Frost Moon by Anthony Francis
Dakota Frost novel #1
My first impression of Frost Moon was overwhelmingly positive. It sounded like I would be getting an Urban Fantasy written by a male author about a freakishly tall, lesbian (turns out she’s actually bi) magic-tattoo artist in a world where magic is in the open, but still on the margins of mainstream society. As the story begins, we learn that our heroine’s ex was a doctoral candidate who–to better research vampires–became one, and a werewolf with control issues wants the reluctant Dakota Frost to tattoo him with a Nazi charm. Call me intrigued.
The novel’s main strength is in its concepts–the world it builds (but isn’t able to maintain to any degree of believability) is intriguing and the main character screams promise. It doesn’t hurt that ever since our MoonBlindCanary put out her award-winning tattoo-and-demon-magic short story, I’ve been hopelessly fascinated with seeing how different authors use tattoos in Urban Fantasy.
But when it comes to the actual meat of the novel, the number of stories that Frost Moon attempts to tie together leave me feeling that I didn’t get enough of any of them. The novel struggles with the breadth it tries to cover: were-animals, were-animal society in modern world, magic-tattoos, ancient cults, reality tv contests, vampires, relationship angst, serial killers, BDSM, instant-love, torture, martial arts, government agents, almost-rape, guy running around in bondage gear, stripping (x3), marginalized yet rich subcultures, emotional breakdowns, self-defense (and lack thereof), redemption-via-true-love, betrayal, adoption, police investigations, black ops helicopters, and a visit to the local Borders as it closes down.
Frost Moon races to tie these elements together, taking convenient shortcuts when needed. Prepare yourself for a story in which the heroine manages to form deep, redemptive, emotional ties with characters after seeing them roughly once. And if that sentence above sounds disgruntled, that’s because it is.
In the end, I could see the author’s (rather awesome) vision, but only through a heavily fogged window. It’s a fast read that I would recommend this to anyone wanting to chew on something while waiting for the next Laurell K. Hamilton book to come out.
Complimentary copy provided by Netgalley and Bell Bridge Books.