Reminiscent of X-Men, The Forbidden Trilogy introduces readers to seventeen-year-old Sam, a genius artist and student in a special school for children with paranormal powers. The students have been gathered and protected from a world that might threaten them. They learn to control and hide their powers, ready for emergence into the real world at eighteen. But darker themes appear as readers see Sam sent on another Rent-A-Kid spying mission for the owners of the school. Dreams of studying art at college fall foul of other people’s dreams for her, and soon Sam’s binding her fate to that of a stranger called Drake whose voice begins to haunt her. The story’s told through Sam and Drake’s eyes in alternating chapters, a technique that allows for interesting insights into both students’ points of view. Occasionally awkward word choices are appropriate for the teen protagonists, giving an immediacy to the writing. A wealth of detail anchors the story in modern culture. And the plot is nicely drawn out. Books one and two (Forbidden Mind and Forbidden Fire) are both quick short reads, taking Sam from a false sense of security and Drake from a real sense of danger to a place where both need to fight for rights and family and the freedom of their friends. More characters’ points of view appear as the trilogy progresses, and the cast of characters on stage begins to grow. In Forbidden Fire, the pleasant school of book one suffers many changes while Luke and Lucy are drawn into the quest to learn what’s going on. Drake and Sam both question their motivations and the morality of mind control, until an exciting conclusion brings the danger into personal focus. Book three (Forbidden Life) is much the longest of the three books and could easily have been split again. With Drake’s former parish priest offering gentle guidance, paramilitary organizations taking the lead, and family relationships balanced against friendship and trust, the story offers many ethical questions, plenty of excitement, and a pleasing touch of romance—with details appropriately muted for YA reading. Disclosure: I was given a free ecopy of this trilogy to read and review during the author’s blog tour.
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