Banished by Kimberley Griffiths Little
Book Two of the Forbidden series
Publication Date: February 2, 2016
Rating: 4 stars
Source: ARC sent by the publisher
Summary (from Goodreads):
She thought she’d lost everything . . .
After spending months traveling the harsh, unforgiving Mesopotamian desert, Jayden reunites with a broken, injured Kadesh. Although everyone was convinced the violent and unpredictable Horeb, Jayden’s betrothed, killed the handsome prince, Jayden knew in her heart that her love was alive and safe. But their reunion is short-lived, as they learn Horeb is on their trail and determined to take back the girl he has claimed. Soon, the two star-crossed lovers are on the run toward Sariba, Kadesh’s homeland, where, as heir to the Kingdom, he plans to make Jayden his princess.
But the trek to Sariba is fraught with heartache and danger. After narrowly escaping being stoned to death for a crime she didn’t commit, and learning that her sister has disappeared, Jayden’s only solace is her love for Kadesh. But even he is keeping secrets from her . . . secrets that will change everything.
This gorgeous and enchanting sequel to Forbidden, is full of love, danger, and heated passion that will leave readers breathless.
What I Liked:
I. Absolutely. LOVED. This sequel. Holy guacamole, I wasn't prepared for this book. For me, sequels are often not that great, just a necessary hump to cross before reaching the epic finale in book three (I'm so over trilogies!). THIS sequel did not suffer any sequel slump!
Jayden has been searching for a mysterious stranger whom she believes is Kadesh for months. Never did she give up hope, and in the desert, they find each other. While the pair would love nothing but to prolong their reunion, Jayden must go back for her family, and Kadesh needs to return to Sariba. Jayden and Kadesh run from Horeb's massive armies to Sariba, only for Jayden to find danger in a place she was lead to believe would be paradise... with the threat of Horeb drawing closer every day.
It felt like Jayden had obstacle after obstacle to overcome, from the start. She nearly died many times in the desert before finding Kadesh, When they reunite, she nearly dies several more times when trying to rescue her family, with Kadesh and his traveling group's help. I love Jayden's character growth in this book - she suffers so much, and feels so much despair, but she becomes more mature and brave and fearless, even as she is afraid.
Oh Kadesh. My heart broke for him. He is not quite the same man we met in Forbidden. He's sweet and kind and so devoted to Jayden - but he's also haunted by guilt, and weighed down with responsibilties, as the Prince of Sariba. I adore Kadesh. He's swoony and protective but also very considerate of Jayden's thoughts and desires, which you wouldn't necessarily expect, of the men of this time period.
Speaking of time period... I LOVE the setting of this series. I'm Christian and very familiar with the Bible, so it's pretty cool to see all of these names and places in a fictional novel, when I see them so often in a religious text. Note -- this isn't a book about religion! I'm just relating my knowledge of Mesopotamia and Ancient Biblical figures (Abraham, Ishmael, the Queen of Sheba) to this story. The author did a beautiful job with the world-building, the authenticity of the setting, the history - she has done her research well, and has also bent things to make a wonderful fictional story!
Like I said above, Jayden goes through obstacles from start to finish. I felt so bad for her! This book gets going and the pace doesn't slow - it's a deceptive pace. It's like it's meandering, but things are happening and happening and you can't put the book down. But it seems like a moderate pace. I liked how the author managed this! The story is lush and romantic, yet there is so much high-stakes action and a little anxiety and heart-pounding, seat-gripping fear. This desert Mesopotamian world is a little scary, honestly!
The romance... I LOVE Jayden and Kadesh together. They are so sweet and so romantic together. I love how unshakable their feelings toward each other are, how they both never stopped believing that the other was alive. And as the story goes, the author tests each of them - mostly Jayden - and throws snares in their path. There is no love triangle or square or anything - I had a lot of faith in the couple throughout the book, and I love how strong their relationship stayed, after all that the author put them through in this book.
I cannot wait to read the third book! The way this book ended wasn't super cruel, but it has me anxious, a bit! No cliffhanger, but the ending is slightly abrupt. Like, the big climax and then the scene cuts. Which is a pretty nifty sequel-esque ending, but dang it, I don't have book three in front of me! The stakes are high, the risk is great, and the sacrifices will be plenty. I'll be eagerly awaiting the conclusion to this lovely series!
What I Did Not Like:
Hmm. I suppose there weren't too many things that bothered me - not enough to list as dislikes. I will say to all the people who are picky about romances (LIKE ME) - relax. Trust in Jayden and Kadesh. This isn't one of those sequels where the pair are separated for the entire book (the opposite: they're together for the entire book!).
Would I Recommend It:
I soooo recommend this sequel! If you liked Forbidden (IT WAS SO GREAT), you'll probably enjoy this book even more. I know I did (hello, more Kadesh and Jayden!). I love that the author didn't split the pair pretty much at all, in this book (once they reunite, we're golden). I love that the author didn't choose an agonizing cliffhanger ending, making the wait for book three painful. I love that there was no love triangle. There are so many overused, cliche YA tropes that the author avoided! And this book was entertaining and sweet and a good read - I couldn't stop reading! You don't need to remember much from Forbidden; just dive right into the book!
4.5 stars -> rounded down to 4 stars (I'm a bit of a tough sell, when it comes to 5 stars). If you have not read Forbidden, fix this immediately! Read it just so you can experience Banished, if anything!
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