****FINAL RATING: 3.75 STARS****CATCHALLI'm not sure where to begin. There's no doubt in my mind that I absolutely loved The Forsaken—but I also had some issues with it too. To begin with, it is too similar to many dystopians that are out. A bit…formulaic, if you will. Definitely different and fun, but while it was special it lacks that bit of extra oomph I look for. I thought it was a lot of fun and I absolutely loved it. So don't get me wrong. It was a crazy-awesome book, but it could have been better.THE HEROINE ALENNAAlenna is a sweet girl, if too naïve at first. She annoyed me for the first part of the book, but once she adjusts to living of the Wheel, and wanting to learn what happened to her parents and who she is, she really steps up to the plate and gets stronger. she makes mistakes, sure, but that's what makes her so human. She isn't perfect, even though at times she tries to be. She's an incredibly relatable heroine and really identifiable. I found myself wanting what she wanted and hoping what she hoped for. I rarely make that type of super strong connection to a character.THE LOVE INTEREST LIAMLiam is wonderful, if a bit stereotypical and too perfect. He's pretty much the Ideal Man, the best at absolutely everything and one of the village's best assets. Everyone loves him. Everyone also either wants to be with him or get with him. Well, not everyone, but it usually seems that way. You get the idea. I will admit that I find the idea of him very appealing, and though I think his character could have been explored more Lisa did a good job with his development. He has a background story, which is great, and clearly an interesting future ahead of him.THE FRIENDSGADYAAhhh. I liked Gayda at first, because she befriended Alenna and took her under her wing when she was alone. Then she made a one-eighty and turned out to be a two-faced bipolar freak who was a close friend to Alenna one moment and plotting her demise the next. I couldn't stand her. I wanted to like her, but I absolutely couldn't. She drove me crazy, and not in a good way.DAVIDDavid is smart, clearly, and as one of the first characters we really meet in the novel we see him more and more often as time goes on. I certainly didn't expect him to be as important as he is, and his role is completely dynamic. I hope to see more of him in the future installments. A wonderfully fleshed-out character, but despite all we learn about him I imagine he still has his secrets. And I for one can't wait to learn them.VEIDMANI actually liked Veidman, and I would've wanted to learn more about him. He was an extremely interesting character. A leader, but also just a boy. Strong but still vulnerable, and probably hiding some secrets that we may or may not learn. Dynamic.SINXENSinxen may have been among my favorite characters, because he has a spectacular character arc. When we meet him he's playful and flirty—by his final scene all hints of that are gone, replaced by someone new. Stronger. A warrior who isn't afraid to give his life. I loved him.THE PLOTLike I said, rather formulaic. The plot was different, but also not. Does that makes any sense? If it doesn't, don't tell me.I mean, there were totally some entirely unique aspects. But at the same time, a lot of things had a feel that was a but too familiar to be comfortable. Still, I liked it better than the dystopian Matched, and that one was arguably more unique.The Forsaken had a plot that constantly bounced from place to place, action at every moment. Not too much info in this one, not too much background. Just enough to keep the story moving along smoothly, to keep everyone from getting confused.Some things? Too coincidental. Yet somehow, these things worked. Sometimes they worked out too perfectly—but thy worked out. And I guess that's what matters.Alenna's totalitarian government is different and also not. I never expected the revelation about the Minister, or about learning what really happened to the people who disappeared. and the unique elements like the feelers kept me on my toes, always guessing as to what would happen next. Constantly waiting, eagerly. Impatiently.THE ROMANCEThe romance was—well, unfortunately it kind of falls under the instalove category. It just didn't really ring realistically to me. Liam and Alenna definitely have chemistry…but chemistry isn't always enough. There wasn't enough development for me to be satisfied. I could have dealt with some feelings being existent, but the whole falling in love thing was totally lost on me because it just didn't work.THE WRITINGiLisa has lovely and beautiful writing. Alenna's voice could use some work—it definitely wobbles, but it also sounds the way I imagine it would. She doesn't always sound genuine or stay true to herself. Still, even so, her voice is pretty wonderfully developed and she sounds like a human girl who goes through fear and tragedy and loss and such while growing a backbone at the same time. And the description is perfect. There is nothing and no one in this book I can't picture.THE ENDINGThe ending was bittersweet. There's some sadness, but mostly happiness and hope for the future. I love the note this book ends on. Actually, it's perfect. There's rising action to the climax and then falling action to meet the ending. Which, as aforementioned, is perfect. I like that there's not a major cliffhanger. It left me wanting to know what's next, but not too desperate. There was also something that was expected, and something that wasn't. The best combination, since, like, ever.WRAPUPUnless you're sick of dystopians and never want to see another one ever again, I honestly and heartfeltly (Is that a word? I don't think so, but oh well.) recommend The Forsaken. It has a likable heroine and a sexy love interest, and the plot is tense and exciting. Though it's far from perfect and I'll be looking for more in the sequels, I think that this is such an exciting book that it's bound to be popular among both boys and girls. A brill debut by Lisa Stasse!FINE.Find more of my reviews on Sparkles and Lightning!