Review: Los Nefilim – Came for Angels and Demons, Stayed for the Sweet Family Drama

Los Nefilim

Title: Los Nefilim
Author: T. Frohock
Publisher: Harper Voyager
Release Date: April 26th, 2016
Genre(s): Paranormal, Dark Fantasy, Historical
Subjects and Themes: LGBTQIAP+
Page Count: 464 (paperback)

Rating: 7.5/10

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Note: Los Nefilim was originally published as three separate novellas, but they’re more like three parts of a single novel, so I suggest reading them right after the other.

Part 1- In Midnight’s Silence

Set in 1931 Spain, the story introduces our protagonist Diago, a half-daimon, half-angel being working for Los Nefilim, which is an organization made of the offspring of angels and daimons. The Los Nefilim were created to be the foot soldiers of higher angels and all members have the power to harness music and light as a source of power. But power comes with a price and the life of a Nefilim is not pretty one, but one of perpetual reincarnation which forces them to stand between the angel-daimon war presumably until the end of time. If you’re looking for pure, sweet portrayal of angels with halos and white robes woven from the hair of virgin unicorns, this isn’t for you. Frohock’s are petty, scheming, and have no qualms about sacrificing their own to further the big picture.

First of all, the music-based magic is great and something I want to see more of in fantasy. I also liked how the historical elements twine with the paranormal; the idea of this angel-demon war getting tangled up with human affairs–specifically, the start of the Spanish Civil War–is deliciously intriguing.

I also quite enjoyed the dynamic between Diago and his husband Miquel. It’s not often we see a married couple at the forefront of a fantasy book and even rarer for them to be a queer married couple, so kudos to Frohock for that. The real show-stealer of the story, however, is Rafael, Diago’s newfound son, who just melted my heart to putty.


PART 2 – Without Light or Guide

This one’s a lot more introspective than the first. We see Diago grappling with PTSD from the events of Part 1, which is another thing I don’t see enough of in fantasy, so that was pretty wonderful (though not so much for Diago). You know what else I don’t see often? A male protagonist saying aloud to another character, “I’m afraid.” Such show of vulnerability is what makes Diago such an engaging and sympathetic character.

As for the plot, we get whiffs of a civil war brewing within the angel faction and delve a bit more of Diago’s background and his relationship with his father. There’s also more of the warm and fuzzy family goodness between Diago, Rafael, and Miquel. I found myself torn between wanting more of Rafael and fearing for the condition of my heart because, my god, this kid just squeezed it so tightly.


PART 3 – The Second Death

This was my least favourite of the three. Things get considerably darker in this one as we move away from “cute family drama” and into “a woman getting tortured via electric shocks.”

My main criticism for this part–and the book as a whole–is that even by the end of it, I still didn’t know much about the Los Nefilim, the daimons, and the hierarchy of angels. The story’s got all the foundations for complex worldbuilding, but I feel like it’s only laid down the first five layers out of, like…a hundred. The series could be an amazing one but right now it falls a little short of that mark.

All in all, though, with music magic, vulnerable protagonists, and a grimdark take on angels and demons, Los Nefilim has everything I crave in fantasy, and I’ll be eagerly anticipating the sequel.

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0 comment

Tammy October 6, 2018 - 1:38 pm

I remember when these novellas came out and hearing lots of good things about them. I love the idea of music based magic😁

Kathy @ Pages Below the Vaulted Sky October 7, 2018 - 2:09 am

I can’t believe I missed them when they first came out! Definitely an author I’ll be reading more of in the future!

waytoofantasy October 6, 2018 - 4:23 pm

I’ve heard so many great things about this story!

Kathy @ Pages Below the Vaulted Sky October 10, 2018 - 5:18 am

I can’t believe I only heard about it recently from a Mark Lawrence review. πŸ˜€

bookbeachbunny October 6, 2018 - 10:17 pm

The music based magic thing sounds interesting and I do like my angels dark and questionable πŸ™‚

jennifertarheelreader October 6, 2018 - 11:38 pm

Wow, this sounds fantastic, Kathy, and you have a sequel to look forward to! Lovely review! I hope you’ve been having a great weekend! β™₯️

Kathy @ Pages Below the Vaulted Sky October 10, 2018 - 5:17 am

There is actually a sequel coming out in January and it’s a full novel this time, so I’m rather quite excited! Thanks, Jennifer! <3

maddalena@spaceandsorcery October 8, 2018 - 7:28 pm

Usually, any story dealing with the conflict between angels and demons does not hold great appeal for me, but this sounds so different, so delightfully *dark* that I must see for myself.
Thank you so much for sharing this! πŸ™‚

Kathy @ Pages Below the Vaulted Sky October 10, 2018 - 5:07 am

You’re welcome! <3 It is an absolute breath of fresh air in the angel/demon subgenre. And there's a sequel coming out in a couple of months and it's a full novel this time, so I'm excited to see where the author takes this world. πŸ™‚

@lynnsbooks October 9, 2018 - 10:01 pm

I read the first of these and really enjoyed it – I really need to push on and catch up.
Lynn πŸ˜€

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September 2018 Wrap-Up & October TBR Update – Pages Below the Vaulted Sky October 18, 2018 - 12:32 pm

[…] ➽ Los Nefilim by T. Frohock πŸ—οΈβš”οΈπŸŒˆ: Review […]


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