ARC Review: Forbidden by Eve Bunting

ARC Review: Forbidden by Eve Bunting
by Eve Bunting

Genres: Historical, Mystery, Young Adult
Publication date: December 1st, 2015
by Clarion Books

Format: eARC


Amazon | Book Depository

In early-nineteenth century Scotland, sixteen-year-old Josie, an orphan, is sent to live with an aunt and uncle on the rocky, stormy northwest coast. Everything and everyone in her new surroundings, including her relatives, is sinister, threatening, and mysterious. She's told that Eli, the young man she's attracted to, is forbidden to her, but not why. Spirited, curious, and determined, Josie sets out to learn the village's secrets and discovers evil, fueled by heartless greed, as well as a ghostly presence eager for revenge. An author's note gives the historical inspiration for this story.

I received this book for free in exchange for an honest review.

Oh, Forbidden. I wanted to love you so much and I am sorry that this didn’t work out. I imagine, in an alternate universe, if you were more detailed and not so rushed, I could have loved you, but you weren’t, and so our story must end.

My lamenting aside, I am really disappointed. There were so many interesting things going on in this book but everything was SO RUSHED. I wanted details, I wanted a build-up, actual character development, all of the things but didn’t get nearly enough of any of them.

For starters, the main character was really hard to connect to. Whenever Josie did anything, she’d think about how improper it was and how much Mrs Chandler would disapprove. Mrs Chandler, by the way, isn’t even a real person. IT’S A BEHAVIORAL GUIDE for young ladies. I am all up for characters who aren’t traditionally strong and badass, but I don’t want to read about a character who cannot do anything without thinking about a behavioral guide. Even when she becomes ‘strong’ and ready to let go of all the stupid claims, she refers to Mrs Chandler. *shakes head*

Then there is the romance that comes out of nowhere. That is one of the things I was most excited about because I love me a forbidden romance but there was no romance. Sure there were ‘I Love Yous’ but there was literally no development. One minute she finds the guy sketchy and the next she cannot live without him? How did that jump happen? She even admits to not knowing him but somehow she can be in love and NOT know him? How does that even work?

This brings me to the love interest, who is mysterious but so mysterious we don’t find out anything about him. Also, I don’t think he and Josie ever have a conversation that is straightforward. It’s usually him being elusive, mysterious and vague and her falling for it.

One thing I did love about this book was that it is incredibly atmospheric. Right from the start, you can tell that something weird is going on. Something you don’t want the main character to be involved in, but it’s not like she can listen to us yelling on the other side for her to RUN FOR HER LIFE.

Then we find out what is going on behind the scenes and it is kind of really awful, but I wish we got more details. I wish the build-up was more clear, I wish there was more than just one scene where this awful thing takes place. I wanted more.

The same goes for the resolution to this conflict. Too rushed. Not detailed. Just plain sad.

The way the novel ended was really interesting and something I liked but because of the lack of details throughout the novel, it did not have the emotional impact on that it would have otherwise. I remained detached from the happenings of the novel with only the mystery keeping me glued to the pages. This book could have been great, mind blowing even, but it wasn’t because it was rushed. And hey, I like my quick reads but I don’t like them when it takes away from actual development.

Rating Report
Overall: 1.4
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Rashika is a mysterious creature who likes to hide in the shadows. It's impossible to get to know her but if you must know, she is a huge bookworm. She also happens to have a huge sweet tooth so you can always lure her over the dark side by offering her something sweet (or bribing her with books).


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  1. says

    I don’t know why, but seeing the rating 1.4 had me cracking up, and so did this cover. I don’t even know what to think of it! When I first clicked on the review, I thought it was a bird, then realization dawned on me, and ew creepy. Anywho, nothing bothers me more than a story that is 1. rushed, 2. lacking detail. How are we supposed to enjoy the story and take everything in, when things are moving way too quickly. & the main character falls in love with 1. A boy she doesn’t know, 2. A boy she finds sketchy. Girl, I am done. Better that you had read this than me lol.
    Tika recently posted…Air Awakens + Fire Falling ARC Review – The Epic DUOMy Profile

  2. says

    Sounds like this one was just lackluster all around Rashika! Having characters who are difficult to connect to, and the plot a bit vague and not fully explored and a character that doesn’t really believe in herself…well this book is just full of great things isn’t it =/ I’m glad you were able to find something you liked about it though. Lovely review!
    Jeann @ Happy Indulgence recently posted…Our First Discussion Review: Trying to Carry On after #SnowBazMy Profile

  3. says

    Ahhh it’s been so long since i visited you (or anyone in the blogosphere really) I’ve missed you and your awesome reviews Rashika (AND NOTE THAT I MEAN THIS TOO FOR THE REST OF THE SOCIAL POTATO TEAM). I’m not much of a historical fiction fan so i hadn’t noted this one as one i really wanted to give a try but i’m still upset you weren’t able to love this one like you originally wanted too.

  4. says

    Yikes. Hopped over to Goodreads after reading your review, and you are not alone. This book is pretty much universally hated. Uhh, pass, of course. Also, swore I had seen this before- like, years ago. Was there a cover doppelganger? Because this looks so familiar. Maybe it’s my brain telling me to run far, far away. I think I shall oblige. I hate that the dude is creepy and then BAM, he’s not. No no no. That doesn’t happen! GAH, I must leave this book immediately.
    Shannon @ It Starts At Midnight recently posted…Earth’s End Cover Reveal and GiveawayMy Profile

  5. says

    Aw, I’m sorry this didn’t meet your expectations – I’m all for slowly developing and burning romances, and its sad to see that it didn’t work out that way. The atmospheric element does sound really cool though; I don’t think I’ve come across many books that have a compelling atmosphere that sucks the reader in, but I don’t really think I’ll be picking this one up…amazing review, Rashika :)
    Madiha @ Paper Skies recently posted…How much does design matter to you?My Profile

  6. says

    Aw, no! This sounds like a big disappointment, Rashika, and I’m sorry to hear that, especially since you were clearly hoping for so much. The fact it had the potential to be a really fabulous read, but just went too quick and lacked too much- that’s just added disappointment. I’m almost finished editing one of my novels and keep wondering if there’s enough character and world development, and this is just reinforcing how very important those factors are.
    Lovely review. I hope your next read is heaps better! xx
    Romi recently posted…Pantomime by Laura Lam…My Profile