Alenna Shawcross is a sixteen-year-old orphan growing up in a police state formed from the ashes of Canada, the US and Mexico after a global economic meltdown.
But when she unexpectedly fails ‘the test’ - a government initiative which supposedly identifies teens destined to be criminals - she wakes up alone on a remote island reserved for the criminally insane.
Terrified and confused, she soon encounters a group of other teen survivors battling to stay alive, including Liam, a boy who will become her love... and her lifeline.
Soon Alenna makes the terrifying discovery that there’s more to the island (and her past) than she could ever have guessed... But who can she trust? And can she ever escape?
Gah, this was so bad, I hardly know where to begin.
For starters, this is being promoted "for those who love the Hunger Games", and is obviously making the Hunger Game grab with the cover image (it's totally different in the US edition). Stasse has a whole lot of Hunger Game similarities *cough, rip offs, cough* , from a government that sends trouble teens to a televised island full of feral kids killing each other off, to the pie shaped segments differentiating the island, and a corrupt government with an evil dictator leading it. Unfortunately it has none of the Hunger Games fabulous characters, tension or elegance. It has an intriguing beginning, which quickly deteriorates into a silly, dry story which becomes so implausible and ridiculous it was nearly impossible to finish.
Alenna, our slightly hopeless heroine, falls into the most stupendously ridiculous insta-love I've ever come across. With barely any conversation, and after just a few days on the island she's referring to their relationship as if it's some hard-earned romantic love affair.
I know that my feelings for Liam are partly what brought me to this point. Anger has been building inside Gadya for a long time (Rhiannon's note: um, it's been like 2 weeks), and I understand why. But I don't regret anything I've done. If I have to die now at Gadya's hands because I ended up falling for Liam, the so be it. (Rhiannon's note: again, it's been like TWO WEEKS! Trust me Alenna, he's not worth dying for yet.)In fact it's, a boy she barely knows and just met, but who she finds inescapably handsome. There's much made between the two of them about how they feel like they know each other, and how drawn to each other they are, but with no further explanation until the very end of the book, and nothing worthy of the build up.
The plot is all over the place. Honestly it felt chaotic. They seem to be running all over the place, fighting everyone, but never with any real reason. There were apparently other peaceful groups, but other than a mention in passing there is no reference to them. The evil group is omni-present, and their intentions or motives are fuzzy at best. I think you're supposed to just accept they're the bad guys and back off the logic of the thing. The evil government comes into play as well, and to be frank, even after the "big" reveal, I still didn't get what was going on their, but it had something to do with experimenting on people. God knows why.
One of my biggest pet peeves with YA or middle grade books is when an author attempts to use slang and either wildly over uses it or uses it all wrong. Not every teen or middle grader uses slang. Gotta and gonna were favorites in The Forsaken. It felt like all the characters were using it all of the time, which was not the case (the hubby kept flipping to random pages looking for gonna and gotta's and wasn't finding it anywhere), but it was obviously way over used because it felt like all I was reading. If one character uses it all the time, that's a character thing, but I should absolutely not be seeing it coming out of multiple characters mouths with regularity, it's ridiculously repetitive for one thing, but worse than that, it's not natural.
A ridiculously complicated book that really went nowhere interesting, I will definitely not be following along when the sequel comes out next year.
The Forsaken, by Lisa Stasse
Published by Orchard Books, August 2, 2012
My copy kindly provided by the publisher
Buy The Forsaken on Amazon