**SPOILERS FOR FORSAKEN, THE FIRST BOOK IN THE SERIES (which you should definitely read first!)**
It’s a bit difficult to give a brief summary of Forbidden without revealing too much, as there are a heck of a lot of amazing plot twists which I really don’t want to spoil, but I’ll try my best: Forbidden starts where Forsaken left us – with the entire city of Atlanta recovering from the demon attack that occurred at the Demon Trapper meeting; Trappers are mourning the loss of some of their greatest as well as attempting to work out how they were attacked in the first place and the citizens of Atlanta are worried that they’re not being protected efficiently enough from the demons, which leads to the ruthlessly efficient Demon Hunters being called in – something the Trappers aren’t best pleased about. Meanwhile, Riley’s relationship with Simon is most definitely on the rocks, which leads to a growing attraction to the mysterious Ori, who vows to protect her from the deadly demon that is determined to kill her. Aside from all of this, she’s trying to figure out who brought her dad back from the dead and why someone is selling counterfeit Holy Water, as well as trying to earn enough to pay the rent.
In case you haven’t read Forsaken and are completely confused, the series is set in an alternate world where demons roam freely, and are graded from very harmless (Grade One a.k.a. klepto-fiends) to extremely dangerous (Grade Five a.k.a. Geo-Fiends). Trappers and Hunters do as they say on the tin with regards to the getting rid of the demonic presences, and there’s quite a bit of a rivalry between the two. Witches and Necromancers (people who reanimate the dead to sell as slaves) also exist and trade freely in this alternate future of 2018. The series is set in Atlanta, which is desperately poor, and doing anything it can to save or increase money, including closing schools and housing classes in abandoned buildings or coffee shops. Riley is a Demon Trapper – one of the youngest, and the only female – whose father was recently killed by a demon, who is now after her.
The events of Forsaken were recapped very well without seeming patronising or spelling things out as obviously as possible (which many books annoyingly do), and are much needed as I, for one, had forgotten several things having read the first book of this amazing series over six months ago. I can’t describe why I like Oliver’s writing and characterisation so much – you’ll just have to grab a copy yourself to see how captivating, insightful and creative it truly is! I also love the subtle but extremely funny humour laced throughout this brilliant book as it makes Forbidden an even more enjoyable read. It is, much like its predecessor, very creative – I especially liked the creepy reanimated-body auction and the idea of parking spaces as mini shops. I also adored the klepto-fiends–micro-sized demons with a penance for shiny things–along with Mort, the necromancer, who is such a nice and kind person, despite his job of bringing back the dead to work as slaves, but we get a very good insight into his back-story, which makes you extremely sympathetic towards him.
I’ve come to love Riley so much – she’s likeable, funny and down-to-earth, as well as being a really strong character, especially now she’s orphaned. Every single character in Forbidden is utterly unique, the vast majority realistic and most are surprisingly complex. The cover is stunningly striking, and I love the gorgeous blue flames that perfectly match the eyes of ‘Riley’ (and how drastically pale she has become), along with the fact that the style of Forsaken has been kept – it’ll be a lovely series to collect.
However, I really didn’t like Simon, Riley’s saintly boyfriend who is barely recovering from the tragic demon attack at the Tabernacle, especially when he gets snappy with Riley, and I’m surprised that she still wanted to be with him for some time. I’m not sure if I like the accents showing up in the character’s (namely Beck and his Southern drawl and Stewart’s Scottish tongue) speech, though it does make for more realistic, if annoying, reading. Also, I was a bit confused by the whole Holy Water scam and didn’t properly understand how it worked, but it was probably just me. I was so glad to get an explanation as to how demons infiltrated earth, which was my only complaint about the first book, and the explanation was very surprising and revealing.
Forbidden is full of suspense as to who stole Riley’s father’s body, how the demons managed to break in at the Trapper Meeting and what exactly Ori is up to; combine that with brilliant writing and fantastic characters and you have yourself a real page-turner of a spectacular novel.
[SYNOPSIS: Riley's beginning to think being a Demon Trapper isn't all it's cracked up to be. Her dad's been stolen by a necromancer, her boyfriend's gone all weird and she's getting warm and fuzzy feelings for someone who's got more secrets that the CIA. It's tempting to give it all up and try to be normal, but that's not an option.
Because the demons have plans for Riley. And they're not the only ones.]