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I Belong

Early Review: Forbidden by Cathy Clamp

Forbidden CCTitle: Forbidden

Author: Cathy Clamp

Genre: Urban Fantasy

Series: Luna Lake (Book #1)

Publication Date: August 18, 2015

Format: Paperback, 352 Pages

ISBN-10: 0765377209 (Tor/Macmillan)

ISBN-13: 978-0765377203 (Tor/Macmillan)

Reviewed by: Kristie


USA Today bestselling author Cathy Clamp reboots the Sazi universe in Forbidden, a tightly-paced, high-tension urban fantasy thriller.

Ten years have passed since the war that destroyed the Sazi Council and inflicted a horrible “cure” on thousands of Sazi, robbing them of their ability to shapeshift.

Luna Lake, isolated in Washington State, started as a refugee camp for Sazi orphans. Now it’s a small town and those refugees are young adults, chafing at the limits set by their still-fearful guardians.

There’s reason to fear: Sazi children are being kidnapped. Claire, a red wolf shifter, is sent to investigate. Held prisoner by the Snakes during childhood, Claire is distrusted by those who call Luna Lake home.

Before the war, Alek was part of a wolf pack in Chicago. In Luna Lake he was adopted by a parliament of Owls, defying Sazi tradition. The kidnappings are a painful reminder that his little sister disappeared a decade ago.

When Claire and Alek meet, sparks fly—but the desperate race to find the missing children forces them to set aside their mutual attraction and focus on the future of their people.

Quick & Dirty: Dark, eerie and mysterious urban fantasy/paranormal romance mixture. This novel was full of mystery and action so it didn’t slow down one bit. The amount of abuse the main character does through may turn readers away.

Opening Sentence: Fear wasn’t something Claire Evans thought she’d ever feel again, but an all-too-familiar buzzing filled her ears while bile rose into her throat.

Excerpt: Yes

The Review:

Forbidden is an urban fantasy novel set in a strange paranormal world unlike anything I have ever seen before. This world is shrouded in mystery, tragedy and terror. If you dislike abuse of any kind, you may want to stay away from this novel. The amount of abuse that the main character goes through was infuriating even though it is demonstrated to show how terrible the things in Luna Lake have gotten out of hand. Forbidden is a spin-off of the paranormal romance Tales of the Sazi by C.T. Adams and Cathy Clamp. It is set ten years after a virus tore apart the Sazi community. Sadly, I haven’t read this series but Forbidden has me intrigued enough that I really want to see how this world began and what it was like before the virus.

Claire Evans, red wolf and Wolven agent, is going undercover in Luna Lake to investigate the disappearances of children and to find out what exactly is going on in this remote Sazi settlement. Luna Lake is an oddity in the Sazi world, a settlement that combines all races of shapeshifters. The shapeshifters often don’t get along and separate themselves to keep them from hunting each other. As soon as Claire arrives in Luna Lake she can tell all isn’t as it should be. She is attacked by a mysterious black force. The townfolk seem to like her but that soon changes.

Alek moved to Luna Lake when it was created. He was in his middle teens at the time. Alek and his brother, also wolves, were raised by a pack of Owls. Alek has no idea what is going on in Luna Lake. When he meets Claire he is immediately drawn to her and her strength.

Claire is designated as an Omega in an unfair test. Why is this important? Omega status is basically a town slave (just in Luna Lake). Omega’s do all the cleaning and chores in town. Omega’s also get the living daylights beaten out of them on a daily basis. Claire is strong enough to take the beatings but she has to take them in order to find out the crazy mystery in town.

I like a good mystery but the mystery in this novel drove me crazy. It seemed like absolutely no questions were being answered, just more and more questions were getting piled up. Then to top it off the townspeople were forgetting important things i.e. Missing Children! What?!? What is going on here?

I will say, between the crazy mystery and actual action scenes this book doesn’t slow down. The actual events of the novel taken place in less than a week’s span of time. I was entirely engrossed and I had to know how this novel was going to end. Also, the main villain was quite different from anything I had seen before.

The setting is bleak and remote and it really translates to how Luna Lake is seemingly outside of the rule of the other paranormals in this world. There is a real hierarchy to the shapeshifters and how they operate within their own packs and how the phases of the moon allow certain people to shift over others. The one thing I thought was funny, was how they could talk in their shifted forms. I broke down laughing over trying to see in my mind’s eye a wolf, owl, and cougar talking.

I was a little indifferent towards Claire. I waffled between really liking her and just thinking she was a wallflower. Yeah, she solved the mystery but she took a lot of beatings and kept justifying it because she couldn’t reveal why she was in Luna Lake to begin with. As for her relationship with Alek, I thought it was a little electric and I was shocked on how that played out later. Even the romantic structure was a bit weird for me so I’m a little iffy on if this series will stay with Claire and Alek or move on to someone else. It was definitely written more like a paranormal romance with Claire and Alek both getting their own third person point of views.

Overall, I would recommend this to urban fantasy/paranormal romance readers who want to try something a little different with shapeshifters. The synopsis says this is an urban fantasy and not a paranormal romance like the previous series was so I am really intrigued about what is next.

Notable Scene:

“Let me explain how things work up here, Ms. Sanchez.” The chief’s voice grew rough, his scent angry to the point of fury. “You’re the Omega. You’re nothing. You have no rank, no prestige, no standing until you earn some. You will swear your allegiance to Mayor Monk, as your Alpha, for the remainder of your stay here and will have no contact with your old pack.” She felt a moment of panic, did her best to suppress it. “You will not meet the eyes of any other pack member, regardless of their gender, rank, age, or species.” In a blur of motion, her head rocked to the opposite side from a second vicious slap, and white flowers erupted in her brain. This time she did fall, her knees slamming into the floor with a shock of pain. “You don’t seem to understand your station. You looked at the principal, the secretary, nearly every teacher in school today, along with the waitress in the restaurant.”

Wait. What? How was she supposed to serve food if she could only stare at the floor? “You are forbidden to interact with any town resident for the next week other than the mayor, me and Rachel, who will be your guide during your training. You will listen and do as you’re told, when you’re told, and how you’re told. You are forbidden to refuse or disobey direct orders and will do whatever you’re instructed to do by your superiors.”

Within reason, surely, she thought. The mayor was in her mind in an instant; she screamed and raised her hands to her ears, feeling that her brain was going to explode. The chief kicked her backward sharply, sending her sprawling on the floor, and pulled out of head at the same time. She remained where she landed, mostly because his foot came down on her throat.

She fought to breathe and tried to turn her head so she could get air. He ground his foot on her neck in response. “You breathe when I let you, Claire. You think what your Alpha allows you to think. There is no within reason in this town. Do you understand?”

Claire didn’t answer, wasn’t sure if it was another trick. How had the chief known what had been in her mind? Who was the Alpha here? She held her breath until she couldn’t anymore, keeping her eyes on the ceiling, not meeting his eyes.

He lifted his foot, seeming to be satisfied. “You may answer.”

It took two tries to get her jaw to work. When she spoke, she made sure there was no fear in her voice, only anger. That seemed to both amuse and excite him. “Yes.”

Luna Lake Series:

1. Forbidden


FTC Advisory: Cathy Clamp graciously provided me with a copy of Forbidden. No goody bags, sponsorships, “material connections,” or bribes were exchanged for my review.



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