Review: Forbidden by Kimberley Griffiths Little

A sweeping, epic saga of romance and hardship, set against the dramatic backdrop of ancient Mesopotamia—perfect for fans of Cleopatra’s Moon or the adult bestseller The Red Tent.
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.
A sweepingly epic novel of peer pressure and cults set against the ancient art of belly dance, in which 16-year-old Jayden’s faith and character is tested to their limits, even death, as she watches her family and the world around her fall apart.

Cranky Review Time

I should just shoot myself in the shoot, alright. Every time I get really excited for a book, it ends up like watching a disney film. Just slap Snow White on this book why don’t you?

Once upon a long long time ago in 1759 BC Mesopotamia, to be perfectly specific, there was a girl named Jayden. She’s a sixteen year old bride to be. But here’s the twist: she hates him. Jayden wants to live life as ordinarily as she can. No skimpy clothing. No adventure. No speaking her mind. She wants to be like every single ordinary tribe woman. She’s the most boring historical chick you’ll ever meet.

The writing in this book is like watching Pauly Shore try to get out an entire sentence. It’s hard to listen to, or rather to read in this case. The writing is so rigid. It feels like it was forced onto the page. It doesn’t flow very well. The author also uses an incomprehensible amount of exclamation points. Maybe I shouldn’t judge because I myself have an intense relationship with the caps lock key, but this is a book. See for yourself:

1. “Guilt is a start at being a charitable woman!”
2. “It’s impossible. And dangerous. I can’t let you do it! Mother would never have approved!”
3. “The Queen of Sheba! You live near that kingdom!”
4. “Jayden, please come back!”
5. “He fights as though he wants to kill Kadesh!” I whispered hoarsely…

GASP. Exclamation points while whispering! I AM SO SHOCKED BY THIS! VIVE LA REVOLUTION! LET THE EXCLAMATION POINTS CONTINUE! Should I continue this review with exclamation points even though I’m not yelling? No. This is a bad idea.

There are sentences where the characters use what I call NO SHIT SHERLOCK:

“Father,” I said quietly. “He appears alone; there was no sign of other camels or men on the ridge. He also gave the sign of peace–with the sand.”

Didn’t you just tell us that, like a few pages ago? And wouldn’t your father know the traditions of his own people? Do you need to tell him what that means? We already know what it means because you told us. So, what the hell is this repetitive sentence for?

Then there’s the depiction of women. There are strong women like her grandmother and other members of the tribe. But then there are the women the author has chosen separate into two categories. The selfish villainous bitch, like Dinah. She’s just a plot device and not a real person. She just glares, humphs, and has a Scarlett O’Hara personality complex.

Then there’s the women who want to become priestesses of Ashtoreth. Jayden and her sister were taught these women were immoral and in ancient historical times: sluts. What I believe, or want to believe, is that the author wanted to flip the whole slut shaming trend in young adult. But what ended up happening is the book is this: it became an ancient historical slut shaming pedestal to teach girls that you should never sexualize yourself and you should never wear revealing clothing. Jayden loves her sister, but she’s always trying to tell her not to leave the tribe and not to do what her heart tells her to. She tries to keep her from succeeding in her choices. Leila wants to be a priestess. I saw nothing wrong with this, but little perfect miss Jayden had to turn her idiot switch on.

“This decision is not my choice, Jayden. It is yours. This place”–she glanced around at the lovely rooms of the temple–“is my choice.”
“Leaving you here at the Temple of Ashtoreth isn’t what I want for you, Leila. Please, go back to father. It would destroy him to know you are living here worshipping the goddess. Let our grandmother take care of you. I keep thinking of our mother and her watching you and that man–”
“Stop trying to make me feel guilty!”

Oh boy….I really need to take a chill pill.

I bowed my head against his chest. “I’ve shamed myself before you.” My throat was tight with love and sorrow and the exquisite nearness of him.

She danced with the priestesses in a revealing dress, for the Goddess, in front of a bunch of men the priestesses whom they would probably end up having sex with as according to tradition of their religion. Apparently, their choice to have sex with who they want is something she needs to judge. Nope. I’m done. You’ve got this hellish idea that you are now Tawny Kitaen dancing in an 80s rock music video. On a car. Delusional girl.

This is getting long. Well, you guys are just gonna have to sit it out. I got important things to tell you, like insta love and twoo luv.

The relationship between Kadesh and Jayden is like Snow White and her charming prince. He snuck up behind her , singing or was it dancing? In Jayden’s case, it was dancing. Again with the 80s music video. SHAKE IT, GIRL!

He’s always surprising her. Either she’s just not aware of her surroundings or he’s a stalker. I vote that she’s not aware of her surrounds because that seems like the more likely of the two. Jayden’s not very aware of…EVERYTHING.

As I said, she’s this boring innocent maiden waiting for twoo luv. Just wanted to make sure you didn’t forget. She will wait for her prince. She does. And life will be perfect because this villainous bethrothed of Jayden? He’s an ass. He really is. But, I didn’t feel much while reading that because it’s nothing new. He’s selfish. Check. He sword fights with the love interest. Check. He tries to get into the MC’s pants. Check. He does something involving blood. Check. He plots a scheme. Check.

Her prince charming is rich. He dresses like one. The Mesopotamian version, anyway. Anyways, he watches her. A lot. Almost every time she thinks no one is watching her, what do you know? PRINCE CHARMING HAS LONGING GAZE. Oh hey, yeah. I’m just hanging over here girl. I’m just sitting by these rocks looking at the beautiful scenery. I’m not at all looking at your butt wiggle.

So, 1. He’s always showing up when she thinks no one is around. 2. He’s rich. 3. He promises one day he will come for her. 4. Twoo Luv and all that.

Jayda is like the reigning princess of chastity. I understand that it’s historically accurate. That’s for sure.

She never speaks her mind, unless it involves prince charming. Keep your head down. Blush insanely. Fall in love with the guy who can save your ass. YAK YAK YAK.

The author goes off on strange tangents where nothing happens. I don’t really think there’s a plot. There isn’t one: the plot is that Jayden will find her prince charming and her husband to be will be shoved aside to make room for RICH BOY.  And then there’s this whole religious sub-plot that goes on. Then, you are left with no resolution. That’s it. There’s extraneous shit. But, that’s the basis of it.

Bejebus, this girl is an idiot:

“He wouldn’t lie, Father. And he gave me this bracelet as a promise of his love for me.”

Because even though you barely know him, you can trust him. Because true love and stuff.

“But your dresses–you shouldn’t be wearing such flimsy fabric.” The girls laughed at me and I felt silly and prudish. Like I’d turned into an old grandmother when I was only sixteen.

Yeah. I can’t argue with you there. Gotta be historically accurate, right. No problemo.

A few minutes later, he was talking with another girl, and then another. I was humiliated to have my betrothed pay such eager attention to other girls, even if I did hate him.

You go ahead and do that.

Villages were dirty, noisy, and overcrowded; garbage in the streets, the rank smell of outdoor latrines poisoning the air.

Boring MC (Main Character) factor increased.

…a seed of rebellion began to grow in my belly.

Because what other type of rebellion would be in our bellies?

While I loved the diversity, the culture, and the setting I couldn’t get past the “what the hell did I just read” scenarios. I wanted to love this book. I wanted to use a bunch of Gilmore Girls gifs to show my love for this book. But I couldn’t because I didn’t like this book. Sometimes, you get cranky after reading a book that made you rage. This is one of those times.

Chao, Darlings.

7 thoughts on “Review: Forbidden by Kimberley Griffiths Little

    • Brigid says:

      If you want to write a review. Do it yourself. But, I critiqued this book. Not you. My opinion is based on my personal experience. I do not find pointing out the faults in this book as mean. It had many problems. The slut shaming. The writing. The tropes. I could go on here. Again: not for the author.

    • Brigid says:

      I’m mean because I voice my opinion? That’s logical. I gave proof to back it up. If the author can’t handle criticism than they should be in this business. My review is not for the author, it’s for readers. I stated my opinion. I did not like this book. MEAN? NO. I disagree with your argument.

  1. Mel@thedailyprophecy says:

    *eye role for the comment on this review*

    I think you did a great job with describing why this book didn’t work for you – and I had the same feelings. It just didn’t work for me and the main character was so annoying and judgmental. LEAVE YOUR SISTER ALONE. Gosh.

    • Brigid says:

      My thoughts exactly. Whatev. Move along.

      Thank you! I’m sorry it didn’t work for you either. I got very angry at her for slut shaming her like that. I don’t think I’ve ever read so much slut shaming before. It was epic in proportion. Made me very sad that the author decided to portray her character this way.

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