Friday, October 7, 2011

Unforsaken by Sophie Littlefield

Hailey is one of the Banished. The women are healers and the men are seers. Hailey, her aunt Prairie and her adopted brother Chub are in hiding. Not from the other Banished, although they’d like avoid them too, but from researchers who want to use their powers as healers. If Hailey or any other healer touches someone who has died, they can bring him or her back to life, but the person’s soul will be gone. They will be like a zombie. There are men who want to sell these zombies to foreign military forces. Hailey and her boyfriend Kaz burned down the last laboratory, and they thought the man who knew how the zombies were created was burned with it. But the lab has been rebuilt, and now Prairie and Chub have been taken. It will be up to Hailey and Kaz to free them.

Unforsaken is a companion to Banished. I’m not totally sure what makes this a companion and not a sequel. It seems to have picked up shortly after the end of the last book, and involves all of the same characters. I guess you don’t have to have read the first one to understand the second, but it still seems to be more of a sequel.

Anyway, this was interesting. I mean, is was a fairly standard “girl like you and me but with powers is thrust into dangerous situation with boyfriend by her side” but it had some other stuff going on that made it a little more than that. For instance, there’s a whole town where all the Banished live. No one ever leaves, except Hailey and her family and Kaz and his mother. Because over the years the Banished have married regular humans, many don’t have strong powers. There’s a culture of drugs and alcoholism. Rattler, who is Hailey’s father, is obsessed with creating pure Banished again. He is determined to have children with as many pureblood Banished women as possible so he can repopulate the town with pureblood Banished children. This is one of the reasons that Hailey’s healing powers are so strong, because she’s pure Banished. Rattler was an interesting character. Clearly cruel and delusional, but also seemed to really love Prairie. Of course, his way of showing love was fairly awful, but there was more to his character than it first seems. I like reading background stuff like that. I think it’s interesting to know about where the characters come from and see how that makes them act.

The story itself was mostly Hailey and Kaz trying to free the others, then getting caught, just when Rattler frees Prairie, and then they have to be rescued, and so on. There’s a bit of a dramatic twist at the end that at first seems to be the end of everything but then ends up working in our heroes’ favor and they all make it out. And it seems that they’ve destroyed any traces of the zombie program, but I wouldn’t be surprised it somehow it rises again. Or maybe the next book (if there is one) will focus more on Rattler and the danger he presents. After Hailey healed him she warned him to leave them alone, but Rattler didn’t seem super intimidated, despite being shot in the chest and then healed.

Unforsaken comes out November 11.

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