Review and Giveaway: “Forever” by Jacquelyn Frank

I received this book for free from TLC Book Tours in exchange for an honest review. This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.

Review and Giveaway:  “Forever” by Jacquelyn FrankForever by Jacquelyn Frank
Series: The World of the Nightwalkers #2
Published: 2013 by Ballantine
Genres: Paranormal Romance, Romance
Pages: 352
Format: Paperback
Source: TLC Book Tours
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I reviewed the first World of the Nightwalkers book, Forbidden, earlier this month, and am following up with a review of Forever, the second book in the series.  This post is part of a blog tour celebrating the release of the third book, entitled Forsaken.  I am giving away a set of all three books in the series as part of the tour (see below for details).

Police officer Jackson Waverly has recently been brought back from death by becoming a Bodywalker.  This means that his body is shared by the ancient Egyptian pharaoh Menes, and the two souls are blended together into one.  Part of the reason why Jackson wanted a second chance at life is because of his feelings for Marissa, a psychiatrist who works at the police station.  Marissa comes off to many people as a stuck-up bitch, but that’s because she puts up an external wall of professionalism to keep herself from getting hurt.  Jackson’s had a crush on her for more than a year, but he’s too dedicated to his job act on his feelings and complicate things with a workplace romance.  The problem?  Menes is waiting for his queen Hatsheput to be reincarnated.  He really wants Marissa to become Hatsheput’s Bodywalker host, but Marissa doesn’t want to kill herself so she can share her soul with an undead queen.

When I read the first book in the series, I was less than impressed with the writing and the pacing.  Forever has much better writing, but the pacing threw me off.  There’s less explanation and background needed about the Bodywalkers and their world, and so we get into the relationship drama right away, and that came at the expense of worldbuilding and paranormal plot.  Perhaps because I’m accustomed to reading fantasy rather than romance, I was itching to see more action (of the literal and figurative varieties) and less wrestling with emotions.

Marissa is the embodiment of a high-strung professional.  She spends so much time taking care of other people’s problems that she never takes the time to have a life of her own.  My favorite character in the story, albeit a minor one, is her outspoken sister Lina, who warns Marissa that she needs to take some chances and experience more of what life has to offer.

“You need to loosen up,” Lina said, for the thousandth time.  “Before you know it your youth will be gone and bam!”–she smacked her hands together–“You’re old and decrepit with cobwebs in your vagina and you’ll be sitting there wondering why you never actually lived your life.  I constantly hope you’ll throw caution to the wind one day and just embrace your life.”

As a character, Lina cracked me up.  Her honest and no-nonsense outlook on life was a refreshing contrast to the protagonists.  Even though she’s batshit crazy, she’s the most reasonable character in the book.

It took Marissa around 200 pages of sexual tension to finally bang Jackson, and the tension between the two was a bit overplayed.  Jackson is pretty much your stereotypical lawful good guy, so he doesn’t want to complicate Marissa’s life or overstep boundaries.  He isn’t used to breaking rules.  Menes is used to being a king, so he is a lot more willing to help Jackson push his own boundaries.  Then there’s Marissa trying to decide whether or not she wants to let go and become emotionally vulnerable, even though it’s obvious that she already is.  Then again, romance isn’t my usual genre, so I suspect my frustration with the drama is more a reflection of me than of the book itself.

And then there’s the whole Marissa/Hatsheput controversy.  Asking the person you love to die so someone else can share her body with her is creepy.  I get that Jackson and Menes have to share the same body, but I felt like they were putting too much pressure on Marissa to become like them.  When you truly love someone, you accept them for who they are rather than trying to force them to be someone they’re not.  The whole immortality and superpowers thing complicates it a bit, and Jacquelyn Frank chose to take a risk by presenting dying just to become a Bodywalker as a good thing.  Some people are going to think it’s romantic, and others are gonna think it’s just weird.

This book was ridiculous.  Good for a light read, but if you try to analyze it seriously, it will make your head spin.  Forbidden was definitely the stronger book of the two.  And yet, despite my frustrations with Forever, I will be reading book three.


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