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