When I was in college I took a class, I couldn’t tell you what class it was, in particular, I can’t remember, but during the course of this class, I had an assignment. This assignment was to discuss whether or not self-plagiarism was indeed a real thing.
This was the first time I’d ever encountered the concept, and as a result, I vehemently denied its existence. After all, how can you rip yourself off? After all, plagiarism is the act of taking someone else’s work and passing it off as our own. But you can’t take your own work and pass it off as your own. It is your work.
After today… I would like to apologize to that professor for how absolutely wrong I was in that paper.
With that out of the way… let’s get started.
This is Forsaken, book 1 of the Forsaken Saga by Sofia Sharp.
DNF Percentage: ~20%
So, I found the Forsaken Saga through recommendations on Audible. I’ve found some pretty good books that way, but… that’s also how I found Skyborn.
Now, the cover is nothing to write home about. YA Heroine in a pretty dress while the breeze blows. Seen it. The blue rose is cute. The cover of the version I bought is the same, though I got the complete 4 book series.
It’s fine. Whatever. Not everyone needs the most original cover in the world, though it would be nice to have something different. Though, given what happened with Skyborn… generic covers can be fine too. (Though in reality it wasn’t all that original either *coughcough*)
So, whatever. Let’s look at the summary.
Nora Colburn was perfectly content in life. A junior in high school, she had good friends, a great family, and did well in school. Nothing particularly exciting ever happened where she lived, and everything was stable.
But that all drastically changes when a new student arrives at Nora’s school. Wild rumors swirl about his past, and Nora becomes determined to find out the truth.
As she gets to know the mysterious student, he shares with her an ancient secret… one that may yet put both of them in grave danger.
And for the first time in her life, Nora is exposed to a completely unfamiliar world. She is swept away on an exhilarating journey that takes her to a place where romance and great destiny may yet await… and where supernatural powers run wild.
Okay, that’s pretty decent. Again, the new student thing is kind of generic. Whatever, I don’t mind cliché. Cliché can be fun. I love clichés when they’re done right. I’m a sucker for urban fantasy so I signed on.
I started to wonder if Sofia Sharp had any other books, or if this is her only series. So, I popped over to her Amazon page. According to that, there’s only the four. But, when I went to her Goodreads page, it looked like there were three more! Their covers… were really similar the covers for the Forsaken Saga. I didn’t think much of it at first. Some people have a particular taste for their own covers, and I just guessed that was her style. I can’t judge. All of my covers are painted by my creative partner, and damn do I love that look over real pictures.
So, I found out Shattered was the first book in that series. The series name intrigued me, The Dream Realms Trilogy.
Alright, what’s the summary for Shattered?? Maybe I’ll like it more.
Laura Cubus was perfectly content with her life. A junior in high school, she felt perfectly normal. She had good friends, a great family, and did well in school. Nothing particularly exciting ever happened where she lived, and everything was stable.
But that all drastically changes when a new student arrives at Laura’s school. Wild rumours swirl about his past, and Laura becomes determined to find out the truth.
As she gets to know the mysterious student, he shares with her an ancient secret… one that may yet put both of them in grave danger.
And for the first time in her life, Laura is exposed to a completely unfamiliar world. She is swept away on an exhilarating journey that takes to a place where romance and great destiny may yet await… and where supernatural powers run rampant.
That can’t be right.
Oh…….. my god.
I’m really not kidding. Here’s an actual screenshot of them side-by-side.
I’ll be honest, I found all of this out AFTER I DNF’d, so I guess I ruined the magic of it, but now you know exactly what kind of nonsense I got myself into.
So… let’s get into the actual book, how about that?
So, the book starts with the boring world with boring things where the main character stares at a boy she likes.
Nora had been hopelessly infatuated with him ever since entering high school. Back then, he was the shy kid sitting at the back of the class, the one who got picked on for being too small, for having hair too long. Back then, she had been his only friend. They sat together that year in English class, and Nora’s heart would start to pound every time he came near. She was sure he felt something for her, but in their youthful innocence neither had the courage to do anything about it.
That had all faded the following year, when Brady came back to school tall, fit, and muscular. He had hit an unexpected growth spurt. Suddenly the same boy who had been picked on the year before transformed into the most popular guy in school.
Okay, I guess that’s fine. She likes a guy. Cool. He’s obviously not the love interest, even if you know the summary it’s obvious she won’t end up with him. This is just the original part of the love triangle. Five to one he’s really a creep, or he finds out he does like Nora, but only after she’s pledged her soul to the real love interest.
Alright let’s move on and find that plot it’s got to be somewhere around he…
Nora thought she had some advantage, at first, for having known him before that summer transformation. But she learned it afforded her little in the way of standing out. Now, three years later, she was just one in a legion of adoring Brady Lowe fans.
Wait… three years? Didn’t you just establish that Freshman year he was a tiny nerd and Sophomore year he was a beefy jock? Are you trying to say she’s spent 3 years pining? This reads “it’s been three years since he changed” to me. Or did he change before high school? Way to be insanely vague in just the first 10 paragraphs. Now my brain is mush and I won’t care.
Oh wait… I didn’t care. I don’t care about some girl sighing over some boy. Not when I was promised Urban Fantasy.
So Nora’s friend Molly mentions they got some letter in the mail about a new student.
Do… do schools do that?? I’ve moved before but.. I can’t recall anyone ever saying they heard about it by letter.
Alright… let’s just try to move on. So they gossip about the new kid, they don’t know if it’s a girl or a guy, there’s… just a lot wrong with the conversation. Molly calls the student a he, Nora counters it could be a girl.
Then, without even establishing there’s anyone else at the table, someone named Stacy speaks. I had to double take. Who the fuck is Stacy? Why didn’t you mention who all is at the table? Are there more?
Yes! Supposedly. I don’t know who the hell “Everybody” is, but they all laugh at the following joke.
“Here? Nuh-uh.” Molly frowned as she spoke. “Maybe somewhere ghetto, like New York, but here on the west coast the girls are all the same. All like us. Pretty, Petite–”
“–and delicate.” Nora Finished the sentence, smiling.
Casual Racism and Sexism is so funny!!!!!! Everyone laugh!!!!! Because the entirety of the west coast is just one homogenized society!!!!! Everyone is cookie cutter! Even though two of the girls so far have been described as polar opposites!
Also, clearly the author has no idea that there’s a New York outside of the city. A majority of the state is nothing like the city.
Oh boy, now there’s fourth girl! A mysterious Kelly. Whatever. Establishing your surroundings is for pussies.
We find out that new kid got expelled from other schools. They gossip about why that could possibly be. And then the chapter ends. … Yaaaaaay.
We start with the following Monday. Nora goes to school, gets in trouble for daydreaming, and then the new kid shows up. She watches him go to his seat. And then of all things… this happens.
“Daydreaming again, Miss Colburn?”
Nora spun around and found Mrs. Millburn standing right in front of her desk, staring daggers at her. Her stomach clenched in response.
“Or perhaps, Mr. Geralds over there caught your attention?” Mrs. Millburn paused, allowing the snickers to ripple through the classroom. Nora’s cheeks grew hot. “Since you seem to have taken such a personal interest in him, maybe I should task you with getting him caught up in class, hmm?”
WHAT!?!?!? This is the most contrived bullshit I’ve ever seen. Okay, hyperbole, but still! This makes no sense. It’s just a nonsense reason for Nora to have to spend detentions with this kid. You can’t give a student a detention for LOOKING AT THE NEW STUDENT. You know who else would be staring?! Everyone!! As someone who has been the new kid, EVERYONE STARES. It’s not going to just be poor little Nora!
Oh, then the chapter ends.
… it’s the end of the day.
We get a flashback to Molly talking about the boy. Why not just… have that happen instead of the weird italics at the beginning? It would make more sense.
Whatever, we see the boy’s face for the first time.
His skin was pure white and reflected the light strongly. It wasn’t a sickly white.
How?? That sounds sickly to me.
It reminded her more of the strong, clean white, she would imagine on a magnificent steed.
Uh, bestiality much?? That still sounds sickly to me.
His eyes were sharp and dark and set deeply into a strong, lean face. If Nora hadn’t known he was her age, she would have guessed him to be in his early twenties. He looked more a man than a boy.
That’s because he is a man. He’s a grown ass man pretending to be a high schooler and he’s about to try to hook up with a 16-year-old. Because that’s what every teenager should want.
He moves slowly and acts like a jackass. He blames her for the teacher being a dick. He literally growls and glares at her with supernatural rage. Then, of course, acts like nothing happened. She even tells him his eyes “appeared to be raging.” Because a 16-year-old talks like that He literally laughs in her face.
So we find out his name is Hunter, and yeah, of course it is. He’s clearly a fucking vampire and his name is Hunter. Whatever.
Somehow we come to the conclusion by the end of the chapter that…
Nora didn’t think she would dread her new extra-curricular activity anymore. Who knows? Maybe Hunter could even become a friend?
OH BOY IT’S THURSDAY AND THEY’RE FRIENDS. I’m so glad there’s no character development, or interaction, and we don’t see them become friends. That’s just what I like in my books.
Also, the author uses the phrase “on account of” what is this? The old west?
Okay, so we’re getting to the point that I stopped. This whole chapter is a big ball of what the fuck. So her locker gets jammed… Brady comes to help… and some… big dude grabs her ass. Brady acts like he has no idea who she is. I guess he has really short-term memory? Two more dudes come up. And… well, it’s… uh… it’s a pretty classic sexual harassment, possible rape scenario.
Think Bella and the dudes in Twilight, except… you know… dumber.
I’m not going to include any quotes from this to avoid triggering anyone. It was seriously weird and uncomfortable. I should have marked exactly where I stopped because I feel like I got further than this but… this is physically exhausting oh my god.
Because honestly… Hunter obviously comes and saves her… and Nora screams at him. She tells him off for saving her… from getting raped. Gang raped. This is the first big hint Hunter isn’t human and… I just can’t give a shit.
“What happens next time I’m alone, Hunter? I didn’t ask you to help me. You just made it worse!”
Hunter balked “I made it worse?”
“Yes you made it worse! You think they’ll go after you? They saw you fight. No way in hell. They’re going to wait until I’m alone and do the same thing, but even worse! You had no right to interfere. You had no right to do what you did!”
“And without me, Nora,” Hunter said quietly, “what would you have done?”
“I don’t know.” The tears she was struggling to control threatened to choke her, and she had to bite off the end of every word. “But I know I wouldn’t be terrified of being alone!”
As someone who has been sexually harassed… yeah, bitch. If they’d gone through with what they did, you’d be TERRIFIED to be alone. You are the worst kind of person! You’re not just victim blaming, you’re savior blaming??? A thing I didn’t know was possible.
How daaaaare you save me from rape! I will never forgive you!
Oh, then she punches him in the stomach and cries.
Nora goes home and cries, and realizes she’s a little shit. So… what’s the point of her being a little shit? Why not just… not and then she’s awed over his power? She’s concerned cuz he’s a badass and now he’ll get kicked out again because it’s 4 vs 2, and we all know how sports players get bias when it comes to accusations against them.
But no, we had to get the stereotypical sexual assault that so much YA just has to have.
This next part is… really confusing and made abso-fucking-lutely no sense. Buckle up.
So, Hunter is absent, and someone is murdered. Nora’s friends tell the story as stupidly as possible to pad the chapter but the story goes like this:
Two dudes got in a fight at the movie theater. They took the fight outside. One guy died.
Apparently, the person killed was a hitman. Why… was…… there……. a hitman? How do the police know it’s a hitman after less than 24 hours unless they’re super notorious, but being super notorious doesn’t make it easy to be an actual hitman? Also, why would the police release all this info after less than 24 hours?
Why did no one call the cops when the two dudes fighting in public? That’s a pretty public disturbance? They say it’s because people were too scared to interfere. But this is a small town where nothing exciting happens. Why didn’t anyone call the cops?
The hitman is found later with no blood. Two holes in his neck like bite marks.
They throw out the word vampire and laugh it off.
Apparently, the police blame an animal. Because… of course they do. The police don’t think the other guy is important at all.
So, Hunter comes back to school, and suddenly he looks different! He’s got a trench coat and his hair looks better, and he doesn’t look as white. He doesn’t seem like the anxious dude from before. Now he’s confident suave, and sexy, like all generic love interests in YA.
Hunter apologizes for “saving her without her consent.”
Then… he tells her he can show her how the dude who almost sexually assaulted her the day before feels about her.
You know. Because that’s something she would want to know now.
She takes his hand and…
A flood of thoughts erupted into her mind. They were not her own.
It was commotion. Mayhem. A thousand different voices cried out disjointedly, each clamoring for attention. It felt like her head would explode. Images completely foreign to her flashed through her mind. None were there long enough for her to make them out.
There wasn’t enough room. The other thoughts trampled through her head, until she thought she would lose herself in the uproar. Her own voice cried out to her, but was just as quickly lost in the turmoil.
She felt disoriented. Where was she? Who was she? The link. She saw her hand touching another. Whose hand is that? She couldn’t tell. Her sense of self-awareness was fading. Her conception of herself was fading. She didn’t know how much longer…
Then it stops and they talk about WHAT THE FUCK HE JUST DID TO HER MIND!!! You wanna talk about consent? YOU didn’t tell her you were going tO MIND FUCK HER. You just asked if she trusted you. Which, honestly, I wouldn’t.
Turns out those were… thoughts.
A vampire. In the Pacific Northwest. Who can read thoughts.
Okay, not exactly. He can’t make sense of them, he can just “transfer” them to another person.
This was where I gave up. They have the goddamn “No one would believe you if you told them” conversation with her saying she wouldn’t tell anyone and thanks him for showing her his ‘gift.’ A gift he calls a curse.
I’ll say it again.
So through other reviews, I guess Hunter is a 400-year-old vampire who ENROLLED HIMSELF IN HIGH SCHOOL. He doesn’t even have the excuse of looking 17 like Edward Cullen. Nora herself says he looks like a man, not a teenager. There’s only one reason a man would enroll himself in high school and pretend to be a teen.
I don’t care what the legal age of consent is in Washington, where the book takes place. (Okay, I do care, it’s 16, that explains why the author clearly thinks this is okay). No one under the age of 18 should be in a relationship with someone over the age of 18, at least not a sexual relationship.
Oh well, they don’t have sex in the first book, I hear you say.
Well, you can fuck off. He’s literally 400 years older than her.
In conclusion… fuck Sofia Sharp’s self-plagiarism bullshit. People actually bought the Dream Realms Trilogy. People bought the Forsaken Saga. Sofia Sharp scammed up to 1.5 thousand people. (The total number of people who have left ratings for Forsaken.)
If you want to read it for yourself, go check out the complete collection. I don’t know if it’s some algorithm because there are actually five books in the collection (there’s a “bonus book”, but you can read the entirety of the 1st book if you check out the “view inside” or send a sample to your Kindle library. In fact, it goes all the way through chapter 9 of the 2nd book.
If you finish it… let me know what the hell the author was smoking so I don’t accidentally take a hit myself.