Saturday, January 28, 2012

Review- Forbidden by Syrie James and Ryan M. James

by Syrie James and Ryan M. James
Available Now

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?

Do you ever feel like reading some YA is a guilty pleasure?  I do. Especially some of Harper Teens books. And this was one of those.  Prop up my pillows, have my coffee and my music and turn off the phone. Be quiet, I'm reading.  Forbidden is a little on the youngish side of the YA spectrum, but it was an interesting addition to the already large pile of angel books in YA today.   

The main character, Claire Brennan is a junior at an elite prep school, on scholarship and has to keep her grades up in order to keep her scholarship.  She's in all honors classes and oh yeah, she's sixteen and just hit puberty, in that girl way.  So life is going swimmingly, especially when she meets the cute new boy with the Scottish accent standing in line in front of her and her friends waiting to get his school i.d.  She can't tell if he's shy or stand offish or if that's the Scottish way when he doesn't really talk to them. So, she puts him out of her head, especially when her major crush of two years comes up and talks to her two friends, totally ignoring her.  As a character, I like Claire.  She doesn't push her mother for answers that are long overdue. She is assertive at times and shy at others, but eventually gets comfortable enough with herself that she asserts herself. She knows what she wants and doesn't waffle back and forth.  She accepts her fate with grace  and her losses a little better than I would have, but it was reasonable considering the amount of time the novel takes place over.  But, she's just a bit vanilla.  No kickin' gifts. At least not yet.

Now, Alec MacKenzie he has some kick ass gifts.  As an angelic descendant, he's got powers that helped him fulfill his past duties. Now he's AWOL and hoping to blend in with the students at Emerson Prep. But, when he sees Claire, he loses his ability to form words. Yep, insta like.  But he keeps it to himself.  He's got a lot of things to hide and his weird little habits make him a much more interesting character than Claire.
He obviously has super strength when he breaks Claire's locker the day they meet, but funnier than that, is his inner dialogue which I love that we get to hear!  I wish all authors would let us hear both sides of the story, girl's and guy's points of view.  It makes the story that much more enjoyable to me.  We get both points of view at various times and it really adds to the story.  Alec is more complex than Claire because he knows who and what she is, how much danger she is in, how much he can't be with her and what his duty is concerning her.  But he wrestles with all that in the few weeks they know each other.  And, he's hiding out himself and afraid of being caught himself. I did have a problem with the Scottish part of Alec.  A big deal was made of his accent, but the only time he said anything remotely Scottish was "aye".  There weren't even a few "bloodys" thrown in though there were a few  "shites" and then the American version of that word thrown around.

The best friends, Brian and Erica were awesome!  Great supporting roles and really in the know. Claire told them everything.  Erica especially.  But she really didn't keep anything from Brian so she had someone to bounce ideas off of and to help her stay sane during the turmoil she goes through.  They were the best friends anyone could have asked for. They even humored her with her theory that Alec was a vampire.
Can't ask for a better friend than that!

The story is really very simple, but it's a pleasure to read and the ending had a neat little twist to it that left me wanting more.  I will definitely be picking up the next book in the series.  I didn't see series on the cover, but I do hope it's a series because there is a lot left open and I like HEA's in my Harper Teen books! It's why I get almost every one!  

This was a mother and son writing team and I think they did a great job.  It didn't feel like one person was writing and then another was writing.  I  read that Ryan M. James is an editor for the video game industry. I could see some of his visions in the "special effects" that one of the characters can do.  They did an excellent job making their collaboration seamless.

A small bit of language, nothing excessive and kissing.  Teen pregnancy was mentioned but it's not who you think.



  1. Ohh I haven't read any reviews for this book yet so I'm excited to see something so positive! I'm really excited for this book, it looks amazing! Great review!

    Anna @ Literary Exploration

  2. Hey SFAM!

    I'm reading Forbidden right now and it's just as you said 'a guilty pleasure'. I'm enjoying it and I'm always a sucker for 'Forbidden Love' especially if there's a hot scottish angel involved!

    Fantastic review, My Chica!

  3. You had me at Scottish accent. Oh yea... total guilty pleasure. I really need to grab this one.

    So, if the preggers wasn't who I think... it was the guy? ;)

  4. No, not the guy, but not the young girl. Think older.


    But really creative thinking on your part!

  5. Nice to hear that it was a good addition to all of the angel reads out there, instead of being just another one!
    - Jessica at Book Sake

  6. I saw this book the other day and have to say< I was afraid it would be like any other YA angel book. I have to check this out now.

  7. "But, when he sees Claire, he loses his ability to form words. Yep, insta like."

    Hm. Normally that type of thing bothers me, but your right that somethings are just fun guilty pleasures, and you can just overlook the insta-like and move on with the story. I think I would like this one as just a fun YA read, deep thinking necessary:) Thanks for the review Heather!

  8. I recently finished this one, though I haven't quite finished my review yet. Like you, I enjoyed the best friends. But as for the rest of it, I wasn't the biggest fan. It's not like I felt the writing was bad or anything, but it just didn't feel like it was doing anything NEW for me. I guess that's one of the consequences of reading as much of the genre as I do. Still, I'm glad to hear that you mostly enjoyed it!

  9. Definitely sounds interesting. I like the cover. I'll have to check this one out. Hope it's at the library! Nice review :)


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