Rosaline was taken brutally from her family by the horrible evil that is Vladimir Enescue, aka Dracula. We don't know much about Rosaline's three hundred years with Vlad other than he was a cruel husband. Rose escapes to Chicago, and disguises herself as a high school student where she meets her friends, and a potential love interest Gabriel. Rose's life is turned upside down when an old friend shows up at the dance. Then her ragtag group of friends must rush to her rescue learning about who and what she is along the way.
Sometimes you fall in love with a mythos, and sometimes the thing you fell in love with becomes the defining thing for that world. Such is the case with me. Not a fan of Bram Stokers it took until I read the gothic horror novel Tale of the Vampire Bride by Rhiannon Frater before I even cared about the Dracula myth, or learned anything about it. TotVB is my defining book on the Dracula myth. I'm a zombie girl, not a vampire girl. I don't want to and cannot compare FORBIDDEN with TotVB because they are two very different works. FORBIDDEN is not a horror novel. It's a Young Adult Paranormal Romance. And read as such it is an excellent novel. The story is gripping, it's hard to put down, it has suspense and romance and pretty much all of the criteria I want from a YAPNR.
The characters are kick butt, and it was great that Gabriel is not an Alpha Male. He's actually a little emo. Which was sweet and refreshing. Rose is the perfect heroine. The only thing I can say about the characters is that they are a bit underdeveloped. Rosaline's time with Vlad is rushed and glazed over. I think I would have liked to see more of their dynamic to see why she stayed for so long, and to be able to feel why he was terrifying. Of course, to explain why I wanted the gore of that relationship to be shown you have to realize that I am first and foremost a horror fan, so this isn't really the fault of the author. I also think that the characters were left a bit underdeveloped because it is the first in the trilogy. If they are fully formed in this work then they have no room to grow in the next work.
Rose's friends William, Sadie and Nicolae are a great cast of B characters they round out the story nicely and give us some comedic relief. Nicolae is not what he seems, but I am guessing if you pick up the book you will figure out what he is before the big reveal in the book. The real mystery is what Gabriel is? And we don't know the full answer to that one by the end of the book. So be warned CLIFFHANGER.
All in all Forbidden was a great escape, a fast read, and fulfilling. I will definitely be looking to pick up the next book very soon.