Sunday, February 3, 2013

Book 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.

My review:

I had such high hopes for this book.  Yes, I'm sick of dystopians, but I'd hoped this one would be different.  The summary sounded absolutely amazing, what with the characters having to fight to survive and all that.

I just can't think of anything I truly liked about this book.  The main character, Alenna, is flat and Mary-Sue-ish.  She has no personality and I couldn't bring myself to care about her.  And sadly, the minor characters were a disappointment as well.

Like Gadya, Alenna's supposed friend.  I say "supposed" because half the time, Gadya would be helpful and nice and try to teach Alenna how to fight and hunt, and then two seconds later she'd be yelling at Alenna because she thought Alenna had a crush on Gadya's ex, Liam.  What kind of friend is she supposed to be?!  I got so annoyed with her.

Then there's Liam, the love interest.  What does Alenna even see in him besides his good looks?  He, too, has no personality and is a completely bland, uninteresting character.  Plus, the romance is pretty much insta-love.  Alenna immediately finds herself drawn to him the second she lays eyes on him.  I just wanted to gag...the romance is so terribly done.

And, of course, the non-existent world-building.  We pretty much learn nothing about how the world came to be that way.  That's what I tend to dislike in dystopian books - there's hardly ever decent world-building.  The Forsaken is no exception.

Basically, this book was just a painfully boring read for me.  Aside from the flat characters and ridiculous romance, there's a fair amount of action.  And I did like the twist with The Monk.  But by then, I was so disgusted with the characters, I just couldn't bring myself to care about what was happening.  There are much better dystopians out there than this, so I'd suggest skipping this one.

My rating:  4 out of 10 (2 stars)

~ The Bookworm

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