4 out of 5 stars ★★★★☆
The fate of mankind has nothing to do with mankind…
Born of an angel and a daimon, Diago Alvarez is a singular being in a country torn by a looming civil war and the spiritual struggle between the forces of angels and daimons. With allegiance to no one but his partner Miquel, he is content to simply live in Barcelona, caring only for the man he loves and the music he makes. Yet, neither side is satisfied to let him lead this domesticated life and, knowing they can’t get to him directly, they do the one thing he’s always feared.
They go after Miquel.
Now, in order to save his lover’s life, he is forced by an angel to perform a gruesome task: feed a child to the daimon Moloch in exchange for a coin that will limit the extent of the world’s next war. The mission is fraught with danger, the time he has to accomplish it is limited…and the child he is to sacrifice is the son Diago never knew existed.
A lyrical tale in a world of music and magic, T. Frohock’s In Midnight’s Silence shows the lengths a man will go to save the people he loves, and the sides he’ll choose when the sidelines are no longer an option.
This novella is about the sacrifices people will make on behalf of those they love or have the potential to love. The story takes place in late 1930’s Barcelona. Protagonist Diago finds out his boyfriend Miquel has been kidnapped by an angel, he goes to find him without a second thought. Miquel is a part of Los Nefilim, a group that “monitors daimonic activity for the angels.” I imagined it as a sort of CIA/FBI/secret agent sort of organization. Because of Diago’s birth, half daimon, half angel, he does not choose sides and is therefore left to follow Miquel around anywhere Los Nefilim need him.
Circumstances change when Diago finds out about his son, Rafael, who he made with an angel, Candela. She seduced him with a song and a child was born. (For the narrative, the boy is now 6-years-old.) The word rape is mentioned because an angel’s song can be very powerful, though Diago thinks that he had cheated on Miquel. I found this to be very thought provoking, because so rarely is male rape addressed. And to have two different ideas of what the act actually was, makes the sub-plot even more interesting.
When Diago finds Miquel, the angel has put a curse on Miquel that is slowly draining his life force. The angel tells Diago that he must sacrifice his child to the daimon Muloch in order to get a coin that can cause mass destruction (there’s a war coming between the angels and daimons). The coin is for the angel’s nefarious purposes. Of course, having just found out about his child and knowing he can’t sacrifice an innocent life, Miquel and Diago form a plan to offer a golem in the boy’s place and hope there is enough time to get away.
The time comes for the sacrifice of the golem, Muloch summons Diago’s long-lost father to verify that the child is his family. His father lies to Muloch, allowing Diago to escape, but the father sacrificed his life in order for him to do so. For this part in particular, I felt there was a lot of backstory that I wasn’t picking up on. His father disappears as soon as he appears and doesn’t seem to have any motivation for sacrificing himself. I’m not sure what happened in Diago’s past that caused him to not find love. I felt like there were parts missing, perhaps because of the novella format.
I won’t spoil the end, but things end on a high note and the family is together. I enjoyed the storytelling and the characters. I think that I’ll find out more information about what’s happening in Diago’s past, as well as their roll for future events, in the next two novellas in the series—the war with angels and daimon’s coincides with WWII—and should make for some interesting plotting. Also, for the next stories, I hope Diago and Miquel make out at least once! I realize tensions were high, but it would be nice to see some affection (aka PDA) between the two. I see a lot of potential world building and I look forward to the rest of the series to find out more about Los Nefilim, and the back stories for Diago and Miquel. I found myself comparing this novella to the TV show Supernatural—there’s a lot of action/adventure, combined with fantasy elements that makes it a fun read.