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Reviews of books in a series, with a focus on urban fantasy.
Other genres include mystery, paranormal romance, and crime thrillers.

Friday, April 30, 2010

Frost Moon (Skindancer series Book 1) by Anthony Francis


I've hit another home run with a debut Urban Fantasy series. I wish I could give Frost Moon a higher rating than a 10 of 10, just to show how much I enjoyed the book... the characters, the worldbuilding, the action... I want the second book now.

In Dakota Frost's world the authorities know about the vampires, various were-animals, and magic. There is even a special federal agency to handle crimes by these "edgeworlders" -- the phrase means those who are living at the edge of society's norms. We learn that a lot of weres aren't "out", that they are doctors and lawyers and such without anyone knowing of their other nature. However, there are also a lot of weres who live on the edge of society, as do the vamps. In many ways Dakota lives at the edge of society's norms as well, even though she is human.

But, I'm getting ahead of myself. Dakota wasn't born magical, but she learned how to create magical tattoos, and she's got a ton of them (more than the cover would have you believe). She can use her magical tattoos in some creative ways, and that gives her a leg up when it comes to dealing with, errr, non-humans. The term Skindancer comes from her ability to have her tattoos move around on her body.

One of the things I loved about Frost Moon was the humor. Much of it was literal laugh-out-loud humor. As an example, Dakota is hearing a lecture about her magical tattoos being evil, and she thinks to herself, "The whole idea of hearing this from a lesbian vampire in a fetish bondage outfit continued to leave me speechless..."

Speaking of fetish bondage outfits... there is no sex in Frost Moon, and yet the author manages to insert various BDSM ideas in several places. There is also mention of an old club in Atlanta called The Chamber, which I know from experience as a club that catered to the BDSM crowd. The Secret Room also got a mention, also a club catering to the BDSM crowd.

While I'm talking about Atlanta, if you've ever spent much time in Atlanta seeking out entertainment, looking for the off-the-beaten-path cool spots, then you'll appreciate some of the descriptions of the city. But if you've just played tourist then you may not recognize the city that Anthony Francis describes.

In a really good Urban Fantasy we get to know more than just the main character. Part of the fantasy is in getting to know various, errr, species, up close and personal. We meet some very interesting characters in Frost Moon, vampires and were-animals (including a species I don't believe I've seen in other Urban Fantasy books) and a witch, along with some darned interesting humans, as well.

The pacing was beyond well done, with the action not slowing down enough for me to be able to put the book down. I read it in one sitting, and I stayed up to almost two in the morning, even though I needed to get up at six the next morning.

I can easily give Frost Moon a 10 of 10.  I won't give it a series rating after one book, but it's tempting.

Book Rating: Frost Moon: 10 of 10

Frost Moon satisfies another book in the Debut Urban Fantasy series challenge I'm doing, which means I've now read five of the fifteen books in the challenge.

1. Frost Moon
2. Blood Rock
3. Liquid Fire

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