Monday, 28 March 2016

A Spoiler Free Review of "The Second Death" by T.Frohock

This is the third novella in Frohock's Los Nefilim trilogy.  You can see my reviews of the others  here In Midnight's Silence and here Without Light or Guide.

In reviewing "The Second Death" there will be some spoilers for the first two books, so you have been warned!

The story that was begun in "In Midnight's Silence" is carried forward as the daimon Moloch and his idea for a bomb again becomes a cause that angels would go to war over.  We also find out more about how Frohock's world - or rather universe of daimons, angels and mortals is organised.

The question in my last review as to whether Guillermo is leader of all the worlds Nefilim is answered as we meet Die Nephilim of Germany and realise that the nations of the world mirror and are shaped by the nations of the angels and their respective bands of nephilim. Struggles and warfare  in our world reflect clashes within heaven itself and the fate of a war yet to be fought is resolved in an spanish asylum where an angel might fear to tread. 

Frohock's story juxtaposes simple family scenes with moments of great terror as Miquel and Diago strive to both be good fathers to Rafael and good Nefilim for Guillermo. All three of the closeknit nuclear family take their turn in the Point of View spotlight with writing that effectively conveys  disparate voices ranging from a five year old child to an immortal.

However, in Frohock's world immortality is not something to be taken for granted - as the title suggests, there is more than one kind of death.  With Frohock's Daimons and Angels as with Claire North's kalachakra in the First Fifteen lives of Harry August (reviewed here) even perpetual reincarnation must have limits. At the same time there are tempting reminders that this is Diago's second incarnation, that he and his fellow nefilim have shared a previous existance from which both lessons and prejudices leak into the one he knows now. There may be a backstory novella in there.

Frohock paints her story with a colourful palette, language that conjures a vivid sense of the world her characters inhabit in all its tones. 

"The humid air was tinted in sallow shades of yellow and green.  Tornados dropped from skies like these."

The overall effect is of writing with the smoothness of southern comfort wrapped around a plot with the kick of a single malt.

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