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Review: The Forsaken by Lisa M. Stasse

Monday, August 13, 2012
The Forsaken (The Forsaken #1)
by Lisa M. Stasse

Publication: July 10, 2012
Pages: 375
Author: Website | Facebook | Twitter
Publisher: Simon and Schuster Books For Young Readers
Buy it: Amazon Hardcopy | Kindle | B&N | Book Depository

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 an intense, riveting, action-packed read that I could not put down once I read the first lines. By the end of the Prologue alone, I knew that there was no chance of me leaving this book until I had finished it. Okay, so I did have to put it down a couple times, but it was not a willing decision of mine. Whenever I was away from this book, my mind and heart was still with it and the characters, wondering how they would overcome the plight they were currently in, puzzling over the latest twist that Stasse laid out, and guessing at what next she'll whip out in front of me. Because she doesn't throw curveballs. No, she plots ahead and sets up the framework for her next surprise way in advance so that we're already in the middle of the next big twist before we realize it.

The world building is spectacular. Reminiscent of 1984, this book had me ominously telling my brother  that Big Brother is watching. The citizens of UNA are tested at the age of sixteen to see if they have the potential to be a criminal. Already the government sounds suspicious. Isn't everyone capable of evil when put in the right situation? Alenna never thought that she would be a rebel, but after being sent to The Wheel (or Island Alpha, as the government calls it) she has to learn how to fight in order to survive. Then there's the never-aging, never-changing Minister Harka and how the government always seems to know when something is up. (The whole reason behind my whispers, "Big Brother is watching.")

The characters are all just as vibrant and real as the world itself. It's not often that a book makes me feel so much for each individual character. They aren't perfect--far from it. They're teenagers who have been dropped on The Wheel for reasons they don't understand, with the exception of a few that have already formed their own suspicions about what's really going on. Many of the people that Alenna meets touched my heart and made me want to hug them and tell them everything's going to be all right (even though we don't know that for sure yet and though they'd probably kick my butt for trying to be all sympathetic when I should be picking up a weapon with them). They also made me want to slap them for being the unreasonable, silly teenagers that they can be at times, and then hug them because I know things are tough and they just want to be normal teenagers. Then there are characters who I think I understand but don't want to know, characters who I don't know what to think about--characters like the Monk. I want to label him as a villain, but he's so much more complex than that.

And, wow, there are so many things I want to rave about, but that's going to go into spoilers. I've already corrected myself several times when I tried to talk about a particular scene or something that made me fall more in love with a specific character. This is by far one of the best dystopians that I've ever read, and it is at the top of my list of favorite dystopians of 2012. It is one of those books that make me feel at peace once I've read the last words because I know that I have touched something beautiful, because I've just read the most amazing book ever. It is one of my favorite reads of the year. I am so very glad to have had the chance to review this book. And have I mentioned how much I'm dying to read book two?

Rating: KEEPER!!! 

Come back tomorrow for an interview with Lisa M. Stasse and the chance to win a copy of The Forsaken (open internationally)!


Disclaimer: I received an ARC of this book from the author. No payment was received in return for a review. The receipt of the book had no influence on the opinions expressed in my review.
43 comments on "Review: The Forsaken by Lisa M. Stasse"
  1. Sounds interesting! I love when an author actually gives some background as to how a dystopian world relates to our own country-wise, etc. I mean, I know they're all basically set in the US, but I like it when they acknowledge that other countries did (or do!) exist. Thanks for sharing.

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    1. Same here. It's really cool how this looks like it's going international :)

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  2. I was able to read this book in advance and while I did enjoy the world-building, I had a lot of trouble connecting with the characters. I don't know why, but I just couldn't get into their heads. The end of the book was a bit of a problem for me too only because everything went by so fast and I wanted more.

    It's nice to see such a glowing review! Happy reading. (:

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    1. I understand the whole "this is an awesome book with great writing, but I can't connect with the characters" deal. It's happened to me before. I was able to connect with the characters in The Forsaken though and loved it, as you can tell :)

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  3. I love how you knew from the first that this was going to be a good book! I can see why I've heard so many great reviews for this one. The details, the well-thought out plot line, the character building, and best of all the mysterious twist are checking off on my list of great reads. I can't wait to get my hands on a copy! Thanks for the review.

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  4. I can't wait for my library to carry this. I love the cover,and the story. Great review.

    Jenea @ Books Live Forever

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  5. Haha. Loved the Big Brother is Watching part. :P Lovely review.

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  6. Dystopian fiction is my favorite genre. I've been looking forward to this one for months. The reviews are always mixed on dystopians so I always have to read them for myself. Glad this is a keeper!

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  7. Sounds like my kind of book! :) Dystopian, Big Brother, prison break... what's not to love? :D

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  8. This kind of book is just my cup of tea, now it's on my wishlist.
    Thank you for the review.

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  9. Thank you for a fabulous review. I love the 'KEEPER'. Something to look forward to.

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  10. Sounds scary! So I've added this one to my wishlist:)

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  11. I love books that grip you right away and make you want to keep turning the pages to find out what happens next and keep you thinking long after you put them down!

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  12. I can't wait to read this! The cover is so gorgeous; Lizzy Bromley did a good job! :) It sounds like a very engaging read and I adore dystopian novels. :)

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  13. I completely agree with lisasanuma on this. The fact that Stasse acknowledges the fact that the rest of the world exists is what made this book really come to life for me. In other stories (definitely not hating because I am a huge fan of dystopian novels), there was little/no reference to the outside world, which made the story more ficticious than it already was. The Forsaken was just the whole package for me. Your review for the book was exactly how I felt. While I was at a bookstore one day, the cover enticed me and I read the first few pages and was absolutely hooked. I am not a huge fan of hardback books, but I just HAD to buy it. I wish I could go into detail, but I don't want to give away any spoilers either! I just want to fast forward time to next year when #2 comes out!

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    1. Same here. I absolutely cannot wait until book two comes out. I'm excited to learn more about the world and the characters!

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  14. nice review, kris. i really curious with Dystopiant genre, i must looking forward to read this genre soon, good so many good thing about this genre :)

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    1. Thanks, Eli!

      I agree. There are so many great dystopians out there nowadays!

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  15. The cover is gorgeous! I already fall in love with the book. Really need tho grab this one! Thanks for the review

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  16. Thanks for lovely review! Now, I can't wait to read it.

    -Dannielle

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  17. Oh man, you've got me drooling to get ahold of Forsaken!! And, don't you just love books that start off with a juicy prologue :D

    Dystopians are my favorite reads, and I can already tell
    that Forsaken is going to be a keeper on MY bookshelves, too lol

    Mary DeBorde M.A.D.

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    1. Prologues are there to set the mood, so a good one is important :) Hope you enjoy this book. It's amazing!!

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  18. I have been dying to read this, and your comparison to 1984 has definitely sold me on it. Amazing review!

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  19. I have been hearing a lot about this book and just watched the trailer on your blog! can't wait to get my hands on this one.

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  20. I've been interested in the book from the synopsis and I'm absolutely in love with cover. I love how you rave about the book, it makes me even more excited to read it. I love when the reader can feel something towards all the characters, I've rarely experienced that feeling so I'm definitely looking forward to seeing how I could connect with the characters.

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  21. This is the prettiest cover ive seen all year. my distopian wish list is ever growing XD

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  22. Thanks for the review does the book justice!

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  23. Thanks for the review does the book justice!

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  24. great review!!
    I would love to read this book!! And look how amazing the cover is?!
    Thanks for the review!
    I should get this book soon, haha

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  25. Nice review :D OK so I just read the summary of this book because I kept seeing it everywhere and on Goodreads people say it's a good book so I would love to take a crack at it :D

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  26. Great review! I also keep seeing this book on Amazon and Goodreads. I can't wait to read this. :)

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  27. I can't wait to read this. Great review!

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  28. great review, it makes me want to read the book 10x more!

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  29. This book sounds awesome! And the cover is so different and awesome!

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  30. This book sounds so great! I need to get my hands on it. :)

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  31. After reading the interview with the author and then this interview, it makes me really excited to read this book. I need to get my hands on it asap, because it sounds like it's going to be a next favorite of mine. Loved the review!

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  32. Definitely my type of book! Loving the sound of it :)

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  34. Not gonna lie, Forsaken sounds amazing! I love books with great world building. So many dystopian books these days are great storywise but with spotty worlds. Thanks for the review!

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  35. Nice review. I love dystopian books. So I'm eager to read this one!

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  36. I have read many great dystopian books and I'm loving the experience. From the way you describe it, I can tell that The Forsaken will make it to my top list. The world building sound amazing and I can already imagine how great that book will be for me. Thanks a lot for your review!

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  37. This one sounds amazing! I love dystopians, so I'm definitely going to look for this one.

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  38. The Forsaken sounds like it has such an interesting concept. I'm also interested to learn about the world that Lisa M. Stasse created especially the prison island. I'm glad you loved it. I can't wait to give it a try!

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