditions are brutal, and a civil war rages between two very different tribes of teenagers.

So when Alenna meets Liam, a charismatic warrior who is planning to escape, she must find the strength to make a difficult decision: to either accept her new life on the wheel, or to embark on a journey that will uncover shocking secrets about the UNA—and her own identity as well.

My Thoughts:

This is a hard novel to write about because there are so many elements to the story that I do not want to ruin. 

Stasse really delivers in this novel. I was not too sure I would enjoy it, so I waited until my reading challenge to read it. I cannot believe I waited so long.

The pacing of the novel is reminiscent of The Hunger Games. By that I mean that Stasse does not make readers wait by giving a long back story.

She drops us right into the plot, right on the island with Alenna. From the moment she opens her eyes, the heart-pumping begins.

The island is full of intrigue. And war. When she first arrives on the island, Alenna is discovered by Gadya, who stakes claim in Alenna for her tribe, but first she must safely deliver Alenna to the tribe leader. Not an easy task when the drones want Alenna for themselves.

And this is just the start of the craziness that goes down on the island. But that is all I am willing to share because I want you to discover the island for yourself. Be prepared.

When the tribes war with one another, I found my heart pumping a little harder, wondering if they were going to capture Alenna for themselves. But it was when Liam and Alenna’s “journey” began that I could not put the book down until the very end. I had to know how the author was going to end this story…for now. There may have been a few gasps from me while reading.


The plot is a complex one. There is a bigger story than what Stasse gives us in the beginning. As the plot unfolds, readers discover who Alenna really is, why she was chosen to be taken to the island, and what motives the UNA may hold.

The novel’s conclusion was a nice twist, and full of information. If you’re reading and unsure of where the author is taking you, hold on. She is bringing you to an important point with a lot of information. That information will not answer all of your questions—and you will have many—but it will be the start. I am not too sure where we will pick up in the sequel because she only hints at it in this novel. This is clever because it gives her a lot of options as a writer. She has definitely not written herself into a corner. Not even a little bit.

As for characters, Alenna is the novel’s heroine, and I really enjoyed reading her. She’s not on the level with Katniss or Tris, but she holds her own throughout this story. She is strong and willing to do what it takes to survive, but there is more to her than Stasse wants us to know—just yet. She has real badass potential.

Liam is Alenna’s other half. He brings the fierce side of Alenna out because he challenges her in ways that she has never been challenged. In that, he discovers his match, something he did not think he would find while on the island. I did not find him to be a “hottie”, but it could be because he shares a name with my son.

The secondary characters enhance the storytelling without stealing the spotlight. They provide the support necessary to tell the story. They offer twists and turns, panic, urgency, comic relief, and betrayal.

I found the allusions to Lord of the Flies overwhelming at times. It was as if Stasse was creating a retelling, just with a more modern dystopian feel. This would be a great recommendation to students at the conclusion of reading LOTF and a great discussion of storytelling parallels.

I am anxiously awaiting the next in the series. It has the same feel and pacing as The Hunger Games, but that is where any similarity ends.

Overall, I enjoyed reading this, and I still cannot believe I waited so long to read it.

Have you read The Forsaken? What are your thoughts? Leave them below.

Happy Reading!

1 comment:

  1. This sounds great! So many dystopians have a very predictable story line, so I'm glad that this one is so complex.

    Concerning your son's name- that would be a little awkward! haha

    It's good to hear that there are strong supporting characters. One of my biggest pet peeves is when they fall flat.


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