Jan 5 2014 10:30am

First Look: Jacquelyn Frank’s Forsaken (January 7, 2014)

Jacquelyn Frank
Ballantine / January 7, 2014 / $7.99 print, $5.99 digital

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.

Leo Alvarez was the biggest badass around. Since leaving the Rangers, he’s been a mercenary for hire, armed and dangerous and killing a few bad guys along the way. No one can hurt him, he thinks, until he encounters creatures in the night more powerful and dangerous than a human.

In Jacquelyn Frank's World of the Nightwalkers series' latest entry, Forsaken, Leo is trying to pull his life together after being tortured by a sadistic Bodywalker, Chatha, who disguised himself as a male with Down's syndrome. When Leo went to assist the innocent man, he saw too late the evil that hid within. If he had not been of use to Kamenwati as a bargaining chip, Leo would still be chained down while Chatha performed his sick game of Operation on Leo, plucking out his organs and healing him over and over again so Leo couldn’t even die to escape the horror and pain.

He was surrounded by these things with power he couldn’t comprehend, power he couldn’t fight. That wasn’t fascinating, it was utter stupidity. He’d spent years going headfirst into dangerous situations that he voluntarily put himself into, but the difference was that those situations were the devil he knew.

These people were the epitome of “stranger danger,” and definitely a devil he knew nothing about.

Now that his eyes have been forced open to the dark world of Nightwalkers, they are everywhere he looks. If that isn’t horrific enough for a man who prided himself on his strength and courage, the two people who are his family have become Bodywalkers, sharing their body with the soul of another. Jackson, who is a brother to him in all ways but blood, has returned from death with the soul of the Pharaoh Menes, and Jackson’s sister Docia, who Jackson and Leo raised like their own daughter, is sharing her body with the soul of the Priestess Tameri. Jackson and Docia insist that they are “blended” with their Bodywalker souls and are living quite harmoniously in their bodies. But after Leo’s playtime with Chatha, he fears that the only people Leo loves have been taken over by these Nightwalkers, and God help them if he finds out that Jackson and Docia are no longer truly inside their bodies.

“I don’t trust that thing inside of him. How do I know any of the Jackson I know has survived the possession of him? If he’s usurped the Jackson I know…I want to know. I want to know so I can do the right thing by my friend.”

“I don’t understand. The right thing?”

“Because if that thing inside Jackson has destroyed the soul of my best friend, I’m going to do everything in my power to kill the fucker.”

How can he accept that the two people he loves the most are now one of “them”? Will he ever be able to look at them again as his friends and his family when they have something else inside them?

But when Jackson is mortally wounded in a fight with a malicious God, Leo must use all his skills to find something that doesn’t want to be found—another Nightwalker—a Djinn with enough power to heal Jackson’s wound. Whether or not he likes it, the Night Angel, Faith, won’t let Leo go seeking a Nightwalker without the power of another Nightwalker by his side. As a Night Angel, Faith can see the pain and anger shining brightly in Leo’s light, and although she can’t blame him for his hatred—really, who wants to find out that they low man in the food chain?—but she wants to show him that the world isn’t just “us” and “them,” and that like humans, there are some evil Nightwalkers, but there are even more that are good.

“A Bodywalker named Chatha. He’s…on the outside he looks like a Down syndrome man. I don’t know if you know what that is…but suffice it to say, it’s sheep’s clothing. I let my guard down because I thought he was harmless. He got the drop on me and he…” Leo trailed off, his heart racing and sweat breaking out over every surface of his skin. “Anyway…it’s just going to take some time…I can’t be expected to just forget it.”

“No. I don’t expect you to forget it,” she said quietly. “But I do expect you to realize that one Nightwalker made of pure evil does not mean all Nightwalkers fit that same definition. And I expect you to be intelligent enough, evolved enough, to understand that.”

When Leo and Faith are shown a possible future for them which involves love and family, will Leo be able look beyond the fact that Faith is on of “them” and embrace the kind and gentle woman that she is or will he toss away a chance at the type of love they write stories about so that he can hold onto his anger and prejudice?

Learn more or order a copy of Forsaken by Jacquelyn Frank, available January 7, 2014:

Buy at AmazonBuy at Barnes & NobleBuy at Indiebound



Lucy Dosch writes book reviews for her blog Her e-reader has turned her love of reading into an obsession. When she is not reading, she likes to spend time with her husband and two daughters.

Subscribe to this conversation (must be logged in):
Post a comment