FORBIDDEN by Kimberley Griffiths Little


From the "Forbidden" series, volume 1
Age Range: 12 - 14
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A Mesopotamian girl seeks love in the 18th century B.C.

In a tribe of desert nomads whose names come primarily from the Old Testament and the Book of Mormon, a 15-year-old hilariously named Jayden prepares for an unwanted betrothal. It's the time of Hammurabi, and Jayden, "a daughter of Abraham," is to wed loathsome Horeb, heir to the throne of her tribe. Horeb, selfish and lazy, abandons Jayden in her deepest tragedy, but mysterious Kadesh appears out of the desert to aid her. Even Jayden's older sister, Leila, sees which way the wind is blowing, telling Jayden, "Horeb might be your future husband, but Kadesh is the handsome stranger who can't take his eyes off you." Meanwhile, Leila is thinking about abandoning the ways of their fathers for the comforts of the Temple of Ashtoreth, giving Jayden plenty of opportunity to moralize at her sister about the wickedness of priestess practices (though Jayden herself is not quite clear what's so evil about it). When everything goes wrong (mostly because of Horeb's cackling villainy, invisible to all but Jayden), it's the people Jayden judges and finds wanting who rescue her—not that their kindness changes her opinions. Readers looking for blandly re-created historical settings that are less anachronistic than this would be better served by Esther Friesner's Princesses of Myth series.

The setup for a sequel doesn't entice. (Historical fiction. 12-14)

Pub Date: Nov. 4th, 2014
ISBN: 978-0-06-219497-8
Page count: 400pp
Publisher: Harper/HarperCollins
Review Posted Online:
Kirkus Reviews Issue: Oct. 1st, 2014


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