Reviewed by Helyce
From Goodreads: 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.
Forsaken picks up just a short time after Forever. The Bodywalker Kamenwati who had broken an ancient curse to bring forth the Demon God Apep hoping to gain his own power realized his humongous, unforgivable error and in the hopes of gaining sanctuary, rescued Leo and brought him back to Jackson/Menes as a sort of peace offering. Now, the whole group has moved to the desert of New Mexico in the hopes of buying some time while Jackson, his mate Marissa, and Jackson’s sister Docia take the much needed time for their newly received Bodywalker souls to blend within their human bodies. Unfortunately, they are not there long when the Demon God Apep makes an appearance and in a surge of his power, pretty much incapacitates Jackson and causes his newly blended souls to tear apart.
When Faith reveals that her power can only do so much and that that the magic of a high level Djinni is required in order to reattach the souls within Jackson’s body, Leo and Faith set out to track a Djinni and bring him back in the hopes of healing Jackson. Time is of the essence but this journey will have major consequences and Leo and Faith will be changed forever.
I have liked the character of Leo Alvarez from the first book so I was interested to see how his story would be incorporated into this series. Leo has survived horrific torture and he’s dealing with trying to heal not only his body, but his spirit and his heart. He doesn’t know how to respond to the changes that have befallen Jackson and Docia-two people who are his only family. He is struggling with acceptance and more than anything he wishes he could just leave and forget everything that has happened to him. But his love of Jackson and Docia is not something easily forgotten and in the end, he really just cannot walk away.
The author’s interpretation of an angel was surprising to me but at the same time I loved how she steps out of the box, giving us an angel with “skin as black as night and hair as white as snow.” Clearly she picks up on Leo’s animosity toward Nightwalker’s in general so she’s surprised when he volunteers to journey with her to look for the Djinni. Leo is human and therefore can travel during the daylight. Faith can as well, but her physical body loses all it’s Nightwalker powers making her human-like and unable to adequately defend herself. This is where Leo comes in, and they form an unlikely alliance for the sake of the greater good. They are off to a great start after this exchange when Leo first learns the Night Angel’s name:
“Isn’t that a little redundant?” he heard himself asking with a sneer in his tone […] “An angel named Faith?”
“No different, I imagine, than a man being named Dick,” she said dryly.
When Faith and Leo find the Djinni, he does something that will forever change them both. The experience changes how Leo feels about the Nightwalkers in general, but most especially about Faith. Faith, too, is changed but she has a much harder time dealing with it which causes a lot of tension between them. If feelings and emotions were not enough, the Djinni will not agree to help them unless they do two things, one of them involving a wish, something Faith has been told never to do with a Djinni because the price is always much too high. I thought this aspect of the story was handled well and in the end the goal is achieved.
The psychotic demon God Apep is truly sick in every sense of the word. I expect that this character will continue to play a large role as this series moves forward. Apep, though male, has taken the form of a female in here and is as deluded as a Demon God could possibly be. His sick mind has decided that it needs to procreate and sets forth to do just that. I’m intrigued to see where this goes and especially interested in the male Apep has chosen to father the child.
While I enjoyed Leo and Faith and the journey they take here, I found the pacing a bit inconsistent. Without being too spoilery there are time jumps of a sort and I found that would pull me out of the story a bit. Having said that there are interesting developments in this story as it relates to the war between the Bodywalkers and the connection is clearly revealed between all the Nightwalker species in general which I found very interesting. So, while the story didn’t really move forward, we’re given a bit more of a foundation. Also, I didn’t feel that Leo and Faith experienced a total HEA; I was left more with the feeling of the possibility of it.
Next up is Forged which features a Gargoyle named Ahnvil. I can’t wait to see how the author deals with a character who turns to stone in daylight.