By Heather A.
4 out of 5 stars ★★★★☆
Always holding themselves aloft from the affairs of mortals, Los Nefilim have thrived for eons. But with the Spanish Civil War looming, their fragile independence is shaken by the machinations of angels and daimons…and a half-breed caught in-between.
For although Diago Alvarez has pledged his loyalty to Los Nefilim, there are many who don’t trust his daimonic blood. And with the re-emergence of his father—a Nefil who sold his soul to a daimon—the fear is Diago will soon follow the same path.
Yet even as Diago tries to prove his allegiance, events conspire that only fuel the other Nefilim’s suspicions—including the fact that every mortal Diago has known in Barcelona is being brutally murdered.
The second novella in T. Frohock’s Los Nefilim series, Without Light or Guide continues Diago’s journey through a world he was born into, yet doesn’t quite understand.
See my review of In Midnight’s Silence (Los Nefilm #1) here.
Without Light or Guide begins a few weeks after the events of In Midnight’s Silence. Diago is concerned about the welfare of his son, and how he sees his relationship with Miquel, and further, is concerned that he is a target of a smear campaign within the Nefilm that accuses him of siding with the daimons (since he’s half-daimon). (Thankfully, this, and other pertinent information was summed up in the Author’s note at the beginning of the novella, for which I am grateful!)
Diago puts a lot of pressure on himself. He wants to prove his loyalty to the Nefilm, his love to Miquel, his dedication to raising his son Rafael, and it sometimes feels a bit much. Give yourself a break, man. You’re doing the best you can! The pressure he puts on himself is the nature of his character, in addition to loyalty; as is kindness for Miquel, trust from Guillermo, and unconditional love from Rafael.
All of these characters possess strong qualities, which influence their decisions in unexpected ways. I was almost waiting for Miquel to break up with Diago. But Miquel is such a loyal companion that readers can’t trust Diago’s paranoia and anxiety during much of the story with his thoughts getting in the way. As Frohock described via twitter this weekend, their relationship is unbreakable.
At each step of the plot, I feel like there’s so much that is going on. So many twists and turns were packed into this novella! Prieto and Muloch still play a role; Alvaro, Diego’s father is a temptation for Diago; the other diamon who is trying to hunt both Diago and Rafael, Lamashtu, and also Garcia, from Los Nefilm, is a suspicious character, one who is seen conversing with a German-speaking angel. There are so many characters in Diago’s orbit, it’s hard to trust anyone. It’s a constant battle in Diago’s mind about what the repercussions of such trust and loyalty. Since the events of this novella take place before WWII, I wonder how much readers will see of the war in the third novella, the build up of something big is coming!
The last book in the series, The Second Death (a phrase eluded to in this novella), was published March 29, 2016. My next read!