Forbidden by Syrie James and Ryan M. James
Publisher: HarperTeen/January 2012
Kind thanks to Wunderkind and HarperTeen for providing a review copy
She should not exist.
He should not love her.
Claire Brennan has been attending Emerson Academy for two years now (the longest she and her mom have remained anywhere) and she’s desperate to stay put for the rest of high school. So there’s no way she’s going to tell her mom about the psychic visions she’s been having or the creepy warnings that she’s in danger.
Alec MacKenzie is fed up with his duties to watch and, when necessary, eliminate the descendants of his angelic forefathers. He chose Emerson as the ideal hiding place where he could be normal for once. He hadn’t factored Claire into his plans. . . .
Their love is forbidden, going against everything Alec has been taught to believe. But when the reason behind Claire’s unusual powers is revealed and the threat to her life becomes clear, how far will Alec go to protect her?
I confess, I don’t read a ton of YA (I know!) This is not YA’s fault. This is my fault. You see, in my, um, advanced age *cough*, I sometimes find it hard to relate to very young characters. Seriously, it gets worse every year, much to my chagrin. The point is, if I seem to be a bit harder on YA, that’s the reason. It’s a totally “it’s me, not you” sort of thing. That said, when I got Forbidden in the mail, looking all shiny and pretty (and it is purty), I thought, what the heck, time to give this a try. Also, I’ve only heard good things about Syrie James’ work, so that was a plus. Thanks for staying with me, onto the “reviewy stuff”… When Forbidden starts, Claire Brennen is starting her third year at the prestigious Emerson Academy. It’s just her and her mom, and she’s become increasingly impatient of her mom’s insistence that they move at the slightest hint that things might not be going perfectly. Claire is determined to stay put for a while, which seems like it might happen, until she has her first vision. It’s a small thing, but enough to alarm Claire and definitely puts her nerves on edge. Then she meets the handsome (and Scottish!!) Alec MacKenzie. Yes, he’s a hottie, yet he’s so standoffish at first that Claire isn’t sure what to think. Suffice it to say he’ll have a lot to do with Claire’s future, and he may not be human…
Forbidden is about angels, and since I’m a relative novice to the “angel genre”, it provided an interesting premise for me. Alec is a Watcher (and Grigori), tasked with rooting out the descendants of Nephilim and making sure they don’t fall prey to the Fallen (Nephilim that have taken a less than savory path.) The problem is, Alec has gone AWOL. He doesn’t want to be a Watcher, and has taken great pains to hide himself from the Elders and get on with a relatively “normal” life. Well, as normal as you can get with a 100+ year old that looks about 17. Needless to say, Alec thinks Claire is the bees knees, but as you’ll find out, this is a big no-no, which of course makes for some serious angst.
Forbidden was well written, and I appreciated that the authors made Claire smart and tough instead of the whining ninny that you see so much of in (very young especially) female protagonists. Also, after her initial short period of disbelief and awe at her situation, she quickly adapts and goes with the flow. Scullys get on my nerves, and I can’t stand characters that could have a werewolf sitting on their legs (possibly gnawing an ankle) and still go all wide-eyed with disbelief. You know what I’m talking about. Claire’s not like that, and it made me love her. Ok, grrrrl power aside, Alec is seriously cute, even cute enough to make this 35 year old become a little smitten, and their sweet romance is what powered this novel. She’s also got a couple of very cool, very loyal friends at her side. Teens will eat this one up, especially those that like a little supernatural with their romance. Although I would have preferred a stronger supernatural element, Forbidden is sure to please and is a fun addition to the genre.