Review: Forbidden (Forbidden #1) by Kimberley Griffiths Little


Series: Forbidden #1
Author: Kimberley Griffiths Little
Published November 4th 2014 by Harper Collins

Goodreads Synopsis
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.

I love historical YA fiction, of any era. Every list that includes YA history has this book on it, so I decided to order a copy to see whether it was worth the hype, and it definitely was. Unlike anything I've read before, Forbidden is set in ancient Mesopotamia, with the protagonist, Jayden, preparing for her betrothal ceremony. She's set to marry the son of their tribe's chief man, whom will one day be chief himself, and though she's nervous, she's also excited. However, when her mother goes into premature labour with her twin siblings, right as the tribe are leaving for their next camp site, closer to an oasis, everything goes to pot. Her mother and infant brother die, and the little girl is bound to follow if they can't find someone to care for her soon enough. It's only Jayden, her father,and older sister, and another family left, to set out on the perilous journey across the desert to safety. When a mysterious boy from the South appears, who will accompany them on their journey, Jayden soon finds herself drawn to Kadesh, and forgetting about her fiancee, Horeb.

The setting and description in this book was magical. From the get go, it felt as though I was actually back in time, with Jayden on her journey. Everything seemed so realistic, and I can tell the author must have done so much research.

Jayden was the perfect narrator for this story. For her whole life, she'd known the hardship of living in a desert, and had never considered anything more. One day, she would be the leading lady of the tribe, and that was enough for her. Her life, therefore, had made her strong, even in the face of true pain, like with the death of her mother. Even so, she grew leaps and bounds throughout the course of the book, as more and more challenges were thrust her way. Unlike Jayden, her sister, Leila, hates life in the desert, and when they come to a city, she runs away to the local temple, and wishes to become a priestess - a true scandal for the whole family. Jayden has to contend with maybe losing both her sisters, after she sends the baby, Sahmril, off with the other family, as one of them had recently had their own child, so could act as a wet nurse.

The romance was so swoony. Jayden and Kadesh both compliment each other really well, and knew that their romance would be forbidden, just like the title of the book. Jayden can not, by any means, fall for someone else, lest she bring dishonour on the family, and whole tribe. Even though her fiancee is proven to be vicious, and not all he seems, he's the darling of the tribe, and no one will believe anything against him, or let their engagement be broken. For some of the book, Jayden and Kadesh had to spend tome apart, but their feelings for one another are always present.

The book ended with such a cliffhanger, I immediately had to order the next book, and hope to read it soon. I know from many reviews that this originally appeared to be a standalone novel, so I'm definitely glad I have the sequel on hand when the time is right. I can see Banished as being a strong sequel, and setting the tone for the series as a whole.

Dates Read:
July 5-8, 2016


4 Stars

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  1. This sounds so good! I have this on my shelf and I so need to read Kimberley Griffiths Little's Forbidden. The setting and romance you desribed will most likely have me hunting this book down today.

    Lovely review, Sophie :)

  2. Dear Sophie,
    I saw your lovely review linked on Twitter a few weeks ago and I just had to leave a comment to thank you for such a wonderful review. I loved all the things you said about FORBIDDEN and it means even more knowing that you have a degree in Ancient History. Thank you so much!

    I hope you get a chance to read BANISHED soon, too. It takes Jayden on a journey along the ancient Frankincense Trail to Kadesh's homeland. The Queen of Sheba is part of the story, as well as a few new characters. :-) RETURNED, Book 3 publishes February 7th!

    Thanks again so much for reading and the amazing review!
    P.S. My grandparents were from Leeds, England. :-)