Forever by Jacquelyn Frank is the second book in her World of Nightwalkers series. It is set in the same world as her previous Nightwalker books but it focuses on a group called Bodywalkers. From my review of Forbidden, the first book in the series:
Basically what a Bodywalker is a spirit from older times that inhabits the body of a current human. The spirits are ancient Egyptians that have been cursed to live forever. They survive in the Ether until they find a body/soul to host them and at that point they rejoin the world. The “blending” as it is called is a purely voluntary thing as each human is given a choice, upon their death, on whether they want to joined by the other soul. The two people then form a symbiotic being neither being dominate or submissive but both being present at all times.
Towards the end of Forbidden, Jackson Waverly is dealt a mortal blow and then offered the chance to host Menes, the Egyptian pharaoh. He knows exactly what he is getting into but accepts because he wants to live. He deeply regrets not taking a chance on life with Dr. Marissa Anderson. By coming back he will be allowed a second chance at life and at possible love with Marissa, if not for the minor detail of Menes soul already being bound to his queen.
Menes allows the full three weeks that a blending can take for Jackson to make peace with leaving his old life. He will no longer be able to be a K9 cop and will not be safe in the sun. During that three weeks Menes slowly feeds Jackson’s obsession with Marissa because he believes she will be the perfect vessel for his queen. He himself also feels the pull to Marissa. She is strong, loyal and feisty. He can think of no more perfect host.
Marissa inadvertently learns the truth of Jackson/Menes when someone is sent to kill him. She witnesses Jackson performing feats that no mere human should be able to do. When Jackson defends Marissa that also places Marissa in the sights of the Templars, the faction opposite of what Menes stands for. Now Marissa must leave with the men and figure out what she will do. She is drawn to both Menes and Jackson but feels like they are both betraying their queen by wanting her. Things are not that simple and Marissa will have wrap her head around the concept if she is to be with Jackson. Of course, nobody has told her that she will have to die in order to accept the queen. Once she finds that out, there is a whole new issue at stake.
So yes, the concept once again sounds confusing but its not. Ms Frank does a very clean and concise job of showing how two people can blend into one and not lose either personality. The story and premise behind what is going on is quite fascinating. With this being the second book we could have gotten lost in the many different characters and the changes between each of them however there wasn’t any point where I felt confused by what was happening.
I had some moments of pause when Marissa is asked to accept that she is what both men want. I wasn’t sure if I was totally on board with her having to die just to take this queen into her body. With all the other characters there is a death scene and it felt more natural. This was a deliberate choice. My one complaint with the blending of Marissa/Hatshepsut would be that we didn’t get Menes reaction once it happened. Jackson mentions that he is singing inside him but for the whole book we heard the beauty of their love and connection. I would have loved to be able to read about their first moment together. We do know that when the blending first happens the soul is weak so maybe once Hatshepsut recovers we will get something in the next book.
Speaking of the next book, it looks like it will be Leo- Jackson’s long time friend. I am very interested in his story as he has always been the ne’er do well in these books. He gets around a bit and is a bad boy.
There is more going on in Forever than just the blending aspect. The fight between the factions of Politic and Templar is ongoing. Menes is the ruler so he is a huge target. Odjit, the big baddie from Forbidden, is out of commission for most of this book so there were some other bad guys floating around taking her place until she is back. We are almost given the feeling that a resolution is possible without the fighting but we will have to wait and see what comes from the future.
If you are a fan of Ms. Frank’s PNR books then you should pick up this series. It is a completely new concept, one that I have not run across before. Start with the first book in the series though as you might be very lost if you started here. Final grade- B
“If you tell me you’re a fucking vampire I’m going to find a very big stick, aim for your heart, and make you prove it.”