Jacquelyn Frank’s FORSAKEN is a Richly Detailed Intersection in the Nightwalkers’ World



The World of Nightwalkers
Jacquelyn Frank
Random House Publishing Group – Ballantine Books
E-Book, Paperback 368 Pages

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Disclosure: E-Galley provided by Publisher via NetGalley.com for review purposes.  No remuneration was exchanged and all opinions expressed herein are my own unless otherwise noted.

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New York Times bestselling author Jacquelyn Frank continues her scorching and sensual new series set in the world of the Nightwalkers, where alluring entities known as Bodywalkers are the vanguards against the raging forces of darkness.
As a mercenary, Leo Alvarez has signed on for a lot—but he never signed on for his best friend becoming host to the soul of an ancient Egyptian pharaoh. Jackson is now inhabited by a Bodywalker, and Leo is forced to grapple with a realm of supernatural beings far more dangerous than anything he’s ever encountered.But when Jackson is wounded by an attack from a demon god, Leo must team up with another supernatural creature—a Night Angel—to save his friend from utter destruction. With skin as black as midnight, hair as white as snow, and a body of pure perfection, the Night Angel arouses a burning desire in Leo, even as he refuses to be intimidated by her power—or the power of those who would destroy his friend. An unusual alliance is forged, electrified by sexual temptation, and together the two must unite their strengths to bring down a supreme evil. Random House

My Take!I’ve read several of Jacquelyn Frank’s series now, and in my opinion this is the best of what I’ve read. I was immediately engaged in this blend of the Bodywalkers’ and Nightwalkers’ series. In fact, the Bodywalkers’ series takes place in the Nightwalkers’ world.

I was captivated by the Night Angel, a type of Nightwalker I had not seen before as she steps onto the Bodywalker stage. Her physical description is delicious. I like it when series intersect like this because it allows an easier suspension of disbelief by creating a larger world. It’s like learning a new language and then learning it is spoken in not one, but two countries.

I don’t know of any other author in the paranormal romance genre who writes such flowing internal monologues for her characters. Nor one who writes such emotionally rich internal landscapes. The story offers layer on layer of individual emotional travail, character interaction and plot.

It hasn’t always worked well for me but herein it works fabulously well.

These characters are walking paradoxes: confused, complicated, unsure, angry, loving, hating.

This combined world has depth, history, and it  feels solid in its writer’s hands. She can even tell you the differences between a human’s and Night Angel’s vagina.  Bodywalkers are ancient Egyptians who blend with host bodies and their personalities. Nightwalkers are species of supernaturals. The all live pretty much on this earth in our history, with an unaware human population.

It can be hard to grasp the idea of blended souls; it is for the human characters. One thing I don’t like in the blended ancient Egyptians is that the females always seem dependent on the males. Here, the two couples who have been reunited in blended souls take a backseat to the relationship between the human, Leo Alvarez and the Night Angel, Faith. In that way, it is more about the Nightwalkers than the Bodywalkers.  There are other plot points where the series intersect, and if you haven’t read any of the Nightwalkers series it may feel the slightest bit esoteric. But, it’s not too distracting.

I have to note that Frank unapologetically creates species and powers as they are needed. Sometimes this means a problem that seems insolvable is solved by the ubiquitous Deus Ex Machina. They serve a purpose in the writer’s arsenal of devices that I have come to accept as part of her style.

I really enjoyed the development of the relationship between this new couple.  Leo is getting over a torture of such magnitude by a Bodywalker that he hates all supernatural beings, but he is also intensely loyal to his blended friends.  Getting him through that brings the couple together as he works out this intense prejudice.  Frank really makes the painful emotional journey and his  intellectual leaps palpable and powerful . This aspect of the story is the most thought provoking.  I think most humans put up biases against emotional/intellectual turmoil.  Try as we like, it is rare to find someone who doesn’t harbor some kind of bias and assumption.

Frank’s prose is often passionately purple enough to make me blush,  but she really gets it right here, especially the kissing scenes. I loved this line in particular:

He Kissed her slow and deep, as though he were the chocolate of desire melting into her mouth.(loc 3956 – Kindle E-ARC)

My feelings towards Frank’s books have been uneven. I really like some and have had trouble with others. I really, really liked this one. Within the series it doesn’t stand on its own so I have to recommend it in context. But, I do HIGHLY recommend FORSAKEN.

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