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I Belong

Review: Forbidden by Kimberley Griffiths Little

Forbidden KGLTitleForbidden

AuthorKimberley Griffiths Little

Genre: YA Historical Fiction

Series: Forbidden (Book #1)

Publication Date: November 4, 2014

Format: Hardcover, 400 Pages

ISBN-10: 0062194976 (HarperTeen)

ISBN-13: 978-0062194978 (HarperTeen)

Reviewed by: Kaitlin


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 finish the deadly journey to save the ones she loves—and find true love for herself.

Quick & Dirty: I enjoyed Forbidden with its rich culture and detail, though the dialogue felt forced and awkward to me.

Opening Sentence: Tonight was the night of my betrothal ceremony.

Excerpt: Yes

The Review:

In Forbidden, Jayden has been put in a marriage she does not want. She despises the man she is betrothed to, despite him being a prince and future king of their clan, as they wander the deserts. Then she meets Kadesh. He ignites something in her that Horeb has never done, but they can never work out. As this happens, she is also trying to reclaim her baby sister, stop her sister from joining the temples, and follow her mother’s dying wishes.

The dialogue in this novel felt super forced. The sentences people said didn’t seem realistic, and it wasn’t just because they were in a different time period or country. No, it just sounded weird. That was one of my more major problems with the novel, and it got pretty annoying after awhile. It’s like if I wanted to invite my friend over. I might ask, “want to hang out?” I wouldn’t say something like, “should you have the time later on in the day, you may stop by my humble abode.” It was awkward. It took simple phrases and lengthened them to odd sentence forms. I don’t know if the author was going for the whole old timey Baylonian talk — if so, it backfired. Here’s an example. “It’d be a relief for him, not to have to fend for his daughters, don’t you think?” Couldn’t that have been phrased in a way that flowed smoother? Another smaller thing about the dialogue was that they used different words than we might in today’s society, but that didn’t bother me. “Birthing hole” made me laugh, though.

The culture of the Babylonians and Mesopotamian desert people was one thing that I did enjoy learning about. A lot of it was centered around dancing, and it was fun to see all the rites and ways they celebrated their religion. The whole book there was this problem with Leila wanting to join this temple in a city, where their mother would have forbidden her to go. In this temple the women are basically religious prostitutes that dance for groups of men, who then choose which they’d like to sleep with. It was interesting how they honored their gods, but I can’t say I approved. In their culture, they also have a lot of arranged marriages, which is what Jayden is dealing with, and it was hard to watch as she fought to escape her betrothal to a character whom, frankly, disgusted me. Not in looks, but in personality and actions.

Horeb was one of the sleeziest, most horrible characters I’ve ever had the misfortune to read about. I despised him with a passion. There were many things he did to Jayden that were so wrong, in so many ways: flirting with other girls as well as sleeping with them, attempting to rape her on numerous occasions (which, by the way, Jayden handled well. You go girl! She never gave in.), and “marking” her with a knife as his wife, the way one might brand a cow. He was a disgusting excuse for a human. He had no merits, whatsoever, and his jealousy and lust are his worst attributes as well as his largest. Other characters were better, such as the main character, Jayden. I respected how she handled her love for Kodesh. She didn’t fall in love with him instantly, no. It took months together before they admitted their feelings, which was realistic, and I enjoyed seeing them grow as a couple. She never gave up, though her personality was somewhat cookie-cutter. I also loved her mother, who died very early on in the novel and stayed with Jayden the entire novel. I loved how Jayden continued to look towards her for guidance long after her death.

Altogether, I found this novel an enjoyable interpretation of the Mesopotamian desert and Babylonia. I liked the rich descriptions of culture and enjoyed the slow romance. It was a little long and sometimes dragged, but once you reach a certain point in the book, everything blows up. Jayden is truly left at a horrible place by the end of the book, and I thought it was a standalone until the last page, so I was upset with the ending until I realized there would be another book to wrap everything up nicer. It was dark, intense, and unique. I enjoyed it, despite the awkward dialogue, and felt strongly about certain characters, which proves I was engaged. I’d recommend this to lovers of ancient culture and forbidden romance!

Notable Scene:

My mother’s face grew thoughtful. “There are times, Jayden, when a woman’s emotions run higher and fuller than the waves on the Gulf of Akabah, threatening to drag her to the bottom and drown her.”

“And what does she do to stop it?” I whispered.

“She prays and smiles and greets it with a strong heart.”

“I think I need a lot more practice.”

Forbidden Series:

1. Forbidden

2. Banished (January 2016)


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


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