Sunday, January 5, 2014

ARC Review: Forsaken

Forsaken (The World of Nightwalkers #3)

by Jacquelyn Frank


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.

Themes: Magic, shapeshifters, demons

Rating: 4.25 stars

Heat Rating: 


Man oh man, the world of Nightwalkers just continues to get more and more complicated.  Being a fan of this world from the very beginning, through several different series, spin-offs and permutations, I can honestly say I did not see this one coming.  Introducing all new species of Nightwalkers to us, Jackie Frank takes us on a wild and emotional roller coaster as we experience the aftermath of a tortured character.  If you haven’t read any of the others in this particular series you might be missing a bit of the subtext and back-story, but as the story develops you will catch on quickly so don’t despair.  Forsaken takes us through the emotional journey of a damaged man and teaches us the true meaning of forgiveness and healing.  While I may have at times wanted to reach in and smack Leo in the back of the head, he thankfully comes to his senses and realizes that sometimes to recover from trauma you have to let those who love you in and accept that love with a graciousness and desire to live up to their love.
Forsaken picks up right where Forever left off; Leo has been released from his torturous prison and returned to the arms of his friends, but he can’t accept the changes in the new world they are inhabiting.  He is dealing with nightmares and doubts about himself, his friends, and the future that he can’t bring himself to accept.  When a tragic attack leaves his best friend, Jackson, incapacitated, he is determined to help heal him, even though he has his doubts about Jackson’s new Bodywalker and the supernatural entities that he just discovered he shares the world with. When a beautiful Night Angel, Faith, comes to the rescue, Leo is forced to work with her to find a cure for Jackson, even though he refuses to trust her or anyone else.  Faith is a pure and good-hearted soul and though Leo can see this for himself, he has lost all trust in his instincts and remains on edge around any Nightwalker.  Faith is determined not to let Leo’s insecurities or obvious disdain for all Nightwalkers stand in the way of her mission to revive Jackson and bring balance back to the ultimate battle.  Working together is their only option, but as they travel through the world of Nightwalkers, meeting Djynn, wraiths, and other beings of power, Leo begins to understand that his snap judgments, based on one encounter with a psychotic Nightwalker, might not be the full picture.  But will he be able to put aside his fears long enough to embrace the passion and peace that Faith inspires, or will he be forever lost in the rage, fear, and hate swimming through his soul?
Where to begin on the assessment of Leo? Well I guess I’ll begin by saying Leo is an ASS through a good bit of this story.  While I perfectly understand his hang-ups and fears about the Nightwalkers, he hangs on to his rage and prejudice far too long.  He is one of those men that refuse to look past the surface of his anger and see the fears that are really leading to the anger.  Yes, he's enraged that he was tortured to the brink of death again and again only to be snatched back for more torture.  Honestly who wouldn’t be pissed? But taking it out of the people around him, people he has loved for years and have never stopped loving him…not cool.  It is obvious that he is floundering in this new world where he feels weakened and inferior to the paranormal creatures that surround him, but instead of looking for ways to grow and really begin to heal he wallows in his anger and resentment, lashing out at those around him.  Enter Faith. Faith is an interesting character for the facts of her species but also for the pure and innocent nature that shines from her.  While he is definitely equipped to battle and ready to kick some ass, she never gives up on the goodness in people and is determined to help Leo heal in any way she can.  She fights him and for him to open his eyes to the positive aspects of the changes around him and the goodness that still exists in his friends.  When she begins to fall for him, she knows there will never be anything between them, but having a chance to show him a softer side of himself is just too irresistible for her.  These two are matched well with all his fears and her belief in goodness and as they work together we see more and more that if these two give each other a chance they could truly be a perfect pair long into the future.
A story of love and redemption, forgiveness and acceptance, with action, emotion, and danger, Forsaken is one of those stories that can’t be missed for any reader of romance.  Leo is a character that requires a swift kick in the butt to get his head out of said butt, to be sure, but Faith is just the woman er…Angel to get it done. Leo’s growth from a sullen and resentful victim, back into the strong and determined man he has always been, facilitated by Faith, was an integral part of the story and the catalyst for the relationship between Faith and Leo.  Even though there were a lot of emotional barriers Faith had to get past, in the end she was able to bring Leo back to himself and show him that his friends were not so very changed and he could move on from his tragedy with the help of his friends and those that love him.  Leo breaks Faith’s heart again and again with his unwillingness to face the truth of his new life, to accept those around him aren't so different from the humans he’s always believed were the top of the food chain, but thankfully he gets past his hang-ups and realizes that he isn't the man he could truly be without Faith by his side.  This series had taken a lot of different directions, and swerved a bit even into older series and I foresee this continuing, which only makes me more thrilled to continue the series.  I foresee the future requiring a bit of help from the Demons, Lycanthropes, Vampires and other Nightwalkers I have already fallen in love with.  I’m biting my nails waiting for the next story and hope that you will join me in the anticipation after you read Forsaken for yourself.   

*eARC provided by publisher (via netgalley) for the purpose of an honest and unbiased review.  No compensation was provided. 

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