★★★★I give this book 4 ½ Stars! ★★★★
I don’t even have enough words to describe how I felt while reading this book. This was a novel I put off for a long time- not because of the controversial issue of a brother and sister being in love… but because I knew that there was no way this story could have a happy ending.
First of all, before going into this review, I have a few things to admit first:
One: Call me naive or completely out of the loop, but I had no idea that incest was illegal.
Two: I’ve never read a romance novel that didn’t have a happily-ever-after… but if you’re ever wanting to branch out of your comfort zone and read something that will truly make you feel… a book that will stick with you for weeks after reading it… then don’t pass this story up.
Where do I even begin? *deep breath in, deep breath out* It took me quite a while after reading this novel to get my thoughts together enough to write this review. Others may read what I have to say, and think the way I felt for this story and these characters is wrong- but before judging anything about this story, be sure to read it first. Not only is it powerful, but I can guarantee you that the book is nothing like you’re probably expecting. This is a story about two consensual adults who genuinely and without a doubt, love each other in a way that a brother and sister shouldn’t love. This book faces a very controversial subject matter, and I commend the author for writing this and doing so in such a tasteful and moving way. Like I said earlier, I knew going into Forbidden that it wasn’t going to have a happy ending… I actually even expected a few tears here and there. But I was most definitely not expecting the ending that it received. There are just no words for how broken my heart felt after turning the last page.
Lochan was such a lonely soul- he was filled with such despair and turmoil inside, that my heart broke for him with every turn of the page. Lochan’s character tore me up inside- everyday he’s reminded of what he thinks his family and everyone else thinks of him: Pathetic. Socially awkward. A man who can’t get a girlfriend, let alone a friend. He struggled to cope at school and to the outside world- a place where he never seemed to feel at peace… And he struggled with his own personal demons every day- talking to anyone his age was impossible for him, and talking to adults was almost unbearable. But there was one person in the world that had never let him down… one person who had never been ashamed of him… and that was Maya… his sister.
She was different from Lochan in some ways- to the outside world, she appeared confident… But she spent most of her time laughing at jokes she didn’t find funny, or saying things that she doesn’t really mean- because one way or another, she did it all to fit in- desperately trying to pretend that she’s the same as everyone else. It’s something that both Maya and Lochan struggled with… and in the end, it’s the one thing that tore them apart.
This story was so much more than a romance revolving around incest- this was a story involving two people who share their burdens together… two souls who needed and depended on one another. Every day was a struggle for them… not only did they have to juggle classes and a dysfunctional home life, but they have to both take on the role of sole responsibility of being a parent. Not an easy task for someone who has enough inner demons to deal with on a day to day basis, including hiding a relationship that society deemed unacceptable.
I have to admit, it took me a while to get into the first 75 pages or so. Not that it was horrible or anything… but I found myself getting distracted or bored quite a few times- I literally had to push myself to stick with it, because I had just heard too many good reviews to stop reading altogether. I knew that the story had potential, and I didn’t want to miss out on a truly moving and emotional novel, otherwise I’d be kicking myself in the butt right now- and I’m happy to say, that I’m glad I pushed through those first few chapters, because the book took a major turn for the better. Once I had gotten past the initial background of the family and endless pages of how awful Lochan felt because of his social issues, the story really picked up speed and I absolutely couldn’t put it down.
Maya and Lochan really tried to avoid any type of relationship or intimacy initially. They both craved it… they both dreamt of it… but there was no one else for either of them, aside from each other. No person, not even imaginary, would fill first place in their hearts… only each other. They didn’t want to think about what it meant for them to feel attraction for each other. They couldn’t even think about what that would be called- they both refused to let labels from the outside world spoil their feelings that they had for each other. My heart broke for these two in every possible way, because the love they felt for each other was every kind of love possible- they had denied their feelings for each other for so long, because they were brother and sister. They love each other so much and unconditionally, yet all they can do is push each other away, because even though being together feels so right, they know that it’s so wrong. They’ve never felt like siblings to each other… only best friends. Soul mates. They want so desperately to be able to hold each other and kiss each other- do all the things that people in love are allowed to do- they want to spend the rest of their life with each other. But they both know it’s utterly impossible.
While reading this book, I never once had thoughts about these two characters that disgusted me. They were simply two people in love, knowing that a future was impossible. All that mattered to them was that they were happy- truly happy when they were together. Being together made them both feel alive… something that they’ve never felt before. As much as you’d like to think that while reading this novel, that it’s nothing but a sick and twisted tale of incest love… you just won’t be able to feel that way, I can promise you that. It’s so much more than anything you’re probably imagining or have worked up in your head.
I can’t imagine anyone wanting to ever find themselves in the same situation that Maya and Lochan found themselves in. Forbidden is a story involving the consequences of involving yourself in a relationship and experience that go against what society feels is wrong. But this book is so much more than a relationship revolving around incest- it’s about despair. Fear of abandonment. Stepping up and having to be the adult that you’re not ready to be. So many more issues are brought in this story, including real feelings of longing, love, and desire. Was this book your typical romance? Not hardly. But it was brave, and Tabitha Suzuma had guts for writing this story- it may not have been perfect, but it will most certainly fill you with feelings that you least expect. Whatever your pre-conceived notions are about this book, I dare-say anyone with a heart read this and not be truly moved.
How is it possible to love a book that tore your heart to pieces? How can a love that feels so right for two people, be so wrong in the eyes of society? This book challenged my views on a certain forbidden love that’s condemned to most of the world. Forbidden takes this controversial and what some may call a “disgusting” taboo, and turned it into a tragic, yet beautiful love story that is most definitely worth the read.