Wednesday, August 03, 2016

Mini-Review: Los Nefilim by T. Frohock

In Los Nefilim, T. Frohock imagines a world where angels, demons, and their human hybrids (nefilim) live and act mostly unnoticed in the world. The focus is on Barcelona in the 1930s and Diago, a unique nefilim with both angel and demon blood. Diago’s family is threatened as angels and demons battle for the future of the world in the face of oncoming war.

Magical battle, torture, betrayal. Yes these things occur and are important. But the soul of the book is in love and relationships. A son and his estranged father, the son a father of a son he does not know, lovers, friends. Add time and betrayal. The sum is greater than the parts where the past must be addressed to accept the present, to know oneself and finally submit to the love all around. To fight without quarter for the ones that are loved. This is Los Nefilim, historic context with consequences for all of humanity, but played out at a personal level.

The foundation of this powerful story is a poetic prose, dark and moody, yet infused with color and music as it embodies hope, love and loyalty. Yes, there is a lot of conflict in that last statement, as is appropriate in a story full of internal and external conflict. It’s the grounded, devoted love that keeps it all together.

As you have probably guessed by now, I really enjoyed Los Nefilim. It’s beautiful, moving, filled with suspense. It kept me up at night because I could not put it down. I want to read more of Diago, Miquel, Rafael, Guillermo, and others. It’s historic urban fantasy, not quite alternative history, and it’s a powerful portrayal of love and family.

Additionally, it’s worth noting that the main family unit at the heart of Los Nefilim is two male partners. The relationship is genuine, heartfelt and simply lovely. I await the day when focus on a same-sex couple is not noteworthy and commonplace, but we aren’t there yet, and it’s books like Los Nefilim that will get us there.

A few logistical notes: Los Nefilim is in reality a print collection of 3 novellas that were initially published electronically: In Midnight’s Silence, Without Light or Guide, and The Second Death. The reality is that the three independent novellas seamlessly work as a traditionally structured novel. Read it as a serial, collection, or single work – it doesn’t matter. But I certainly recommend that you read it.

Los Nefilim: Amazon
In Midnight’s Silence: Amazon
Without Light or Guide: Amazon
The Second Death: Amazon

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