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 only disliked three things about Lisa M. Stasse’s The Forsaken.
- I’m taking the one specific person I mean out of the this sentence to keep it from being a spoiler, but I think that killing off some of the main characters in this book wasn’t smart. It distracted and depressed me for the rest of the book.
- Alenna. First off she’s okay with not being with Liam, and then she’s fighting the same friend who asked her not to be a couple with Liam, because she deems it her right to be with him! I’m not saying that was a bad thing that she ended up with Liam, I’m saying Lisa M. Stasse could’ve formatted it way better.
- Gadya. I was upset because I felt that Gadya could’ve been so much more, but the author gave her two options: the jealous ex-girlfriend and the brave, courageous warrior. One thing about characters is that you need to keep them straight and tidy, need to know exactly what they’re all about. Instead, we’re left with Gadya, the split personality queen.
I had some issues with the characters, as you can see. Mostly because Alenna is forgettable. There is nothing striking or miraculous or particularly interesting about her. She claims that in the book, but there’s another flaw, all the guys like her. Honestly. It might be okay that she’s forgettable in the story, but it’s not okay if she’s forgettable to the reader.
Nevertheless, I really liked this book. The personality test was actually the main reason why I picked this book up off the shelf at the library, particularly because I thought it would help feed the flame of inspiration I’m building on right now for another story. But, of course, that part was basically non-existent.
Building on what I did like, the island part to this was very intriguing. The nitty gritty details weren’t for me, but the big picture was fascinating. There’s an anime called Ikkitousen. Basically, seven schools are constantly ‘at war’ with each other, and the students within – both male and female – have become skilled fighters and constantly battle with rival schools. Their lives and fates are guided by strange jewels that contain the spirits and destinies of warriors from the Sangokushi period. One girl, Sonsaku Hakufu, has recently moved to Japan and is apparently destined to unite the schools as her counterpart united seven countries long ago. But, like all heroes, there is a darker side to her fate, and as always there is a constant struggle by those around her to break the chains of their own destinies and make their own lives.
So when I got into the first few pages of fighting and the descriptions of the Wheel, I was really excited to see what would happen between the people on the wheel. I think that after watching Ikkitousen, it’s hard to appreciate this book as much because conceptually, the anime is much more interesting because of the history woven into it, you get what I’m saying? On it’s own though, when I tried to detach from my expectations because of Ikkitousen, this is a pretty good novel. It’s really gritty, but I didn’t like the character of the Monk and his ‘religion’ as much. This book has a lot of action in it, and I’ll admit that a lot of the twists I enjoyed. The ending was pretty good as well, and I loved the twist with Alenna’s parents. Plus, I loved the cover of this book.
pg count for the hardback: 375
Series: The Forsaken
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