I’m wrapping up a book binge. Every now and then, usually between projects, I take a break from my usual routine and just read book after book after book. This binge started with Jacquelyn Frank‘s Drink of Me (2010).
Ms. Frank is a new author for me even though she’s published ten other books. The cover for Drink of Me caught my eye with faces silhouetted in iridescent blue, and the inside teaser sealed the deal.
One of the things I like about this book is that she has created a complete alternate world that is different from what I’ve seen before. (I’m thrilled to see more fantasy oriented paranormal romances making it to the shelves.) She also has taken familiar archetypes and made them new. I’m not a big fan of vampire stories, but her Sange are not the usual sort of blood drinkers. Nor are they werewolves even though they have a pack hierarchy. Frank convincingly makes use of the amnesia ploy, too. One of the heroine’s special skills is not particularly unique, but since she didn’t remember she had it, her rediscovery of it just before it was too late was satisfying.
Drink of Me enjoyably held my attention, so I decided to read one of Frank’s earlier works to see what she’d built her career on. (What can I say? I’m a writer, these things are important to me.) I bought Jacob (2006), the first of the Nightwalkers series.
Jacob is what I think of as being a more typical paranormal romance. The eponymous hero is a demon, one of the Nightwalker races which include vampires and werewolves, but who are misunderstood by humans. They’re really nice guys at heart. The heroine is our “average girl” when we meet her, and asks all the questions the reader wants answers to.
One of the things that is typical to this sub-genre is the biological compulsion the protagonists felt. I wrote about this in an earlier post “Why Isn’t Free Will Sexy?” Frank overcame my reservations on this score in two ways. One, though her characters were clearly drawn to each other to an unusual degree, neither of them knew why until fairly late in the book. There was no manipulation of one by the other, and no secrets being kept. Two, and most important, their interaction, their dialogue, made them real and appealing. They became more than their archetypes.
One touch I loved was that the demons were happy about the rise of Christianity, because it nearly eliminated the use of magic, and more specifically, the necromancers who summon demons against their will. Another thing to recommend the book: Frank writes excellent sexual tension and well-developed love scenes. As I mentioned in “Reading Like a Writer,” some books are worth learning from. For me, Jacob is worth studying for that alone.
If you haven’t yet read any of Jacquelyn Frank’s books, you should. I know I’ll be reading more.