Friday, May 3, 2013

[Review]: Forsaken by Lisa M. Stasse

Author: Lisa M. Stasse
Publisher: Simon & Schuster Books for Young Readers
Release Date: July 10th 2012
Pages: 375
Read in: 4 days

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.

* A free print copy was provided by the publisher, in exchange for an honest review* 

First and foremost, I should probably admit that I entirely purchased Forsaken, because of its cover. I mean look at it! It was wrong, but once I saw the ratings it had gotten from book reviewers like: (Lectus & Rola @ XO Reads). I was conflicted, so like any good reviewer would I wrote my own review. *Pats self on the back*

Forsaken revolves around this tech-savvy dystopian world, that for the most part appears to be ruled by its military? The novel begins with the introduction of this government sponsored "personality" test that detects the tendency of whether or not teenagers will grow up to become something harmful to society. You know the usual things: serial killer, pedophile, corrupt politician etc. However, like the peaceful facade of their society, the personality test is one too. In fact, screw personality tests! The "personality" test actually detects the citizen's ability to resist. When Alenna, the main character, turns sixteen, she is exiled to this SAVAGE freaking island called The Wheel. There she meets Gadya, a female warrior from a village on the wheel. Other characters are introduced. None of whom I care to mention, except Liam, the love interest. He's cute. That's basically all I got out of the novel. 

Let's start with the plot. Forsaken was an extremely fast-paced novel that I would've loved if it weren't for a number of things (that I mention later.) Let me rephrase that. Under normal circumstances I would've loved this fast-paced novel, but Forsaken took fast-paced to a whole other level. Like being dragged across a highway, with half your body in the car, trying to hold on for dear life. Take a moment to picture that.

The relationship between Liam and Alenna. Even though I didn't hate it, it wasn't something I really enjoyed reading about. In fact, I'm pretty sure their relationship was bordering on insta-love. He's had two conversations with her (both of which she rejects him - quite obviously, actually) yet he feels a "connection?" Pull yourself together, man. Have you no, pride?! They kiss ... twice? Then the next thing you know, (BAM!) there's a four letter word coming out of both of their mouths. But you never know, right? The circumstances can intensify the feelings two people have for one another, so I decided to let that go. Partially. At some points in the novel, I noticed that a weird love triangle - not let 's make that a square -was beginning to form, but in the end was shattered due to this huge plot twist - yes! Sorry, I'm not a fan of love - er - well any shape that isn't just two points. Something else I had a problem with? Consistency! I felt as if Alenna was strong-willed, sassy, and stubborn one minute then fragile, and irrational the next.There were so many characters introduced that were irrelevant and boring. What irritated me even more, was the fact that I didn't get any back stories on any of them. (Not unless it was convenient at that particular moment in time.) I was trying to keep this review short ... but, I failed
To be completely honest, I didn't really enjoy Forsaken. The plot and characters had so much potential, and yet the point of the story in which everything should fall in place, ended up doing the opposite. It was a horrific mess. In my opinion? Don't read it. Pass it up. Leave it alone. However, if you do decide to take up reading this novel, you may want to sit down for it. I'm still a bit dizzy from it. Oh, yeah, I'm probably not reading the second book... I read the synopsis and it sounded a little less than intriguing.
Lisa M. Stasse was born in New York, and has since lived in Spain, Russia, Hawaii, and North Carolina. She graduated from Cornell University with a degree in Government and English lit, and is currently a digital librarian at UCLA.  Lisa loves watching science fiction movies, cooking Spanish food, and dancing around her house to 80′s music.  She lives in Santa Monica, California with her husband and their two-year-old daughter.  All three of them are learning how to surf. Say hi at lmstasse[at]yahoo[dot]com.