Tuesday, 6 August 2013

Forsaken by Jana Oliver

Title: Forsaken
Author: Jana Oliver
Publisher: Pan Macmillan
Released: December 13th 2010
Pages: 422 (Paperback)
Buy: Amazon UK / Amazon US
Add on Goodreads 

Riley Blackthorne just needs a chance to prove herself—and that’s exactly what the demons are counting on...

Seventeen-year-old Riley, the only daughter of legendary Demon Trapper, Paul Blackthorne, has always dreamed of following in her father's footsteps. The good news is, with human society seriously disrupted by economic upheaval and Lucifer increasing the number of demons in all major cities, Atlanta’s local Trappers’ Guild needs all the help they can get—even from a girl. When she’s not keeping up with her homework or trying to manage her growing crush on fellow apprentice, Simon, Riley’s out saving distressed citizens from foul-mouthed little devils – Grade One Hellspawn only, of course, per the strict rules of the Guild. Life’s about as normal as can be for the average demon-trapping teen.

But then a Grade Five Geo-Fiend crashes Riley’s routine assignment at a library, jeopardizing her life and her chosen livelihood. And, as if that wasn’t bad enough, sudden tragedy strikes the Trappers’ Guild, spinning Riley down a more dangerous path than she ever could have imagined. As her whole world crashes down around her, who can Riley trust with her heart—and her life?

Can I just ask what is the genre of this book? Because I don't even know! It's dystopia slash post-apocalyptic slash paranormal slash whatever else! Basically, the concept of Forsaken has never been done before. It takes the normal contemporary-paranormal and puts it into a world that is familiar but only vaguely. The reader is unsure of the rules in this new world and Oliver sweeps you into it with the help of Riley, Beck, Paul and Simon. It's a rollercoaster for the imagination, if nothing else.

With Lucifer rising Hellspawn across the whole world, it is up to Demon Trappers and Demon Hunters to bring them down. Riley is an apprentice Demon Trapper living in post-apocalyptic Atlanta, following in the footsteps of her father, the great Demon Trapper Paul Blackthorne. But after a mission goes wrong, Riley is left floundering with only one of her father's apprentices to help; Denver Beck, who also happens to be her schoolgirl crush. Trying to make it to journeyman, Riley begins her training all over again, encountering new experiences at every twist and turn. But she isn't the only one encountering something new - the demons are growing stronger and working together, proving to be a much bigger problem than ever before. And there is only one name on the demons' tongues - Riley's.

I've had this book sat on my TBR shelf for a while. I've watched countless reviewers read this book and write review after breathtaking review, so finally I decided to pick it up. And now that I'm finished, I'm not entirely sure what to think. I mean, there is no doubt that the idea is pretty outrageous and a lot to pull off - which Oliver did manage to do - but what I'm uncertain about is that it felt like the synopsis promised more than what the book delivered. Not the synopsis above (thank goodness for the power that is Goodreads) but the one on the back of my book, which pretty much said she'd be fighting off these three guys. She wasn't, which I'm not sad about (we don't need another Zoey I-Have-About-Seven-Different-Boyfriends Redbird on our hands) but the romance definitely lacked when it hinted at more. And I'm not sure how it managed to lack - I mean, this book is a good 400 pages long! Yet it went by so quickly - one minute I was on page 200, and when I looked up an hour later, I was well into the 300's. Where did it all go?

Riley was a pretty good protagonist. Not the best I've read, but not the worst. She was pretty badass which is always great - I mean, you'd have to be in a profession where there are only men. So yay for feminism! But aside from that, I found her quite dry. Nothing about Riley stood out - she was an acceptable degree of whiny for a teenage girl, as well as an acceptable degree of annoying, clingy and stupid; but she wasn't amazing at anything.

The boys...meh. Beck sucked. I wanted there to be some big revelation, where he got down on his knees and professed his love to her. Instead, there were hints and frustrating encounters and he just irritated me. Same for Simon. Even Ori didn't do it for me - he sounded like he could have, but he was in it for a total of, what, three pages? So he didn't. Although the idea was good, Oliver sure could take some lessons on how to create endearing love interests.

Overall, Forsaken was slower than I would have liked, with less-than-appealing characters. However, the concept was amazing, and although I haven't mentioned it yet, the descriptions and ideas for the demons were amazing! I could picture these crazy creations in my head, which made them all the more creepy! So it's an overall three stars - not brilliant, but not bad. I think I'll pick up the next book at some point in the future, I just don't know when!
Rating: 3/5

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