“Forbidden” by Jacquelyn Frank

I received this book for free from TLC Book Tours in exchange for an honest review. This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.

“Forbidden” by Jacquelyn FrankForbidden by Jacquelyn Frank
Series: The World of the Nightwalkers #1
Published: 2012 by Ballantine
Genres: Paranormal Romance, Romance
Pages: 340
Format: Paperback
Source: TLC Book Tours
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When Docia gets pushed off a bridge on her way to work, she thinks she’s dead meat.  Instead, she is given a second chance at life, and returns as a Bodywalker.  Bodywalkers hold two souls within their bodies, their own, and that of an ancient Egyptian.  This comes with a host of physical changes, including a moving tattoo, long-lasting youth, and the inability to walk in the sunlight.

When Ram, another Bodywalker, first encounters Docia and saves her life, he is certain that she is his queen and will stop at nothing to protect her.  He falls head over heels in love with her, but there’s a catch.  Every time King Menes reincarnates, he falls in love with Hatshepsut, and initiating a romance with the queen would be seen as a certain betrayal.

Before I get too far into this, it’s only fair for me to mention that I don’t read a lot of paranormal romance, or romance in general, for that matter.  Lately I’ve been trying to be a bit more open minded about different genres, and this seemed like a good starting point.  For hard-core paranormal romance fans, take my criticisms with a grain of salt, because what bothers me might not bother you.

The biggest problem with this book was the language.  Jacquelyn Frank uses a lot of wishy-washy phrases like “kind of” and “sort of” in her narration.  It would be fine in dialogue, but in a paragraph of description, it’s annoying as hell.  It took around 75 pages for the story to pick up enough for me to stop getting distracted by something that an editor really ought to have fixed before publication.

Once the story picked up though, it was entertaining.  I enjoyed the concept of the Bodywalkers and the way that the two souls living within one body maintained a symbiotic and mutually beneficial relationship.  The ancient Egyptian soul chooses its host based on personality, and while the two souls become Blended, there is still some distinction and retention of individuality.  This can also some kinky romantic implications, and when two Bodywalkers get in a relationship, the author quite aptly describes it as a “menage-a-everybody.”

Unlike most romances that I’ve read, I enjoyed the characters and thought their romance was cute.  Docia is independent, smart, and rebellious.  Ram has a very strict sense of honor and a desire to protect those that he cares about.  The two of them are equal partners in the relationship, and don’t waste time with petty drama.  Yes, there’s insta-love, but the author does a good job of explaining it within the context of the story, and speculates that the existence of soulmates is a part of the Bodywalkers’ condition.  Forbidden is very much a feel-good happily-ever-after kind of story, and those can be nice every now and again.

Overall, Forbidden is a mixed bag.  The story itself is intriguing, but the book could have been improved by a thorough edit featuring more decisive language.

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