Los Nefilim is not my first encounter with T. Frohock. My first introduction to the series wasn’t this collected prequel novellas, but the first full-length novel, Where Oblivion Lives. And while the novel can absolutely be read as a stand-alone, I urge you to start with the novellas. Believe me, once you get hooked by them, you won’t stop reading the series.
|Series: Los Nefilim #1-3||Genre: historical fiction, fantasy, LGBTQ|
|Date of Publishing: April 26th 2016||Publisher: Harper Voyager|
Three brilliant novellas. One fantastic story.
Collected together for the first time, T. Frohock’s three novellas—In Midnight’s Silence, Without Light or Guide, and The Second Death—brings to life the world of Los Nefilim, Spanish Nephilim that possess the power to harness music and light in the supernatural war between the angels and daimons. In 1931, Los Nefilim’s existence is shaken by the preternatural forces commanding them … and a half-breed caught in-between.
Diago Alvarez, a singular being of daimonic and angelic descent, is pulled into the ranks of Los Nefilim in order to protect his newly-found son. As an angelic war brews in the numinous realms, and Spain marches closer to civil war, the destiny of two worlds hangs on Diago’s actions. Yet it is the combined fates of his lover, Miquel, and his young son, Rafael, that weighs most heavily on his soul.
Lyrical and magical, Los Nefilim explores whether moving towards the light is necessarily the right move, and what it means to live amongst the shadows.
“Within another hour, the tributaries of side streets and alleys that streamed off the main avenue would be packed with jostling men and women, all of whom would be looking to make their troubles disappear for an evening. The songs would be wild and sad, but was all right; the misfortunes of others never bit as hard as one’s own troubles.”
I wanted to pick Demons by Imagine Dragons, but then I came across this instrumental cover by Simply Three and it’s just too perfect of a match for Los Nefilim.
I’ve been wanting to read Los Nefilim for quite a while now, even more so since I’ve read Where Oblivion Lives last December, but somehow I never found time for it. Until my vacation. I pretty much devoured the book in 2.5 days. It was soooo good. I jumped in blindly, meaning I never read the blurb – or did just have a shit memory and don’t remember a single thing from it – but as I mentioned, did read the first full novel of the series and that was more than enough knowledge for me. So, on one hand, I had zero expectations, but on the other, I had all of them. Which is an interesting experience in itself.
I think we already established that historical fiction is very much my jam *gestures at her degree in History*. I’m also very interested in religions *gestures at her MA degree in History of Religions* and especially in angels. I wrote both of my dissertations about angels from different angles and using research materials from different ages. But even so, I don’t often read fiction with angels and demons (although demons are more often appear in my different reads) for various reasons. But it’s always a pleasure to come across some which are not only very well written but also go against conventions. At least a bit.
The three novellas in Los Nefilim (In Midnight’s Silence, Without Light or Guide, and The Second Death) are forming a whole story in which Diago learns some hard truths, faces his own demons, and in a way discovers himself through his friends and family. The three novellas kind of work as three acts and the stakes are getting higher in each one. They cover a couple of weeks altogether and they are neatly built on each other. We not only learn about Diago and his immediate family (his husband Miquel and his son Rafael) but also about Los Nefilim (the group of angel-born beings that do the angels’ bidding in Spain, fighting against daimons) and the wider conflict between the existing Inner Guards (like Nos Nefilim and their counterparts Die Nephilim in Germany) as well as the angels and daimons. All this is placed in Spain in the 1930s.
“People saw what they wanted to see and heard what they wanted to hear. They made assumptions based on their personal beliefs, which often blinded them to the truth. Daimons were not unlike mortals in this respect.”
That being said, I loved the setting, the writing, the world-building, the awesome music-based magic (!), the twists, that even angels can’t be labeled as only good, and Diago’s character arc. But what I loved the most was the relationship between characters. The way they interacted. The banters with Guillermo from Miquel and Diago, the caring love between Miquel and Diago. I honestly found myself smiling like an idiot whenever they interacted with each other or with Rafael. Like, damn, it’s so nice to read about non-toxic relationships which are just a warming light in an otherwise dark-toned book. I mean, it deals with topics such as rape, parent-child relationships, and a looming doom over the world. Diago has enough on his plate to prove himself as the good guy and not the Deceiver everyone thinks he is. He definitely doesn’t need a toxic relationship on top of everything. And you know, I’m kind of jealous of him having such an awesome, caring, and kind partner as Miquel.
I’m sorry it took me so long to get on the Los Nefilim bandwagon, but now I’m here I’m going to hold on tight. This series is quickly becoming one of my favorites and I absolutely will make sure to look out for anything T. Frohock writes in the future.