THE REVIEW: Forbidden by Jacquelyn Frank

ForbiddenThe World of Nightwalkers Book One

Genre Paranormal romance Published 1 September 2012  Publisher Ballantine Books

The unexpected happens in an instant. On her way to work, secretary Docia Waverley hurtles into a crashing crossroads, and she quickly begins to suspect that things will never be the same. Then, when a tall, blond, muscular stranger intervenes on her behalf, telling her it is his duty to protect her at all cost, what is just a feeling turns to proof positive. That is, as long as Docia’s savior doesn’t turn out to be a crazed kidnapper.
 
When Ram finds Docia, he has no doubt that she is his queen. But as this golden warrior sweeps in to protect her, he feels something more than body heat every time they touch. He is overwhelmed by a searing connection that goes deep into the twin souls inside him. A desire rises in him that is forbidden—this woman is his queen, the mate of his king, his leader, his best friend. And yet Docia is so vulnerable and attractive that she awakens a hunger in Ram that is undeniable, a carnal craving he cannot yield to . . .

The Urban Book Thief Review

urban book thief

Funny, sexy and unique – if I had known that the Ancient Egyptians had it going on this bad I would have picked this one up sooner. And if The World of Nightwalkers gets any hotter, this series will definitely earn a place on my Goodreads’ favourites list.

The story follows Dorcia Waverley, an office manager who leads a regular life, with a regular job and a regular expectation of that life. Little Miss. Average, she’s a bit insecure about her looks and insists on calling herself a ‘professional retard’. Yet she’s not and it doesn’t take a hot immortal to make her seem more beautiful or more interesting to the reader. With a self-depreciating sense of humour, Dorcia kept me chuckling throughout the book. So much so, that I have included some awesome quotes from her at the bottom of this review. I have to say, I’m glad that Jacquelyn Frank didn’t make her too sarcastic or too funny – authors have ruined so many perfectly good characters by giving them an over-the-top blasé sense of humour. All in an attempt to give them something ‘extra’ to make up for their lack of ‘paranormalcy’ (is that even a real word?) or super demon fighting skills.

Dorcia

Dorcia

In Forbidden, poor Dorcia is having a bad time of it all. After her car breaks down on her she is forced to walk to work one morning. A walk which will change her life forever. While crossing over a bridge she is viciously pushed over the edge into the watery depths below. There is no way she should have survived, but she does. Why? Because Dorcia is pulled into the ether, a state which you can only enter if you are in between life and certain death. Given a choice of either dying or returning back to earth, Dorcia chooses to live. Yet the consequences are extreme. She must become a Bodywalker (not to be confused with body snatchers) and share her body with another, eventually blending and becoming one and the same person. Though there are also advantages to be had. Dorcia would get to live far longer than her normal human life-span, regenerate quickly, gain revenge on her murderer and though she doesn’t know it yet, get to have hot, hot sex with an Ancient Egyptian pharoh. Score!

Bodywalkers have been around for about a thousand years. They comprise of two souls living in the same body, the human part is the called the ‘original’ and the Egyptian part is called the ‘carbon’. This is the unfortunate result of people being mummified in Ancient Egypt. The main recipients of mummification were the Templars (Egyptian priests and priestesses) and the Politic (Royals and official figures) and this process made them all immortal. They are forever trapped in a vicious circle of either living in the ether or sharing the body of another human. But they have to wait 100 years in the ether in between each ‘life’. Some say in the book that it is a curse inflicted on them by their gods for messing around with life and death.

So when a human is on the verge of death and agrees to share their body, they are both whisked back to earth to start the blending process.

“The Blending is like … two voices singing in beautiful and perfect harmonization. It feels and sounds true and delightful, a single note of beauty made by two separate beings. But that harmony isn’t always perfect,” Cleo said with a shrug. “Desirée and I are like … the very best of friends. Very much of one mind on most things, if you’ll pardon the pun. But occasionally we will argue when we see things differently.”

Dorcia’s view on blending is a little different…

Oh jeez. She suddenly had a violent fear that something was going to come bursting out of her chest and fall wriggling to the floor. She laid a hand on her chest and tried to take soft, steady breaths. Nothing of what she had learned of them had suggested the Bodywalker inside her had any desire to leave. Or that it even could. By the sound of it, her hitchhiking Bodywalker was very much dependent on her. But what was the Blending? And … at some point was this strong, dominant female presence inside of her going to take her over completely?

Soon after her brush with death, Dorcia almost becomes a victim for the second time in two days after she goes out for a walk by herself (I’m starting to see a pattern here…). Luckily for her though, a tall blonde haired stranger saves her from being stabbed with a knife. And I must say that Dorcia is pretty impressed with him from the get-go.

He must live in the gym, she observed. If so, she really needed to know which gym. She’d really like to go hang out there. Watching him push weights around as though he owned them would be one of the high points of her existence.

And I completely agree with her. Ram is a Bodywalker too and has been sent to retrieve Dorcia after Cleopatra foretold that the Queen of the Bodywalkers, Hatshepsut, would be making a return within this precise location. Ram is short for Ramses the second,

Ramses ii

Ramses ii

Here is a picture of him, isn’t he cute?

Ram is on his eleventh Bodywalker, looks to be in his early thirties but is in fact in his mid-sixties. Vincent is name of his original and we do get to meet him during the story. Vincent’s small appearance was incredibly worth the read, an ex-Navy SEAL, he is very similar in temperament and action to Ram without the Egyptian silver spoon stuck up his ass. Ram is strong and protective and old fashioned. Vincent is sarcastic and funny and controlled. As a blended soul they are dy-na-mite together! I love that Vincent has this to say about Ram –

“Seriously. Ram has a thing for mani/pedis. He’s kind of a little bit too metrosexual for me sometimes.”

She racked her brain for a way to respond to that. All she could come up with was, “Oh. So you don’t like them? Mani/pedis, I mean.”

Silence.

She giggled.

“Well, who am I to argue with pretty girls fondling my feet and hands?” he pointed out in a tone that was positively predatory male.

“Oh. No. I can see your point.”

Silence.

“But you like them.” She giggled, imagining him in a pedicure chair getting his toes painted.

“You know, I can see right up your dress from here.”

“Hey!”

Smug silence.

Ram

Ram

In some kind of kinky way, it’s just like having a threesome. But only in your head. So no embarrassment or recriminations in the morning (I imagine). Ram is utterly delicious and his feelings for Dorcia are so bittersweet. He can’t understand why he feels this sudden attraction for a Queen that he has lived so very long beside. But not only that, she belongs to Menes, the Bodywalker King and his best friend. Menes and Hatshepsut are like the Romeo and Juliet of the Politic. They have been together in every single Bodywalker incarnation as well as in the ether. In their last life, Hatshepsut was brutally murdered by a Templar and instead of living without her he poisoned himself so that he could die and join her in the ether. Poor Ram. He shouldn’t have had a chance.

The story is split into two plot lines. One follows Dorcia’s brother Jackson who featured heavily throughout the book. Don’t be tempted to skip these bits as Jackson is going to play a very large role in the future of the series. He’s a cop who goes renegade with his best bud Leo as he hunts for the man who pushed Dorcia from the bridge. I understood the need to have Jackson feature so much in the book but the reason behind the attack turned out to be lame with a capital L. Freaking loved Leo though, a gun toting PI who is bad, mad and on my wish list for future series appearances.

The second and main plot line follows the hatred between the Templars and the Politic. They have been battling a civil war for the last century over who should rule supreme over the Bodywalkers. Templars think that humans are inferior and try to suppress the ‘original’ part of their personality so that they don’t leak through, on the whole they are pretty nasty and evil – the bad guys. Many Politics were killed fighting this war, including the current King and Queen and they’re the good guys. The good thing is, most of their 100 year waiting time is pretty much over so they can put their big boy gloves on and get back to business.

Just to sneak it in here, I love this thought that Ram had about Dorcia:

It was breathtaking to see an imperfect woman become stunning just because she willed it into being from the inside out.

At first, I felt a little uncomfortable with the blending deal. Sharing memories and blending personalities so that you become a completely different person doesn’t sound very romantic to me. I enjoy my individuality and the thought of someone potentially taking over makes me feel a little sick. But what I do admire is that Ms. Frank made it sound okay, made it sound fun and enjoyable for Bodywalkers to live with. Concepts aside, I really enjoyed this read. To the point that I haven’t even left my house today because I wouldn’t put this book down. (It’s okay though – I had sausages and cake for dinner). There wasn’t as much action as I anticipated. But as this is clearly the first in a new series and there is a lot of world building to do, this wasn’t that unexpected. You gotta hand it to an author who can spend two pages describing a kiss. Wow mamma. Docia does giggle an awful lot and that did get a wee bit more on my nerves… But Bodywalkers do get full time fashion and beauty consultants – so… where do I sign up?

The Urban Book Thief has awarded Forbidden a kiss factor rating of four – can’t wait for the next in the series!

Kiss FactorKiss FactorKiss FactorKiss Factor

All about Docia –

“I don’t have any powers,” Docia countered. “I barely have any hair.”

Oh dear. Maybe she was in a coma. That had to be it. All of this was just what happened to brain-damaged people in a coma. They started living these outrageous fantasy lives.…

“You know, this is a bit overwhelming, but I think I’m beginning to adjust.” She waved the shoe under Cleo’s nose. “Apparently I can be bribed!”

Docia gave off a wicked shudder. “Let’s not use the word assimilate, shall we? I just had flashbacks to Star Trek and the Borg, and even now I’m imagining tubes, machinery, and lasers popping out of all my body parts.”

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