Sunday, February 1, 2009

Review: Jacob by Jacquelyn Frank

Title: Jacob
Series: Nightwalkers
Author: Jacquelyn Frank
Read copy: Mass Market Paperback
Published: December 1, 2006
Publisher: Zebra
ISBN: 0821780654
ISBN-13: 9780821780657

Since time began, there have been Nightwalkers—the races of the night who live in the shadows of the moonlight. Love with humans is absolutely forbidden, and one man makes certain to uphold this ancient law: Jacob, the Enforcer...

For 700 Years, He has resisted temptation. But not tonight...

Jacob knows the excuses his people give when the madness overtakes them and they fall prey to their lust for humans. He's heard every one and still brought the trespassers to justice. Immune to forbidden desires, uncontrollable hungers, or the curse of the moon, his control is total...until the moment he sees Isabella on a shadowy New York City street. Saving her life wasn't in his plans. Nor were the overwhelming feelings she arouses in him. But the moment he holds her in his arms and feels the soft explosion of her body against his, everything changes. Their attraction is undeniable, volatile, and completely against the law. Suddenly everything Jacob has ever believed is inflamed by the heat of desire...

Bring on the night.

My rating:

The most feared amongst the Demons, Jacob the Enforcer, is the only one standing between his people and the madness brought upon them by the moon of Samhain and Beltane.

On one of those nights, after giving his little brother a slap on the wrist for straying and following a Summoned Demon back to New York, his destiny is dropped into his lap. Literally.

Isabella Russ is staring at the moon, feeling as she usually does when staring at the moon—weird, when she suddenly loses her contact with her apartment floor and tumbles headfirst onto the street...And straight into the embrace of a hunk strolling the Bronx streets in the middle of the night.

That tumble, and the subsequent catching, is the start of a new life for them both. Bella quickly discovers her strange dormant abilities that fit her uncannily into the Demon world, while Jacob, the perpetual loner, finds the tough, little bookworm has wormed herself into his heart.

But is there a future for a human/Demon relationship when the very laws of the ancient race forbid such a union? And when the human magic-wielders throw their weight into the mix, Bella and Jacob have their work cut out for them.

This book started rather slowly, boy did it start slow, but still not slow enough for me just to skim the pages. But after a few chapters the plot thickened and the story revved its engines.

Kudos to Jacquelyn Frank for her imagination. Using the Demons, we humans see as ugly, slimy creatures (after the transformation in Ms. Frank's universe), the "lesser" creatures of the night realm, as leading characters was a nice respite from the flood of vampires and lycans in today's paranormal fiction...Also, great world-building. It's tough enough creating an entire race, its history, beliefs, laws, abilities, and prophecies from scratch. But make them work as a whole without falling into inconsistencies and making the created world crumble down around its foundations is another story altogether.
The milk thing was a great move, BTW. Also providing for one of the few funny moments in the beginning of the novel.
"From where?"

"A cow."
I loved Ms. Frank's characters. Though introducing (almost) all main characters of the series in one (first) book could be rather crowded, the "supporting cast", despite their "largerthanlifedness" complimented the leading couple and story without "hogging the space". Bella was a real gem with her dry sense of humor and astounding presence of mind. Jacob was your average paranormal Alpha, a loner with barely a friend in sight, whom everybody either feared or hated. He was in dire need of salvation and Bella provided that and much more.
Also, I liked how through the pages Bella seemed to rub off a little on Jacob...Nice touch and very cute.

The only major problem I've encountered with this novel was its prose. The style of narration was a tad too old-school for a "new" author and it was that strange (and somewhat out of place) lyrical style that made for such a page count and the slow beginning. Once the reader gets used to the style, the story starts flowing.
Also, some repetitions could've been avoided, for example constant reminders of Bella's dark hair curling around something (mostly her breast) and Jacob's obvious fixation with it. There wasn't a scene with the two of them together, when he wouldn't run his fingers through her mass of hair, surprising she didn't go bald...Wait...Never mind.

Other than that "small" hitch, this was a wonderful story and a great start of the Nightwalkers series. Ms. Frank is certainly an author to watch out for.


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