Tuesday, May 12, 2015

Book Review: Forbidden by Kimberley Griffiths Little

Title: Forbidden (Forbidden #1)
Author: Kimberley Griffiths Little
Enjoyment Rating: ****
Source: Digital Copy
Content Alert: Some violence, death, very oblique talk about prostitution

At sixteen, Jayden, who lives in an ancient nomadic Mesopotamian tribe, has been betrothed to her cousin. It's a fortuitous match, since her cousin will soon lead the tribe, but her cousin is all the bad things-- conceited, dishonest, abusive, unfaithful. The tribe begins to move just as Jayden's mother goes into labor with twins, and the family is left behind to suffer a great tragedy. Then Kadesh appears-- he's from the land southward, and although he's injured he helps save Jayden and her family. As they spend more time together and Jayden has opportunities to see the world outside her small circle of tents, she realizes that she wants Kadesh to be part of her life, even if it means she has to leave everything she has always known.

The spunky, brave heroine of YA novels is so widespread these days, it's a bit of a shock when someone who doesn't fit that mold appears in the pages of YA fiction. Jayden is modest and shy (it's 1759 BC, for crying out loud-- would readers expect any different?), and finds enlightenment and release only in the all-female dancing circle in which the women in her tribe take part. While she encounters many obstacles that challenge her culture and her perceptions, it's hard for her to step out of her comfort zone. That doesn't mean that she doesn't do it, but don't expect Katniss Everdeen out of Jayden. I find her character refreshing, and the historical details are richly drawn. I'm interested enough in the story of Forbidden to want to keep reading the series.

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