As a child I was always fascinated with ancient Middle East. I think it all started with my obsession with belly dancing and the colorful outfits with the sashes the jingle as the dancer sways her hips. But as I got older I started to appreciate the more intricate details of the culture. The ancient traditions and spellbinding customs, the deep rich colors found in the spices, flowing materials and intricate architecture. Even the romanticism of a wide open desert and all the adventure that awaits, completely appeals to my wanderlust. Needless to say, I was pretty psyched when I heard about forbidden.
The research that went into this book is clearly evident in the details and world-building of the story. The way the author builds the landscape, describes the social customs and religious beliefs…even the way she details the women’s dresses and jewelry, truly show what comittment she had to making sure that every little detail was just right. As a reader, I really appreciated that. It helped me to be more invested as I was reading and in turn, allowed me to enjoy the story more.
We meet Jayden and the girl has been through some rough stuff! I mean, imagine all the worst things that could happen to you and that’s pretty much what she’s been through. Everything seems to fall apart at once and I couldn’t help but feel immediate sympathy for her. Jayden goes through some serious range of emotions and reactions to what’s happening around her, and I can’t say I blame her. I’m hoping that she continues to grow more confident and strong in the subsequent books because for most of Forbidden I found myself wishing that she would stop being so wishy-washy. One minute she’s scared and timid, and then next minute she’s aggressive and head strong. Buuuut…given Jayden’s situation I think the author did a good job of allowing the character to grow into her strength and uncover what she’s truly made of. I appreciate that Jayden didn’t go from one extreme to the other in the blink of an eye. It made the her character’s progression more believable.
One aspect that didn’t quite click with me 100% was the romance. While, it certainly wasn’t insta-love, I don’t feel like I got enough back story as to HOW the romance developed. Sure, Kadesh is super swoony and gives Jayden the total opposite of what she’s forced into with Horeb, but part of me felt like she would have fallen in love with any guy who showed even the smallest bit of respect and affection. I really wanted to understand what it was that drew Jayden and Kadesh together. Don’t get me wrong, there were so many aspects of this romance that I was really drawn to…I just need a little more detail. Granted, the guy really did step up to the plate for a family of total strangers and became the leader they all needed, so I can’t really blame Jayden for falling for him…hard.
I also would have liked more development when it came to Kadesh’s back story as well, but I have a sneaking suspicion that we’ll learn more about his past in future books. He appears out of nowhere (literally) with this vague story about where he comes from and he’s immediately shrouded in mystery. What glimpses we do get of his past are super intriguing and I’m really hoping we get some more.
Overall, I really enjoyed this book for its detail, and I really felt as though I learned a bit more about ancient Mesopotamia. There aren’t many YA books out there that take place during this time period. According to The Age of YA timeline courtesy of Epic Reads, it’s actually one of the few books set during this time, 1759 BC to be exact. It made for a unique setting for a historical young adult novel and I’m now itching for more. I also enjoyed the story of Jayden and Kadesh and look forward to learning more about their pasts and how they are going to navigate their future together.
Forbidden by Kimberley Griffiths Little
Published: November 4th 2014 by Harpercollins
Pages: 397 | Format: Hardcover | Source: Purchased
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.