Publisher: Bell Bridge Books
E-Arc with thanks to netgalley and Bell Bridge Books
In an alternate Atlanta where magic is practiced openly, where witches sip coffee at local cafes, shapeshifters party at urban clubs, vampires rule the southern night like gangsters, and mysterious creatures command dark caverns beneath the city, Dakota Frost's talents are coveted by all. She's the best magical tattooist in the southeast, a Skindancer, able to bring her amazing tats to life. When a serial killer begins stalking Atlanta's tattooed elite, the police and the Feds seek Dakota's help. Can she find the killer on the dark fringe of the city's Edgeworld? Among its powerful outcasts and tortured loners, what kind of enemies and allies will she attract? Will they see her as an invader, as a seducer, as an unexpected champion ... or as delicious prey?
When I first started reading Frost Moon I was a little worried that I wouldn’t connect to the main character, Dakota. She is a tattooist with a death hawk, she is bi-sexual and attracted to both men and women, as well as living on the edge of a world of magic. None of which is anything I know about. So the first few pages I was a little worried that this would mean I would be outside looking in. Luckily this didn’t last long. Despite appearing to be hard and unapproachable Dakota soon shows us some vulnerability and before the book is over, it becomes clear that it is all swagger and mouth. She is exposed to many beings of power and shady morals, which soon makes her realise how vulnerable she really is. For most of the second part of the book, she is the victim and needs protection from those stronger than her – which is much easier to connect with!
In the end though, this is like a trifle – all the ingredients are there - heroine with a unique magical ability, world filled with supernatural creatures, heroine’s haunted past and wide selection of powerful friends. Vampire, Weres and those with magical abilities inhabit the shadows and the edge of the ‘normal’ world – so far, so Urban Fantasy. But the idea of Dakota’s tattoos being magical and having the ability to leave her skin – especially her dragon is different. And the world is much more risqué than most urban fantasy worlds – with plenty of sexual attraction and nudity.
Somehow though these regular UF ingredients aren’t quite in the order you expect them. The sponge is on top of the custard and the cream is under the jelly to stick to the trifle metaphor. Dakota is weaker than you first think and swings between swagger and vulnerability quickly. There are too many potential love interests that I don’t know who to root for. But saying all that, it still tasted good! I loved Cinnamon and Dakota’s tattoo abilities are seriously cool. In the end I guess it doesn’t matter about the order of the layers – as long as it still tastes good and Frost Moon does taste good. Looking forward to the next in the series!
Recommended for fans Majorie M Lui and True Blood. 7 out of 10