ARCs of A Song with Teeth by T. Frohock were provided by Harper Voyager via Netgalley. Thank you to all of you, for making it happen!
Below you’ll find two reviews from Jen and Timy, so make sure to check them both out!
|Series: Los Nefilim #3||Genre: Historical Fantasy|
|Date of Publishing: February 9th, 2021||Trigger Warnings: War Crimes – torture/starvation/imprisonment/drugs/body experimentation etc. Hate crimes – queer prejudices/abuse etc.|
|Page count: 432||Publisher: Harper Voyager|
As the Allied forces battle to defeat the Nazis, a shadow war rages between angels and daimons fighting for the soul of humanity in this thrilling conclusion to the critically acclaimed Los Nefilim historical fantasy series.
The year is 1944, and the daimons are rising. With the Inner Guard thrown into disarray by the German blitzkrieg, the daimon-born nefilim of the Scorpion Court gather in Paris, scheming to restore their rule over the mortal realm. Working as a double-agent, Diago Alvarez infiltrates his family’s daimonic court, but soon finds himself overwhelmed by his kin’s multiple deceits.
Meanwhile, Ysabel Ramírez hunts a Psalm that will assist Operation Overlord, the Allies’ invasion of Normandy. Her objective takes her to Paris—into the heart of territories controlled by Die Nephilim and her power-hungry uncle, Jordi Abelló, who seeks the same Psalm in his quest to wrest control of Los Nefilim from her father. When their paths cross, he abducts her and leaves her to the mercy of his Nazi followers.
But Ysabel is as cunning and bold as Jordi. She knows only one of them can survive to one day rule Los Nefilim, and she’s determined to be the one to succeed her father as queen.
Trapped in her uncle’s château hidden deep within the Fontainebleau forest, Ysabel discovers the truth behind her uncle’s lust for dominance: those that wear the signet of the Thrones are not blessed . . . they are cursed. And it may take a miracle to end this war once and for all.
“The soft golden vibrations poured through the church and out into a drain. Invisible to the mortals, the resonance of their song found its way into the sea.
The music of their voices fell with the hush of stars falling. Then the colors shifted. Diago was the first to notice. The world around them became clearer, more vibrant. Shades of gray lightened to white, and black to gray. Everything grew still, like the world held its breath.”
*subject to change at publication. All mistakes are mine
I agonized over song choice on this one – everything from Passenger‘s Survivors to Josh Groban‘s You Raise Me Up was on my list.
But I settled on Vance Joy’s We’re Going Home because the lyrics fit a bit better (though Groban‘s was pretty perfect too) while still having that quiet tone I was looking for (btw this is one weird video when everyone starts dancing in the field).
The final book in the Los Nefilim returns us to France where Diago, and his family, continue their work alongside the Allies, while also retrieving the final pieces of the song that will help squash the reign of darkness that the German forces are bringing to rise.
This series which has been woven into our own darker parts of world history, wasn’t always an easy read. There were scenes that delve into the horrors of the holocaust etc. that were gut-churning. In ways more disturbing for me than my normal reads because they really happened, and I very much hate not being able to pretend people are only horrible in books.
But by that same token, it’s important to note that A Song with Teeth wasn’t all misery and despair. There is a light in that darkness, a perseverance of love and hope that brings about courage and a willingness not to succumb to the hate. It’s the themes of family, friendships, unquestionable support, and a readiness to try and understand others, that run through this series and keep me returning book after book.
Reviewing a final book in a series is tough. There isn’t much that hasn’t already been said by me when it comes to the writing- which as usual is crisp, clear, and extremely effective- beautiful in its starkness and sometimes terrifying in what’s left unsaid.
Plot points – if you are reading the third book you know what they are and I am not going to spoil them.
So, that just leaves me talking about the characters and their journey. Which for me, as much as I admired the setting and tight-plotting throughout the series, and also the very cool music tone/based magic – it’s all about the characters.
First, I loved that Rafael and Ysabel have been so essential to the story in the last couple of books. We have watched these kids grow up in this series, and become more involved in the alliance’s activities – which has been hard at times, because there haven’t been any punches pulled with them.
Rafael had a big part to play last book and he still is very present here but Ysabel, was the one that stole my heart with her courage, and stepping-up to the plate even when her choices weren’t the greatest options but had to be done.
I felt it was fitting that the love and support they grew up knowing is what gave them the answers they needed in their hearts, to see this through to the end.
Nico – I grew to maybe not love him last book, but to really feel for his character and understand him. This book, watching him try to be a good person for the people who encouraged and backed him, made his journey even better. I was so proud of his choices.
Diago, and Miguel, and Guillermo were also wonderfully done. Their growth, especially when facing their pasts and desire to be loved or accepted, by a father, brother, or a friend, learning that some people can change and others never will. But most importantly, you as a person (or angel or daimon) have to be ok with where you are, and who you are, so you can let those past hurts go, and continue on and be better than you were.
This whole journey for these characters is a very emotional, and so human and full of beautiful, albeit painful at times lessons.
I’m kind of rambling on here so I will leave you with the TLDR:
Loved this series. All around incredible but most of all, the characters feel real. Their journey is filled with family, love, and sometimes heartbreak but always, it was worthwhile.
A Song with Teeth gives us a lot of little scenes and insights into Diago’s early life/lives. I don’t know how much was new or if they just were small reminders for us to see how far he has come but I appreciated them since I didn’t read the novellas.
I loved that Rafael got to understand the kind of life his dad had to overcome to be the father he became.
“Diago sang for the child he was; he sang for the broken man he became; he sang for a hundred years of loneliness and pain; for the dark nights that left him walking… walking… walking… placing sigils on the doors and windows, one of the father, one for the son, and one to drive away the ghosts.”
Until now I picked songs that were played by a violin, but for the finale, I decided to go with something else. I picked Apocalyptica because their sound is cool and they fit well into this atmosphere. They had become famous by playing Metallica covers, and I think Nothing Else Matters is a great fit for A Song with Teeth.
Finishing a series is always a bittersweet experience, especially if it’s a series you fell in love with. I admit it took me a while to do so with Los Nefilim, but once I got my feet, there was no turning back. I can say with certainty, that it had become one of my all-time favorite series.
Before we get to A Song with Teeth, don’t forget to check out our reviews of Los Nefilim (the novella omnibus), Where Oblivion Lives and Carved from Stone and Dream, aka the road that led to this moment. I’ll try to keep this review as spoiler free as possible, but no guarantees for not having minor spoilers for previous books.
Right, now that’s out of the way, let’s talk about A Song with Teeth. As with the previous books, this one also takes place amid real historical events, namely World War II. The year is 1944, France is occupied by Nazi Germany, Jews, homosexuals and everyone who is against the Reich finds themselves in labor camps. The Spanish Inner Guard led by Guillermo is stretched thin as they try to help people to get away from Spain (which is still under Franco’s reign), help the Allies, and try to prevent the Nazis to win the war. And if that weren’t enough, the daimon-born Nefilim have their own plans to take over the world. Let’s just say our characters are having some hard times.
The stakes are even higher than before and hard choices are had to be made. In A Song with Teeth Ysa steps up to be a POV character along with Diago. Of course, all of the characters make their appearance for the end game, but Ysa gets a more prominent role than ever before. It’s pretty crazy to see her all grown up – I remember her in Where Oblivion Lives – she was a little girl, curious, smart and sharp as her papá. It was good to get to know her a bit better and her plotline offered one of the biggest twists in the book.
As with the previous books, A Song With Teeth doesn’t shy away from dealing with heavy topics. In this case, the horrors of WWII get addressed, especially the aspects of the camps and the prejudice against homosexuals. We get just enough scenes to drive home the message but it’s not too in your face. But then, the greatness of the Los Nefilim series is that while you get to fall in love with awesome characters, it also conveys subtle messages about love, family, and above anything else, acceptance. Be it accepting who you are, your demons, your path in life, your roots. And did I mention yet the absolutely kick-ass music-based magic?
A Song with Teeth is a worthy finale to an amazing series. The tension builds up right from the beginning and at one point I was seriously worried about the characters as we neared the end game, because I had no idea what was coming. I was nearly literally biting my nails.
This series was an emotional ride all around as we got to watch these characters grow so much and overcome so much hurt and horror. Frohock doesn’t shy away from giving them (and us) punches and then watch them as they become stronger not least thanks to the support of their friends and family.
If you are looking for a Historical Fantasy series with kick ass magic, strong messages, LGBTQ+ rep, and loveable characters, then you definitely should give a go to Los Nefilim. It’s raw, brutal, emotional and so damn satisfactory.