Source: Pulse IT
Publisher: Simon Teen
Series: The Forsaken #1
Edition: eBook, 375 Pages
Genre: Young Adult Sci-Fi Dystopian
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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.
The Forsaken is one of those books that offer you one thing but give you something else, and while it’s not necessarily a bad thing you can’t help be a tad disappointed you didn’t get what you were offered. It is a Science Fiction novel but it feels more like a survival novel for most of the story.
The U.N.A is a super country that takes up the whole of North America and in it we meet Alanna, a sixteen year old girl who unexpectedly fails a test that determines if she will be a cooperative and docile citizen. She is then sent to The Wheel, which is an island where all criminals are placed and where the story takes a different turn. I personally would have loved to see more of the U.N.A and what their overall society is like, other than their strict policy on potential criminals. I can see how the info might be given to us in book two but I would have liked a bit more solid world building before we are forced to move to The Wheel which is where most of the book takes place. It’s a savage place where you must learn how to survive in the wilderness and how to fight off the rival gangs that have formed. Life expectancy is short and it’s a very fatal sort of life, so it was interesting to see how Alanna fared in the new environment. I felt that the plot sort of moved away from the dystopian feel while only hinting at it through eventual plans of escape until about the last third of the book. While I did enjoy the high stakes and fast paced nature of their living arrangements I kind of felt like something was missing.
Alanna is a rather sweet girl and she’s the first one to assume a mistake was made when she finds herself on The Wheel, but she slowly transforms into someone who can handle the situation she is in. I wouldn’t go as far as to call her an independent fighter, but she definitely gets points of pulling her act together and recreating herself to fit her new life. As for the love interest, well I was less than thrilled by it because it kind of reeked of insta-love. Liam and Alanna worked but there was very little there for me to really get behind. The one thing about the island that I really loved was the opposing ‘tribe’ of teens and their mysterious leader called Monk. Boy these kids take the word ‘savage’ to a whole different level. I loved seeing that particular story unravel and with it the remainder of the plot, especially since it caught me off guard with a few twists I wasn’t expecting.
So while I wasn’t overly impressed with The Forsaken I do see myself moving on to book two sometime in the future, especially after the ending we were given. It does feel like I will get more answers and world building in the second one, so I’m curious to see how well it will turn out.