Review: Forbidden by Jacquelyn Frank

11193959Forbidden by Jacquelyn Frank (The World of the Nightwalkers #1)
Paranormal Romance
Releases: October 30, 2012
Ballantine

Reviewed by Helyce

Docia Waverly’s life is forever changed when she is hit by a speeding van while walking to work one day. Thrown over the bridge as she was crossing it, she tumbles onto the rocks below, her death imminent. However, in the first seconds of her death, she hovers in the Ether and a woman comes to her and gives her a choice. She explains that Docia can live, but she needs to decide quickly, there isn’t a lot of time. There are consequences, of course-but in those moments all Docia can think about is her brother Jackson, who raised her from the age of 5 after their parents died. They are the only family that each other has and the thought of him being alone because of her death is too much for her. She’s not ready to die; she’s not finished living. The decision is easy and she accepts.

When Docia awakens, her brother is there. Everyone, especially the doctors, are shocked at the fact that she survived the fall with minimal injuries and is recovering and healing at remarkable speeds. When she is finally released to go home, she’s happy. Jackson is there, her home and her things, all giving her comfort. Unfortunately, it was no accident that Docia was hit and thrown off that bridge. Those people are still after her. When she is attacked again, she is rescued by a man named Ram. Though he literally kidnaps her, telling her he’s the only one who can keep her safe now, she is not afraid and a voice inside her head keeps her calm enough to listen to what he has to say.

As Docia comes to understand exactly what is to become of her, Ram, along with several of his ‘friends’ are there to help her with this transition. Their attraction to each other is instant. The slightest touch and heat sears between them. But Docia is not for Ram, she is all but Forbidden.

I’m a fan of Ms. Frank’s Nightwalker series, so I was very interested in seeing where this spinoff would go. In here we meet the Bodywalkers; souls from Ancient Egypt that unwittingly ended up in a sort of limbo in what they call the Ether as a sort of side effect of the mummification process. Unfortunately for them, though, the fact that their souls continued to live and that they found a way to be reborn by joining with a human at the point of death apparently angered the God Ra and he cursed them with being nocturnal, the rays of the sun damaging to them. I love mythology of any kind and I am especially enamored with Ancient Egypt. Though this story started out painfully slow, I was definitely pulled in when I realized there was this connection.

In the Ether, Docia is given a choice. It’s all explained to her about how a soul will essentially move in alongside her own and through a process called “blending” they will become one. She doesn’t question who the person is, her goal is simply to live. When she’s released from the hospital she’s still just Docia, but stronger and healing faster than expected. When she’s attacked again while just outside her home, she’s rescued by Ram, a Bodywalker, who was sent to protect her and explain everything about her new life, as it were. Ram believes that Docia now houses the soul of his queen, Hatshepsut, and his job has always been to protect her while they wait for their king, Menes, to also be reincarnated. Through several lifetimes, over hundreds of years, they have always found their way back to each other and their love is literally undying. But never, in those many years and lifetimes, has Ram felt the way that Docia makes him feel. He wants her in an all consuming way, but he cannot give in. Docia/Hatshepsut is for Menes and has always been.

If that wasn’t enough, there are the enemies of the Bodywalkers-Templar priests, also Bodywalkers, who would like nothing else than to bring down Menes and Hatshepsut and take over their reign. This war has been going on for centuries and with each reincarnation the fight is the same.

I really liked the forbidden love theme of this story. The author does a good job of building the tension and angst. For Docia, she only knows that she is attracted to this gorgeous, strong man that has become her protector. She has never felt this way and she wants to explore it. She misinterprets Ram’s very mixed signals and finds herself making excuses for it. Docia is a quirky young woman and I was glad to see so much of her in spite of the inevitable blending that would have to occur. When they finally get to the point where each decides to throw caution to the wind, it’s done well and under appropriate circumstances. I was very pleased with the twist presented here to explain these characters attraction.

The side story which includes Docia’s brother Jackson is also well done. He’s a cop with a K-9 that recently died. He’s forced to endure a series of psych evaluations with the on-site psychologist, Marissa-problem is he doesn’t think he needs it and worse, all he can think about is her hot body when he’s sitting across the desk from her. Of course, once Docia is hurt and then taken by Ram, this becomes his focus. Docia is everything to him. In a not very surprising twist, something happens to Jackson near the end to set up the next book. I’m intrigued enough to want to read it.

There is also Leo, a close friend of Jackson who played a big part in both Docia and Jackson’s life and was instrumental in keeping Docia and Jackson together when their parents died when Jackson was just 18. He’s there at the climactic end…and then he disappears. I was very intrigued by this and wonder what part he’ll play, if any, in book #2.

In spite of the rather slow start and somewhat predictable ending, I enjoyed this story and look forward to the next book.

Rating: B-

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