Monday, July 23, 2012

The Forsaken by Lisa M. Stasse Review

The Forsaken

by Lisa M. Stasse
Goodreads Summary:
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.

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.

Please come back tomorrow for and Interview with the author and a giveaway!

Heather                                      

7 comments:

  1. Wow that sounds phenomenal! I just recently read a review that was not as enthusiastic but I know to trust you :))) I'm a little intrigued by this horrific revelations towards the end... I am not good with horror elements, but now I want to know what it is :)

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  2. Like Danny I read a less enthusiastic review of this one. I haven't had an urge to read it until now actually. The way you describe things gave me a better idea plus made me REALLY curious! I need to know what happens now!

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  3. Brilliant review (you so tell you loved this) of what sounds like a great book - I have seen this fabulous over around and wondered what the book was like. And you know, I've not tried a dystopian yet. How neglectful is that? Mmm. May have to try this. It did sound a bit Hunger Games (without the games) at first.

    X

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  4. So excited to read this one! I'm a huge fan of dystopians, so I'm glad that you, as some one who doesn't always enjoy them, loved this story. That's very promising for me! Love an action packed book I devour in one sitting while threatening those I love with bodily harm if they interrupt me:) Brilliantly thorough review Heather!

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  5. I haven't heard of this one, Heather, but I do like the sound of it! You're right, it does seem different from the other dystopians out there. I think I'll check this one out after reading your awesome review!

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  6. Okay for you not to love dystopian and this still rocked for you? I so can't wait to give this one a try. I do like dystopian and now I must read. MUST! You are adding to my pile!!

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  7. i have been seeing SO much about this book lately! glad you enjoyed it so much, Heather!!

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