Friday, February 6, 2009

Review: Noah by Jacquelyn Frank

Title: Noah
Series: Nightwalkers
Author: Jacquelyn Frank
Read copy: Mass Market Paperback
Published: September 1, 2008
Publisher: Zebra
ISBN: 0821780697
ISBN-13: 9780821780695

The Nightwalkers have lived in the shadows of our world for centuries, gifted with abilities few humans can comprehend. For Noah, duty is all—until he meets the woman who is his destiny...


As Demon King, Noah is dedicated to protecting his kind from their human and Nightwalker enemies. Yet for six months he has struggled with vivid dreams that threaten his very sanity. Every night he's tormented by images of a woman both achingly real and tantalizingly beyond his grasp. And his bone-deep need leaves him no choice but to force her to leave the life she's known and enter a world beyond her imagining...

Every day, Kestra risks her life in perilous missions that veer just shy of the law, but she instinctively knows that the imposingly sensual figure before her is a danger unlike any she's ever faced. Kestra has sworn never to trust or need another man, but Noah's lightest touch scorches her with fevered desire, branding her as his mate, blinding them both to the terrifying truth. For within the ranks of their own people lies an adversary growing in number and power. And nothing and no one will be safe again...

Desire awakens at night...

My rating:

For the past six months, Noah, the Demon King, has had difficulty keeping his darker and "baser" instincts under control, plagued by tantalizing and incredibly real dreams of the woman clearly destined to be his mate. But if she fights him even in his dreams, he can only suspect the fight she'll put up in real life.

Kestra Irons is living her life on the edge, trying to purge her deep-rooted fears with deadly stunts. Yet one day, the Grim Reaper is waiting and her life is extinguished with a single bullet through her head...That is also the day Noah's dreams stop.

He knows something has gone terribly wrong and when the tiny bundle of his "niece" Leah helps him understand by showing him Kestra's violent death, Noah's life shatters. For the first time in his life, he indulges in a bout of (temporarily insane) selfishness, using every power available to change the past and save his woman, no matter the cost to him and the people he loves and who love him.

The powerful Demon succeeds in his quest, sequestering Kestra right before she's killed, and brings her to his home. Yet, as he suspected, convincing her of the fact they're destined to be together soon proves to be a major problem...A rather minor one compared to a new threat of a group of rogue Vampires intent on feeding off the powers of random Nightwalkers.

From the very beginning of this series, Noah came off as the most "stable" of the Demons, the strong, capable glue keeping his people together, providing an immovable buffer for his friends when they jumped off the proverbial cliff. Taking all that in consideration, coupled with his awesome capability of keeping a tight reign over his volatile temper, gift of his scorching element, watching him fall apart, literally implode, is thrilling and terrifying at the same time. Like a train-wreck, you don't want to watch, yet you're compelled to do just that.
His struggles as he tries to piece together who he (thought he) was, what he's turned into (a monster, at least in his eyes), and what he could be with Kestra at his side are both both painful and beautiful to behold. And his inner turmoil when he realizes the true extent of what he's done to get her, and yet still unable to feel guilty about it, was heartbreaking.

I must applaud Ms. Frank on her "selection" of Noah's heroine. I couldn't imagine a woman more worthy of her hero as Kestra was. In a way, she was so similar to him, it was uncanny, and a real joy to read. They both hid their fears and scars behind an exterior veneer that only came undone when they were finally together.
Kestra was a much a "balm" for Noah as he was for her. In her own way, she taught him not to be afraid of who he was when he was with her, of just being true to himself. And he taught her the real meaning of true and unconditional love. Love uncorrupted, as she reflected on the union of his parents.

Again, kudos for Ms. Frank's amazing storytelling. Because that's what she does, she's just not a writer, she tells stories, and though her style is something one has to get used to (and still there are some parts where the plot could move a little faster), her interpretation of her characters, their relationships, their interaction and their world is always on the mark.
I was saddened by the fact this was the last in the series, but since there was not even a small mention of the main villain from the previous four books, instead concentrating on a new threat, I'd say she isn't done with that plot yet.
Although I'd love to read more about Demons, 'Thropes and Vampires, I'm perfectly content (for the time) to leave it with Noah...That is, until I pick up her Shadowdwellers series in the future.

As I suspected all along, the entire series has built up to the grand finale that this book was. When I think Ms. Frank cannot do it better, she outdoes herself, as she did with this huge emotional roller-coaster (as much for the heroes that this weep-prone reader).
This small (and rather insignificant) review cannot even hope to do this amazing book the justice it deserves. You'll just have to pick it up and see for yourself.


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