ARC review of Forging A Nightmare by Patricia A. Jackson: Four Horsemen of Color?! Archangels of Color?! SIGN ME UP!
“And the four shall be separate, but as One.”
Listen! This book was SO. DAMN. GOOD. When I say I was absolutely riveted from the first page to the last, I meant it! Patricia A. Jackson has skyrocketed to my favorite author list, and Forging A Nightmare is now on my all time favorite books list. It was just that good!
Forging A Nightmare begins with a string of murders that are happening all around NYC. The victims all have one thing in common: they have 12 fingers and 12 toes. All of the bodies were found with weird ritualistic things done to them, and it turns out that the victims also have something else in common: they are all Nephilim, descendants of angels who mated with humans. Seen as abominations, they are being hunted. Enter: FBI agent Michael Childs. Michael gets wrapped up in an unholy war that features Watchers, fallen angels, archangels, Hell, and the Four Horseman. And did I mention that the majority of the characters are Black?? Hell yeah!
I devoured this book. I’ve always loved fiction that employed biblical elements. I’m not religious at all, but you can’t deny that the Bible and Christianity have some truly spooky and cool elements up for grabs. But you know, now that I think of it, this is the first time that most of the major players have been Black, at least that I’ve encountered. The feeling that you get when you can see yourself in a work of fiction, especially within myths that nine times out of ten are filled with white characters, it is a wonderful feeling. It was just so damn cool to see the Horsemen of Death as a Black man. The archangels Raphael, Michael, and Gabriel as Black men. Enoch as a Black man. Anaba Raines, a feisty, unapologetically brash and direct Black woman: love of my life! Michael’s mother, a brilliant Black academic. And so many more. The relationship that is introduced is also between two Black people! This is the type of representation that you get when a Black woman is at the helm of a work of art, and I will forever be grateful to Jackson for providing it.
Another thing that I loved: the pacing. It was breakneck but never felt overwhelming, simply from the sheer talent on display from Jackson. Every single element of the plot was interesting as hell, and all of the characters were nuanced and well-developed. She perfectly married extreme action with superb characters and the result was intoxicating. Jackson not only pulled from Christianity, but a slew of other myths and pantheons, and while this could have caused the story to feel too full, it just…didn’t. It was a perfectly entertaining who’s who, and never have I seen an author pull from so much and not have the plot get muddied and bogged down. Genius shit, I fear!
As I’m writing this I’m a little upset, because I don’t have access to my eARC of this anymore! I was sharing a friend’s Kindle account, but now I’m not and I don’t have any of my notes and highlights. So, if this review seems a little…simple and generalized, that’s why. NetGalley has since archived the book, so I can’t re-download it either, which sucks. Angry Robot Books, if you’re reading this (you’re probably not lol), a physical copy would be splendid! Anyway, if you’re into biblical myths and want to see them reworked and refreshed by a supremely talented Black author: pick up this book!