Thank you so much to Angry Robot for the finished copy of Forging a Nightmare, and for the opportunity to interview the author for the book’s tour! All thoughts are my own
This is my book review post though and I want to focus on the book itself, although the interview can be found at https://onereadingnurse.com/2021/11/28/4884/ for those interested!!
Bookish Quick Facts:
- Title: Forging a Nightmare
- Series: N/A
- Author: Patricia A. Jackson
- Publisher & Release: Angry Robot, November 2021
- Length: 400 pages
- Rate & Recommend: ⭐⭐⭐⭐ yes for fans of horse centric and urban fantasy, those interested in supporting BiPoc authors!
Here is the synopsis:
FBI agent Michael Childs is tasked with tracking down a serial killer with an obsession for victims born with twelve fingers and toes. But he discovers something much more startling about himself…
The only link between a series of grisly murders in New York City is that the victims were all born with twelve fingers and twelve toes. These people are known in occult circles as the Nephilim, a forsaken people, descendants of fallen angels.
After a break in the case leads to supposedly killed-in-action Marine sniper Anaba Raines, Michael finds the soldier alive and well, but shockingly no longer human. Michael then discovers that he is also a Nephilim, and next on the killer’s list.
Everything Michael once thought of as myth and magic starts to blur the lines of his reality, forcing him to accept a new fate to save the innocent, or die trying.
There is a lot to unpack in this book! Let’s start with the lore and world building. Jackson begins in modern day Earth, where a body is found desecrated by symbols and the FBI is called in to investigate. From there she spins a story of angels both risen and fallen, biblical lore, tieing in other mythology, that takes the reader on a literal horseback ride from Hell to Heaven and everywhere in between.
I felt like I missed some of the significance of the lore since it had a very academic feel to it at times but I did truly enjoy the journey. The four horsemen of the apocalypse’s story was brought to life and they were definitely my favorite characters as well.
You want snark, strong women, diverse casts, a little romance and a little heartbreak, and more snark to boot, these are good characters for you. I think I liked Wyrmwood the most, also it was cool to meet the other angels of lore.
Let’s talk about the horses – Anaba is a marine, and from what I can tell human souls are taken and tortured, forged to become Nightmares. These demonic mounts will do anything for their riders and had a quite interesting storyline too. I think I might have been sobbing when Anaba rode a character to heaven, then turned around and ran back to hell. I liked the Marine character too, it translated well into tbe role she played. There was a lot of other horse centric material too that I enjoyed, including Michael (the main character) as a jouster.
There are a few things worth mentioning though about why I docked a star. It was hard to tell how much time was passing as events unfolded. There were so many major battles, life and death scrapes, and I lost track of how many times Michael died or nearly died. It lessened the punch and for a book that felt like it spanned years… I think it was a few weeks, max. It took a bit to get the story rolling too and was pretty disjointed at first, although it definitely smoothed out.
I should talk a little more about the magic and other characters too! I liked the abilities of the horsemen and their nightmares. The book was also seriously funny at times, like when Michael tamed the Leviathan and named it Harvey. Tiamat, Loki, Lilith, and others make appearances too. Additionally, the author isn’t afraid to make you cry! I think my favorite part, other than the lore and horses, was the wide emotional range of the book.
Pardon my jumbled thoughts but as I said, a lot to unpack. I hope you guys will check out the book if it sounds up your alley! All Angry Robot books can be purchased directly from their website now too!