Monday, August 11, 2014

Book Review: The Forsaken

The Forsaken
Published By: Simon & Schuster Books for Young Readers
Publication Date: July 2012
Page Count: 375
Source: Purchased by Reviewer
Audience: Young Adult - Dystopian

I fought to finish The Forsaken. There were so many moments that frustrated me to the point of making me incredulous that I didn't think I would ever finish, but I made myself power through. Ultimately it is an ok story, but there were gaping holes in the plot. 

At first I felt like I was reading a hand-me-down Catching Fire, where a totalitarian government sends kids to an island to die. Then I realised it was much more Lord of the Flies than that, as the kids form gangs and fight each other - one sect believing in a mysterious 'Monk' and his religion, and the others seeming fairly normal. Alenna ends up with the normal lot, and starts trying to make a life for herself in the chaos. This is where I started seeing holes in the story. These kids arrive on the island in the clothes they were wearing at the time they were taken... so why did they have things like sofas, coffee, truth serum, paper and pens...? Every time a little thing like that was mentioned I became more frustrated... especially when the hottie of the story, Liam, told Alenna how he had broken his arm 3 times, and yet hadn't died of infection or become crippled. There is some effort taken to explain away some of these things, but I really felt that the reader wasn't supposed to notice these glaring oddments and question them. It wouldn't have taken much to explain these things, and the lack of attention to them annoyed me considerably. 

Onto the story, and Alenna's group decide that they can't just sit about and wait to die - they have to find a way to escape the island. So they set off on a quest, and large numbers of them die. Along the way they have to contend with their rival tribe as well as the 'feelers', machines which abduct kids from the skies, dragging them off to an unknown fate. I had no real feelings about this mission; it seemed doomed but ultimately I felt sure that they would get somewhere and discover something, which they did. 

 The information came thick and fast at the end, which set the scene for a sequel or two. To be honest, I would have found it much more interesting if they had failed at some point - leaving the reader with serious unanswered questions. I am finished with this series here. I simply can't sit through another instalment of convenient developments which ask me to suspend my brain and accept this world without question.

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.


  1. I'd been iffy about whether to read this one or not. The synopsis and cover made it sound interesting, but after reading your review, I think I'll skip it. There are enough good Dystopian books out there right now that don't have convenient and unexplainable events. Thanks for a great review! :)

    Amber @ Fall Into Books

  2. Too bad you didn't enjoy this one. I read it and book #2. They were both entertaining. I think I rated them 3-4.

  3. You're welcome!

    I'm sorry to say I really didn't enjoy this one. :(


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