Author: Jana Oliver
Publisher: St. Martin's Griffin
Released: 27th March 2012
Having enjoyed the first two books in this series, I hoped that Forgiven would be just as good. It didn't disappoint.
Riley Blackthorne is in a heap load of trouble. She owes favours to both Heaven and Hell, and the demon trappers are after her. Ori won't keep out of her head and somehow she needs to resolve the issue of the fake Holy Water. Normally she wouldn't mind kicking a little demon butt, but now she's more than ready to just sleep, drink some hot chocolate and spend time with her dad. Not necessarily in that order.
Something that struck me when I was reading this was how Riley had changed. While we see much of the teenager side to her that is prevalent in the other two books, there are also glimpses that show her to be older than her years and changed by her experiences. She stops rushing into situations impulsively and therefore making mistakes that way. Instead she chooses to listen more and argue less. I liked that she learned from her experiences and had become stronger. There were times when I thought that instead of complaining she didn't want to do something, she should just get on and do it becaue everyone else was doing things that they didn't want to but were necessary. But to be fair, there was definitely progress in her character, and it made her all the more relatable.
This character development didn't just hit Riley. We saw it with Beck too. After becoming increasingly frustrated in Forbidden with the stops and starts and misunderstandings between him and Riley, I was both relieved and delighted to see them make some headway. Finally he opened up some more and we got to see some touching insights. It took a lot of work for several people to open Riley's eyes and convince her that Beck did in fact love her, but then there were sweet scenes between them. His behaviour towards her changed and vice versa. All was going well...until the very end. I'm not even going to go anywhere with that.
Besides the characters, I loved all the actiony bits. These were pretty fast-paced. I'm not sure whether I should really mention this - I'm sure I already seem crazy enough as it is to those who know me - but for some reason, when it got to the battle at the end, I had the Matt Smith theme tune running through my head. Weird, I know. Maybe because it was the whole good vs evil thing. In any case, the battle scene was incredibly engaging, with even a bit of plot twist to hold our interest that much more. And the thing about the demons? Definitely an interesting idea, as well as somewhat amusing.
Overall, Forbidden more than lived up to my expectations. Before I read this I found out that there's actually a fourth one, which I am absolutely looking forward to. This book was fun and engaging, presenting us with other aspects of several characters. There was even more of Magpie! I know he's only a tiny little character, if that, but I adore him and love the connection between him and Riley. If you haven't read this yet, please do so as soon as possible. And if you haven't started the series yet...well. You're missing out, is all I can say.
A huge thank you to Sam for lending me her copy.