This review originally appeared at http://bellesbookshelf.blogspot.com/I have to admit, I was pretty surprised at the raving praise Forbidden - the story of a brother and sister who fall in love - was receiving around the blogosphere. Sure, growing up on a steady diet of V.C. Andrews, I'm no stranger to incestuous relationships (er, in book form!), but they're not exactly the kind of stories that get resounding love and five-star ratings (unless it's on a trashtastic scale). So I was immediately curious when this one did, and decided to investigate for myself.After reading it - and peeling myself up off the floor, where it left me in sobs - I realised that what makes this book so different from the likes of those written by Andrews and her ghostwriters (and it is ultimately VERY different) are the characters. Alternating between the viewpoints of the siblings in question, Lochan and Maya, you really get to know them, understand their choices - even if you can't exactly relate to them - and, most importantly, care about them. Plus, by grounding the star-crossed lovers in the very real situation of an abusive home (as opposed to, y'know, twins-separated-at-birth/rich-kid-kidnapped-at-birth/locked-in-an-attic-for-money), Suzuma takes a concept that's generally used for cheap titillation and turns it into a touching tragedy.And what a tragedy it is. I should have expected it - I was warned that it'd be sad - but I was shocked and crushed by the end of the book. Just thinking about it now, I feel absolutely gutted. Which is a sign of a good book - something that Forbidden most definitely is. But I can't say it was an enjoyable read. It hurt way too much to be that.