Forever by Jacquelyn Frank
Publisher: Ballantine Books
Publishing Date: May 28, 2013
Paperback: 352 pages
Rating: 4 Stars
After being brought back from death, police officer Jackson Waverly receives the shock of his life: he has become host to a Bodywalker, a spirit that is reborn in flesh and blood, and part of a proud, ancient race that uses its extraordinary gifts to battle dark, evil forces. Jackson’s spirit is a powerful one—none other than the Egyptian pharaoh Menes, who longs to reunite with his eternal love, the Egyptian queen Hatshepsut.
While Menes is obsessed with finding the perfect vessel for his queen, Jackson cannot stop thinking about Dr. Marissa Anderson, the gorgeous precinct shrink who keeps pushing him to confront his grief over the loss of his K-9 partner. But what Marissa really arouses most in Jackson is intense desire, which is exactly what Menes is looking for. To fight a great enemy, pharaoh and queen must join; but to host Hatshepsut, Marissa will first have to die. Fate has given Jackson a profound choice: save Marissa from Menes’ plan or keep an entire species from the brink of extinction.
Jacquelyn Frank’s newest World of Nightwalker’s novel, Forever, once again introduces us to Bodywalkers. When the ancient Egyptians were worshiping their Gods and practicing their art of preparing the dead for life eternal in the afterworld, they did not realize that this grab for eternal life would anger the God Ra, and as a punishment, they would be eternally barred from heaven and their mummified bodies would tether them to the mortal world. Every time they die, they are returned to the Ether, a type of limbo, where they would wait until they were strong enough to Bodywalk again.
At that moment between life and death, the Bodywalkers could intercept a soul and offer that person a chance to live but in return they would need to share their body with the soul of a Bodywalker. Once taking a Bodywalker into their body, their lives would change dramatically including an ability to heal and an almost immortal existence. But the Sun God has not only denied them heaven, he has denied them the ability to walk in the sun, making them forever Nightwalkers.
When Officer Jackson Waverly was killed trying to defend his sister from the rival nightwalkers, the Templers, he was given an opportunity to return to the living and become a host for a Bodywalker. He was made that offer by not just any Bodywalker, the Pharaoh Menes, King of the Politic. Menes believes Jackson’s strength, his morality and his desire to protect people will make him the perfect host body and Jackson’s spirit will Blend well with the Menes’s and together they will fight against the Templers who are causing this civil war between the Bodywalkers.
Pharoah Menes has two great desires, to save his people and to return his soul mate, his Queen, to the earth and together they will lead their people with the same love and passion they hold for each other. What better choice of a host to return his beloved Queen, Hatshepsut, but Dr. Marisa Anderson, the police psychologist and red-headed, vixen who has been the center of Jackson’s fantasies for the last two years. Menes believes her kindness and her spirit would be a perfect blend for his Queen, and the fact that she causes Jackson’s body to react with an instant flood of lust every time he sees her, leaves him with no doubt that no other woman would do. He has to have Marissa for his Queen’s host.
Menes is aware that although Marissa keeps herself held back, hiding behind the excuse of doctor/patient ethics, her desire for Jackson is just as strong. Menes just has to convince Marissa that sharing her body with Queen Hatshepsut would bring them all a lifetime of joy. There is just one little hitch to the plan, in order to bring Hatshepsut back from mist, Marissa has to die.
Together Jackson and Menes must convince Marissa that the risk will bring them all a lifetime of passion, because now they don’t want anyone but her, and this is one fight they intend to win.
Now that I have been doing reviews for almost two years now, I have come to the conclusion that I am not a fan of the stories that involve reincarnation and/or body sharing. There are exceptions to ever rule and this was definitely one of them.
The premise of these Bodywalkers is that you are sharing a body with the soul of the Bodywalker. In Book 1, Forever, I never got a real feeling of sharing. Our hero in that book was Ram (or Ramses) who was the bodywalker and there was only interaction between the heroine and the host when a spell rendered Ram incapacitated inside his body. The heroine has still blending with the bodywalker and the bodywalker was still recovering, so it was all the host heroine talking. But overall I was left with a feeling that they just gave up their body to the bodywalker and was forced to be an observer in their own body. I was very on the fence with Book 1 whether or not to continue with the series, but I was interested in the set up for Book 2.
In Book 2, there was definitely a blending of Menes and Jackson and even within a paragraph when they were talking with Marissa, you could pick out what Jackson was saying to her and what Menes was saying to her. They were definitely working in conjunction, especially with trying to seduce Marissa, so I enjoyed this story a lot more than Book 2 since I wasn’t left with the feeling that Jackson was taken over. He was in control just as much as Menes.
There was a big set up with an evil entity who was going to try and take over the world, but when we still have to introduce all of the other Nightwalkers and then come together with the other series of Nightwalkers to fight the big evil. It is a big commitment that I am not sure I want to make to this series.
I’m still not sure if I am going to continue with this series, but this book was a good story.
Received an ARC from netgalley.com courtesy of the publisher. Thank you.
Menes looked at her in surprise, suddenly realizing how much he had confided in her. He had not wanted to mention Hatshepsut to her just yet, to lead her to believe that Jackson was unattainable because he was destined for another. It was bad enough that Jackson was struggling with his conscience on that one.
But perhaps it would be for the better, he mused thoughtfully.
“Yes. My queen. She is in the Ether, awaiting rebirth. She and I…there is nothing to compare it with, Marissa. Humans use the term ‘soul mate’ in order to try to make others understand the depth of feeling they harbor toward an individual that they love beyond all measure. But soul mate, in the case of my queen and myself, is woefully inadequate. And perhaps a little…inaccurate, since we are already mated with another soul when we exist in the flesh.
“In truth there is nothing capable of expressing what lies between me and my queen. She is beyond perfection in my eyes. She is that which holds all of the molecules of my physical self together. She is the only thing that can comfort my turbulent, enduring spirit when it begins to feel it has walked the world much too long.” He drew breath, the delicious smell of Marissa provoking memories of her taste onto his tongue. His body tightened with excitement as he filled his physical sense with her and thought of his queen. His appreciation for Marissa was growing rapidly beyond just the physical. She was complex and delightful, always surprising him with how she wanted to project herself on one hand, and what ran deep and true inside of her on the other.
“You mean…you mean you’re waiting for her?” he watched the light dawn in her eyes and had to work hard to suppress a smile at her sudden and glorious fury. “Of all the low-down dirty-dog things to do!” she erupted. “You have a woman waiting for you in those mists”—she waved a hand up toward the ceiling with an agitated flick of her wrist—“all alone up there and, by your account, in a state of grief and loneliness, and you’re down here getting all handsy with me?”
“Yes, indeed, that does make me something of a scoundrel, wouldn’t you say?” he said, not knowing why he was taking so much delight in her reaction. Perhaps it was because she was so indignant, so beautifully strong that the entire room practically resonated with her outrage. She was, he realized, a champion. She chose a side, most likely an underdog or someone who had somehow been wronged or victimized, and she became their protection…their armor…and with no regard for the damage she might suffer because of it. She was a glittering, impenetrable essence that repelled all enemies with all that she was, and would not abandon what she protected unless she was ripped away by force.
Oh yes. She was glorious.
And she was perfect.
A perfect queen and a perfect mate.