4.25 Forbidden Stars
Release date: 25th April 2017
ARC kindly provided by the author in exchange for an honest review
What I love the most about this series is that each and every book is so different from the others, and you never know what to expect. There was an “on the run” book, a rock star one, one involving a kingpin and a private island, tortured heroes and perfect gentlemen, tons of different countries, languages, accents. Pauls always brings me somewhere new and exciting, with a different mood and a different atmosphere.
In this case, I was surprised by how heartbreaking and dark Sky’s story was, and at the same time by how thoughtful and kind Bono was to her. He may be the sweetest, gentlest hero of the series and, although Josselin will always remain my favorite, Bono sure made my heart stutter.
This instalment is set mainly in Amsterdam and it’s kind of a modern rendition of Romeo and Juliet, as in Bono and Sky are as star-crossed as they come. Sky is a slave, tied to a cruel man who exploits her because of her gift. This man is also controlled by Godfrey, the villain of the series, and therefore Sky will find herself in a very dicey situation, in which she’ll be called to choose between the man she’s falling for and someone equally as important.
I loved to see her struggle and it broke my heart. Usually, knowing she was deceiving the hero would have me say: “Hell to the no, girl!” Instead, here I was rooting for her, even when it came to Bono’s expenses, because her reasons were totally understandable and everyone in her position would have done the same.
Bono too is called to make tough choices and will try to balance his loyalty to the team and his desire to see Godfrey go down with protecting the woman he’s in love with.
Dressed in a stylish leather jacket, fitted shirt, tight jeans, and pointed dress shoes, he looked like he belonged in a club that served fifty-euro cocktails, not in a trailer park with a white trash girl who read palms in a sex club.
They’re so different, yet when they’re together it’s like nothing else in the outside world matters.
“You were waiting for me?”
“Making sure you’re safe.”
“Nobody’s going to attack me in the toilets at Melk.”
“It doesn’t matter where we are. It’s my responsibility to take care of you.”
We also get to see the whole team, which is always an added bonus. The epilogue may have been my favorite chapter 🙂 All those cute kids!
The reason I didn’t give it five stars is because, as I said in some other reviews, I’m trying to be more selective and, in the first chapters, I couldn’t quite get why Bono was falling so hard for her. It was a bit too insta-love for my liking. Also, he may be a bit too perfect. I think the reason I loved Josselin so much was because of his innate desperation. Bono too has a darker shade inside of him, one we discover through a palm reading and that tore through my heart as well, but otherwise he was always too much in control, too much unaffected by it. I didn’t see him struggle enough.
Anyway, I adored how he was with Sky. It didn’t surprise me at all how she fell so easily for him. He’s perfect!
And while the first part of the book is more focused on Sky, the second is full of action, suspense and romance. It definitely sped up and gave me the feels. There are also important developments concerning Godfrey and now I’m curious to see where this new discoveries will lead the narration. We’re getting closer to the final showdown and you can feel the tension in the air.
The style is, as usual, on point and overall great. There were a couple instances in which, through simple images, it shred my soul.
Carefully, she took out the stuffed bunny. It had floppy ears and a lopsided smile. Her fingers trailed over the soft fur that had never been touched by the dirt and chocolate smeared hand of a toddler. The stitches were not coming apart like in the case of favorite, comfort-bringing toys. A tear dribbled down her cheek as she put it to one side on the rug. The next item was a fire truck. It had a siren and big, sturdy wheels made for little hands. She ran it over the floor, imagining the noises boys made when they played with cars. Placing the truck next to the bunny, she reached for the book. The tales had never been read to a child. No little boy had drifted off to the magical stories.
Cue the sobbing. It may not tell you anything right now, but believe me, you will crack while reading this!
And other times when I wanted to slow clap at its cleverness.
“You know nothing about my country [Senegal], American.”
“I do,” Joss said. “We colonized Senegal, captured the country like a wild animal, made it an orphan, and then released it back into the wild after killing its instinct to fend for itself. […]”
I’d also like to point out that the steamy scenes were exceptionally so. In quantity, they were less than in the previous instalments, but each one of them held meaning and it was super appreciated. And when I say that Bono is a gentleman, I don’t mean that he’s any less alpha. He’s protective, assertive and hot as Sahara at noon. His dirty talk is the stuff panty-vanishing spells are made of!
Last, but not least, I wanted to point out a fact which made me really happy, and it is how Bono didn’t deny past feelings for a woman he was with years prior. In romances today, it seems like the hero had never been in love before the heroine. If he ever had a serious relationship, 99% of the times, he claims it wasn’t real love. Well, I believe humans are capable of loving more than one person in their entire lives, and even if this person hurt them (which is not the case here), it doesn’t make the feeling any less real. So hearing Bono admit his feelings for a previous woman which is not in the picture anymore, made me one happy reader. It’s human, it’s real.
I’ll end the review with a snippet which became one of my favorite because it truly sums up the melting pot which is this series.
Tim speaks with an Australian drawl, and well, you know what Sean sounds like when he rolls his Scottish r’s. Ivan’s accent is so typically British—Don’t you think?—and then there’s Maya, Sara, and Wayne’s South African dialect. Asia speaks Danish, of course, and Cain and Alice are as New York-ish as they get. Very colorful indeed.”
Would I recommend it? Yes, I would. I would also recommend you read the other books in the series, especially “Loving the Enemy” and “Pyromancist” (Josselin’s) the first two, which are my absolute favorite.