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.
I adore novels set in a dystopian world and, being a big fan of The Hunger Games and The Divergent Trilogy, this book sounded right up my alley. So, when I was chosen to be on the traveling ARC tour for The Forsaken via Southern Book Bloggers, I was thrilled! Unfortunately, by the end of the book, I was a bit disappointed and jaded by yet another predictable Dystopian story.
If I may, I would describe The Forsaken as the love-child of The Hunger Games and Divergent. The similarities were glaringly obvious, but I feel that I would have appreciated the story more if it had come out one or two years earlier. As it is, though, we readers are inundated with “the next Hunger Games!” type books, and frankly, I’m tapped out on my store of patience.
I’m having a hard time describing what I did and did not like about The Forsaken, and I think it’s because it wasn’t bad, but it wasn’t spectacular. It was more middle-of-the-road for me. The characters were, for the most part, uninteresting; Alenna especially so, which is unfortunate. One character that did make me perk up, though, was Alenna’s first real friend on “The Wheel”, Gadya. She is fierce, in control, and a true warrior. If I do continue on with this series, it will be because of her.
I didn’t understand the quasi-love-triangle between Alenna, Liam, and David. There was absolutely zero chemistry between Alenna and Liam, and no believable build-up of their feelings for each other. David was the more redeemable of the two boys, and even though he wasn’t as swoon-worthy as Liam, he has heart. I would love to see less emphasis on the love triangle in YA literature, though. I mean, how often does a girl really have two wonderful guys to choose between? Why does a girl even need a guy -much less two? I digress.
All of this is not to say that I was not entertained, because I surely was. The Forsaken kept me interested overall, thanks to the quick pacing, non-stop action, and some interesting little mysteries surrounding the government’s true motives and the disappearance of Alenna’s parents. However, it took me until page 200 to really get into the story, and by then, it was really too late.
I haven’t decided if I will continue the series, but I probably will, because I think the second book has much more potential for originality once the similarities to The Hunger Games and Divergent have ceased to exist. I do hope Lisa will write more books after The Forsaken Series, because she does have talent, and I’d love to see it used in a different setting and story.
I would recommend The Forsaken to those of you who are die-hard dystopian fans, or who really enjoyed the two aforementioned stories. This book wasn’t for me, but it will be a perfect fit for someone else. Maybe even you!