on Oct. 17, 2013 :
Wow. To be honest, this book was a little bit unexpected. I’m not sure how I expected this book to play out, but I’m pretty sure I was way off base. It is beautifully written, the characters are mysterious but engaging, and there is plenty of angst.
Let’s start at the beginning, shall we? The opening scene of this book was very powerful. It had this heavy feeling to it that at the end left me with my mouth hanging open saying, “Whaaat?” The whole book is written beautifully, but there is just something about this particular scene that really just grabbed me and made me want to keep reading if nothing else than to see how things turn out for these characters. Amy Miles certainly knows how to get your attention!
This story starts out with the “birth” of Rosaline. Mile’s then takes us to present day and Rosaline’s harsh existence. When she is finally able to escape, she goes to Chicago to attend a private high school. Though why she would want to go to high school instead of college, I have no idea. There she meets a few people that she decides to become friends with. Sadie and William are a sister and brother she meets. Sadie has her own personal style and the reader is led to believe that at one point she was one of the popular girls, but had some sort of fall from grace. William is the lovable little brother type who obviously cares about the women in his life while being a huge flirt with other girls.
When she meets Gabe, there is an immediate attraction on both sides. The reader is given hints as to why this is such a significant event, so you will just have to read it to find out what happens between them.
The climax of the story obviously pits good vs. evil and since there are no redeeming qualities of the evil in this book, I definitely found myself wanting good to prevail and for everything to work out for everyone involved. With some of the characters, I wasn’t quite sure which side of the fence they would fall on, but was happy with the sides in the end. Miles did a great job of not letting us know where everyone solidly stood, so the end wasn’t completely expected.
The characters in this book are interesting to me. While we are given enough information to become invested in them to a degree, there were a few characters I would like to have known more about. In some ways, not knowing more about them adds to the mystery, and I think if I had known more about Nicolae from the beginning, it would have affected my opinion of him. There were some secondary characters that I felt like it was implied they would play a bigger role in the dynamics and back stories of the characters, particularly Claire and what else was going on with that situation, but it didn’t happen. I would also like to have known more about Vladimir and Lucien, their history and why they were so messed up in the head.
While I LOVE the writing style of Amy Miles, I did feel like there were a few places where the story felt monotonous, and there was a bit of a lull in the middle, but not too much. The beginning and ending are action packed.
One good thing about this book was Miles’s version of the immortal theme. She puts a different sort of twist to the vampire story without completely rewriting it. I think it works well with her book and I’m glad to see a book without sparkly vampires. I would have really liked to understand more about them and the species in general. I don’t think there was quite enough time spent explaining what the immortals are all about, or how it all fits together, but I’m going to assume there is more explained in the next book _____. Which I am looking forward to reading.
Overall this was a good book. I would recommend it to anyone who is looking for a different kind of vampire/immortal type of story that doesn’t mind some high school love angst. It’s the good old, “I love you but we can’t be together because I have a secret” story, but the story really is so much more than that.
(review of free book)
on Aug. 24, 2013 :
I absolutely adored this book. It was great for young adult readers, and for adult readers. I really loved Roseline. After literally hundreds of years of severe abuse from the man who is most likely the most scary man on the planet, she risked a possibly severely painful death to escape him, leaving with practically nothing, and starting a new life at a Prep school in Chicago.
As you may expect, Roseline was hesitant in making too many friends, but the friends she did make were every bit as important to the story as she was. I loved all of their individual quirky personalities, and how they brought Rose out of her shell, and made her (and me as the reader) laugh.
And then there’s Gabriel….the perfect guy. She can’t stay away from him. No matter how hard she tries, they are both constantly drawn together, and they start to realize there is more to their story than just a crush or a physical attraction. And although Roseline is afraid to get too close, and have her past literally come back to haunt her, Gabriel won’t give up. The author did a perfect job of keeping their relationship realistic in how you would think they would really be affected by her (real) age, her past that could kill, and the strange new things that were happening with Gabriel. There were definitely some “awww” moments, but not too many. It was perfect.
The end of the book wrapped up perfectly, not leaving a cliffhanger, but definitely leaving me ready to read the next book ASAP! It was a great read!
This Review is copyrighted. Please do not share without giving Paranormal Reads/Erin full credit.
(review of free book)
on Nov. 21, 2011 :
Roseline Enescue is just a 17-year-olg girl in Romania in 1689, when her father orders her to marry the wealthy Vladimir Enescue, brother to the equally wealthy and equally sadistic Lucien Enescue. Lured in by their wealth her father can't deny giving Roseline's hand, but he comes to regret it as he, along with all guests at the wedding are killed by the two monsters of brothers. Not even her little sister, Adela, isn't spared by their homicidal rampage and Roseline, having seen everyone she loves murdered in front of her eyes, has no choice but to comply to Vladimir's wishes, but not before she is killed and turned into a vampire like them.
This actually is the opening scene of the book and it is fast and exciting, really urging you to bond with the heroine in her struggle to save her loved ones and herself, alas you already know, just like she does, that there's no chance of that.
Then over 300 years later, Roseline, sees a way out, a chance to escape and she seizes it, knowing that if she fails to get away, she will suffer Vladimir's wrath once again, because she has tried this before, but it has never worked. Still, she gives it her whole and eventually she finds herself in the United States, posing as a 17-year-old girl (because that's the age she looks), going to a somewhat exclusive school, trying to go undetected, never attracting attention to herself. During her time there, though, she is befriended by the eccentric Sadie and her brother William, knowing very well that with her being Immortal, her looks are by default mesmerizing to humans causing them to be attracted to her. Consequently, she doesn't go as undetected as she would like to, but she tries. She is buried in some kind of comforting routine till Gabriel, the school's star student and athlete and most sought-out boyfriend is smitten by her, and an exchange student from Romania, Nicolae, comes to stay with Sadie and William. Nicolae keeps staring at her and it's not long before he reveals to Rose that he knows who she is and what she is, and that he is there to check up on her. Rose doesn't know in what capacity, but she is afraid that Vladimir knows where she is and Gabriel chasing after her all the time doesn't help one bit.
Now, it sounds a little cliche or rather like something that's been described before, but the story finds ways to be original and refreshing. I really liked that the book started the way it did, because it was fast and it immediately drew you in and made your heart beat a little faster. It was told in a smart way in the sense that in the first chapter, you already know why Roseline was running, who and what she was and why it was instrumental that she get away, making you feel like you already knew her and really ready to become invested in the actual story to start in the following chapter. Actually, the majority of the book's most important characters was really introduced in the first chapter, although Sadie, William, Gabriel and Nicolae were introduced later on.
The characters were quite diverse without coming off as caricatures, which was really good. Even Sadie, with her continuously changing wardrobe and make-up going through punk, goth, bad girl and Christian phases didn't come across as fake, while all characters were not good or bad, black or white. There were shades of gray which is the way it seems to me in real life.
It is important that the characters seem real and plausible without being too saccharine or "perfect". Rose isn't perfect either. She has been through a lot, but she is not a little lamb, nor is she a hyena (as a vampire). She is a person with her faults and shortcomings, never, however giving up the attempt to become a better person. Gabriel isn't a jock or a perfect guy either. The characters get mad, yell, lose their patience, laugh, fall in love and act crazy just like they would in real life and that's the best aspect of the book.
The writing is not exactly factual, nor overly decorative. I think it's a nice balance between the two and it makes reading the book quite entertaining. I also liked the fact that even though there is an aspect of insta-love between Rose and Gabriel, it is not pursued in a rushed way and Roseline doesn't trip all over herself in order to avoid or chase the charming human boy. Throughout the chapters it feels like Rose really lives her life in a normal way not changing dramatically just because of Gabriel (although why she run away towards the end I'll never understand). Gabriel is more smitten than she appears to be and faster than her, but he is a teenage boy so hormones and their "bond" can quite explain that.
I have to admit that I didn't see a few twists around the end coming and it was a welcome surprise as for the most part of the book we didn't see or hear from Lucien and Vladimir again, letting us enjoy Rose's new life but also making us wonder what was going to happen.
On the other hand, there were some aspects of book that left me wanting a little.
For the most part we did get to see what Immortals were. They were more than humans. Stronger, faster, prettier and intellectually superior in certain ways as they lived history and did not just read about it.
I quite enjoyed the twist in the lore, where what we consider Vampires are just Immortals that have been addicted to the taste of blood. They don't need the blood to survive, they can live off human food, but they need blood to heal, as blood is a life giver, and if they consume it too much, it becomes like a drug clouding their judgment and affecting them physically and psychologically, turning them blood-thirsty and eventually sadistic monsters (like it happened with Lucien and Vladimir). Blood is like cocaine for vamps, then, but they do have a choice which is a nice difference from the usual lore that Vampires always feel the thirst.
However, I feel like it could have been explained a little more and in greater detail so the whole thing could have been made distinct and invested upon so that in the future books we could see how the whole addiction process happens and how easy it is for a vamp to go to "rehab". XD
I'd love to have seen that in relation to Rose, as I'm sure that Vladimir must have tried to get her addicted.
Another thing is that I felt that Nicolae's presence could have been explored more. In the beginning he comes across as a geeky, nerdy kid who had no sense of how life and people in America were and he recognized Roseline from Romania fearing her, but later on he is a hunter incognito and some of his actions don't sit right. At first it feels like he is afraid of Rose and he is determined not to bother her or come into contact with her, but a chapter later he stares at her intently even menacingly and warns her that he will be there if she decides to hurt anyone. So if he wanted to stay under the radar why come out to Roseline and if he was going to do that anyways, why act scared in the beginning? Maybe he wanted to draw his own conclusions about Rose and if she was evil, but it just felt awkward to me. I liked Nicolae's reactions to Sadie, though, and I think I will enjoy them if they are a couple in the next book. ;)
Then the last one is a stupid thing to notice really, but I couldn't help wondering. Roseline as an Immortal (Vampire) feels happier when it is cold, because her body temperature is higher than that of a human, yet when she touches Gabriel she feels his great body warmth and heat, which doesn't make sense if he is human or even if he is half-vampire. (Unless it was psychological, though it was mentioned a couple times) Then again there is some prophecy and some things left for the next book so I might have to wait for this to make sense!!! And, god, do I want to read the next! :)
To sum up, I think "Forbidden" was an entertaining read filled with excitement, mystery, (why yes) passion and enjoyable characters you felt for, causing it to be one of the books I'd read again, but it would rate even higher if some of the story's (evidently) distinct vampiric lore was explored and introduced more properly and extensively. Its lovable characters and plot make up for some inconsistencies and questions.
Anyone who enjoys books with vampires and romance will definitely enjoy this one.
P.S.: Thanks to the writer for letting me review the book.
(reviewed 13 days after purchase)
Robert Luis Rabello
on Nov. 18, 2011 :
Overview: Rosaline Enescue escapes from the frightening brutality of her husband in Romania by running away to the United States. She begins a new life as a high school student, but meets a young man named Gabriel, to whom she finds herself irresistibly attracted. How can this be? Where did her self-control go? How can a mere human so captivate her attention? The answers trace back to her homeland and the life she left behind.
Cover / Graphics / Maps : The cover is simple, evocative and looks professionally laid-out. The orange rose has significance to the story and is allegorical of the main character.
Interior Formatting: I read the Kindle version. There were no glaring format issues. The font was large enough to be legible, but small enough to permit speed reading without adjustment.
Readability: Sample paragraphs averaged a readability index of 5.8, which is appropriate for the target audience and most readers of this genre. I had no difficulty with any of the vocabulary or sentence structures in this novel.
Names: All of the names were easily pronounced and accessible. Since the story takes place in a modern context, place names are recognizable.
Hero / Heroine: Rosaline Enescue is a bit of an enigma. Given the terrible ordeal described in the prologue to this story, it's reasonable to expect a degree of hardness and an aloof attitude from this character. In general, people like their protagonists to be strong, and Rosaline certainly projects inner strength and mental toughness. She's described by other characters as kind and loving, but she acts more like a streetwise and vigorous force to be reckoned with, rather than a sweet, gentle female. The descriptions that characterized her as the latter grated against the former.
I'd expected Gabriel Marsten to be a dumb jock, mindlessly interested in conquering opponents on the football field and girls in the social arena. But he evolves as the story progresses, from the inaccurate caricature of an athlete into a decent, intelligent and caring young man. He becomes the type of boy that a father would be proud to call his son, only to transform further into something ELSE, entirely. It's both fascinating and disturbing to experience. Amy Miles has done a terrific job of defying expectations with this character.
Supporting Characters: Sadie and William Hughes are siblings who live next door to Gabriel Marsten. They maintain an annoyed, teenaged tolerance for one another throughout the book, though the role that William plays in the story is less significant than that of his sister. Sadie befriends Rosaline, though the two appear to have very little in common. Nicolae, a mysterious exchange student, transforms from a creepy kid into something very different as the story progresses. I felt that a little platforming of his capabilities early in the story would have made for a smoother character arc near the end.
Villains: Rosaline's husband, Vladimir, occupies a menacing role that exists mostly on the periphery of the story, except for the very beginning and the very end. A lot of the conflict in this book is internal, with Rosaline, herself. The reader is effectively kept in suspense about the danger of her powers throughout the story. This is something that Amy Miles has done very well.
In addition, flat characters, like Claire Scofield--Gabriel's girlfriend--and Oliver--Gabriel's jock friend--serve as antagonists and provide the occasional comic relief. There's a scene involving Claire using Gabriel's leg as an erotic dancing prop that had me laughing.
Plausibility of Storyline: There's a degree of suspending disbelief that every fantasy story must be given. That's certainly true of this one, but there were scenes and behaviors, such as Rosaline's frequent disappearances, which did little to advance the plot and probably could have been cut or modified without impacting the overall story. High school students making travel arrangements and departing the country without parental approval raised my brows too, but this IS a story for young readers, and that audience would likely be unfazed by that detail.
Reviewer's Response: Amy Miles has written a vampire story that defies convention in many ways. Though I am not in the target market for this genre, the story retained my interest throughout, and I actually found myself enjoying the characters, particularly Rosaline and Gabriel, as they evolved. One of the strengths of the independent author movement is that it permits stories that depart from main stream, commercial themes and plot lines to be heard. I believe this story is a refreshing example of that trend. For young adult readers, in particular, this is likely to be a very enjoyable story.
(reviewed 9 days after purchase)