Monday, October 27, 2014

Early Review: Forbidden by Kimberley Griffiths Little

by Kimberley Griffiths Little
Read: May 20 - 21, 2014
Published: November 4, 2014 by Harpercollins (YA)
Source: Edelweiss (Thank you, HC!)
Category: Historical fiction, Ancient Near East/Babylon, Romance, YA

Series: Unconfirmed, but assuming this is part of a series. 
Find: Goodreads | Amazon

In the unforgiving Mesopotamian desert where Jayden’s tribe lives, betrothal celebrations abound, and tonight it is Jayden’s turn to be honored. But while this union with Horeb, the son of her tribe’s leader, will bring a life of riches and restore her family’s position within the tribe, it will come at the price of Jayden’s heart. 

Then a shadowy boy from the Southern Lands appears. Handsome and mysterious, Kadesh fills Jayden’s heart with a passion she never knew possible. But with Horeb’s increasingly violent threats haunting Jayden’s every move, she knows she must find a way to escape—or die trying. 

With a forbidden romance blossoming in her heart and her family’s survival on the line, Jayden must embark on a deadly journey to save the ones she loves—and find a true love for herself.

Set against the brilliant backdrop of the sprawling desert, the story of Jayden and Kadesh will leave readers absolutely breathless as they defy the odds and risk it all to be together.

Forbidden is a sensory experience. I could feel the gritty sand, desert heat, and silks adorning the women as they danced, I could taste the sweet relief of water after reaching a well and smell the incense in the temple. I very much enjoyed the historical Mesopotamian setting, especially the descriptions of the desert women's culture and how that contrasted with the polished beauty of temple of Ashoreth. This book allows the reader to sense Jayden's ancient world, creating a lush and lively texture that pops off the page. 

In this world of sand and silks, Jayden doesn't have an easy life. She is betrothed to a man she doesn't like, whose behavior has become increasingly worrisome the more he focuses on gaining power in their tribe. Jayden's family suffers multiple tragedies and she has to give up a lot to ensure their survival. I like that Jayden does her best not to complain, loves and protects her sisters, and always tries to do what she feels is right. Despite this, I wasn't as interested in the Sahmril storyline that drives the plot near the end of the book. It didn't really grab me, though I do appreciate Jayden's persistent dedication to her sister. 

It was fun to watch Jayden meet an amazing man and fall in love with him, no matter how much she tries to protest it. I enjoyed Jayden and Kadesh's romance, though it does begin quickly and I wish we'd been able to watch it build a little more before they were in undying love. I hope that we're able to get to know Kadesh better in the next book, and see where he's from.  His background is intriguing, and I want to know more about it. 

As a lover of history, I'm always curious how much of the setting and customs are accurate in a historical based book like this one. How much research did the author do? Did she intend for this story to capture just the flavor of a past time, or be rooted in actual events/history.  I spent a fair bit of time while reading Forbidden, wondering about the accuracy of the history in this book, including some of the characters mentioned. I wish the author had provided a note explaining her research (This is unconfirmed, but I have been told that the final version of the book will have an author's note). 

Some of Jayden's people's customs - following one God, shunning Ashoreth and being called people of Abraham, make them sound Hebrew, or at least heavily influenced by them. Is Abimelech - the leader of Jayden's tribe - the same man who encounters Abraham in the Bible? I wanted more details on time period and setting, and to know whether this was a purposeful connection. Though granted, probably very few people will even notice or care about this. Also, both the Queen of Sheba and Hammurabi are mentioned as contemporaries of this time period, but as far as I know, they lived hundreds of years apart. 

I was confused about some of the details concerning timing and distance in this book. From what I could gather, the story takes place over about a year. I like that the plot builds over time, but there were a few time jumps that threw me off a bit, especially near the end. It seemed like some journeys took less time than they should have. It got somewhat jumbled in my head, though perhaps it was my own misunderstanding. I'd also love to see a map in this story!  

Forbidden definitely ends on a cliffhanger. It's one of those endings that only makes sense if there is going to be a next installment.  I haven't seen mention of another book, but I very much hope - and assume - there will be one! Despite some hesitations with the plot and history, I'm looking forward to continuing Jayden and Kadesh's story. 

Love Triangle Factor: None
Cliffhanger Scale: Medium


  1. I haven't heard of this one and while it contains a looot of promise and I love the sound of these characters, their romance, and their world, I think I'm going to wait to see how this series plays out before diving in. I really need my world-building to be solid so waiting until some confirmation on the historical accuracy of this can be found is probably my best bet, as is waiting to see if Kadesh becomes more fleshed out in the sequel as I'd hate if that didn't happen. Thanks for putting this on my radar, Lauren! :)

  2. I started this one and had to set it aside Lauren. I could tell it was going to be a bit darker (and I may or may not have skipped ahead to the end ;-)), and I'd just finished a whole string of grittier reads and wanted something that, at the very least, ended well. This was not that book:) I'm hoping there's going to be a second book as you are, and if there is, I think I'll go back and give this one another try when I'm in the right mood for it!

  3. Great review Lauren. <3 I'm so glad you enjoyed this book. I have heard from the author that this is a series :D So more books are coming ;p I'm still unsure about reading this.. I tried, months ago, did not read much :( but I have a print ARC. I must read it. Soon. I hope. Sigh. I just. I am worried that I will hate it.. but it gives me a bit more hope that you enjoyed it :) Thank you for sharing sweetie. <3 BUT WAIT. It takes place over a whole year? UGH. I will not like that at all :(

  4. I'm trying to read this book right now and so far the first two chapters haven't pulled me in yet. I do hope that changes! I think it might be my own fault more than anything - I'm a little burnt out on YA at the moment, plus I have a few books I'm dying to read but have to wait until they're released. That always makes it hard to pick up something else.
    Anyway, lovely review, L! The setting is definitely intriguing so far, and I can't wait to meet the boy. :)

  5. Ok, so with this one: I love this cover and the fact that it is YA historical makes me interested. So there's that. However, I've seen another review that mentions LOVING the sensory and historical but that the romance is just off. Instalove, no build-up, that sort of thing. ALSO, there is another book on goodreads to follow this one. Banished, I believe it is. I looked it up yesterday. I didn't realize there is a cliffhanger, but I read that the ending is unresolved and open, so a cliffhanger makes sense. I kind of am curious about this one, but given the cliffhanger I would rather wait until Banished is out (IN 2016, good gracious). I would be curious about the detailing you mention too. I really wish an Author's Note would be included in early copies if they are in finals, but I realize that cannot always be the case. This is a really great review.


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