REVIEW: Jacob by Jacquelyn Frank
Dear Ms. Frank:
This book, apparently, has been a highly touted first novel. I am always looking for a new debut author to latch onto like white on rice. Alas, while this is a paranormal not featuring vampires or shapeshifters, the concept of the story is not new and the worldbuilding had some real issues and the heroine is a bit of a Mary Sue. I spent 3 weeks reading this book, picking it up and putting it down. Last night I told myself that I have to finish and I did. The second half was definitely better than the first.
Stock character No.1: Virgin librarian lives in NY with sister. Turns out to be one of the strongest paranormal creatures ever born with the power to fight any magical creature. Plus, after each encounter, virgin librarian gains more power.
Stock character No. 2: Demon Enforcer has never been tempted until virgin librarian is encountered. Together they defeat forces of evil.
Stock plot: Two halves make a great whole. Destiny demands soulmates come together.
The first half of the book, I was bored to tears, mostly because the characters were stock and because the worldbuilding rules are broken immediately. Demons are not to have any contact with humans because contact can drain humans of their lives. Jacob is the Demon Enforcer. He can sense when other Demons cross the line in their thoughts and he steps in to apply punishment. It was unclear what the punishment is but apparently it is bad. Jacob meets, Isabella, our virgin librarian, and after a little battle with a bad demon, Isabella and Jacob are immediately drawn to each other.
Jacob crosses wayyyyy over the line with thoughts and deed but is not punished. He spirits her back (how this happens is never explained) to his world which is also never explained (the world/home is in England but I wasn’t sure if it was Earth England or alternate England or some ephemeral space above England) and the rest of Demonkind to “protect” her. The next 200 pages includes Isabella researching the Demon history in the Demon library, bouts of lust, and alot of Demons standing around and talking about demon history.
The conflict is that there is a necromancer on earth who is summoning demons. The necroromancer does this by using the demons real names. After a short period of time, the demons become soulless and turn into the awful creatures that most people associate with demons, murdering and raping. It is not until the second half that anything is actually done about the necromancer.
I think I would have really liked this book if Jacob and Isabella had to run away from demonkind and struggle to find their place together, but it was all too easy with little conflict or suspense. The second half had alot more action, but after 200 pages of dullness (the first sex scene doesn’t actually take place until page 189 or so), I just wasn’t really impressed with the story overall. It could be because so much of the book is “setup” for the rest of the series in the first half. I have to wonder if I had bought the book if I would have returned it. The first half was a D and the second half about a B-. Overall I would give the grade a C.