Review: Frost Moon by Anthony Francis (Skindancer #1)
March 1 2010
Bell Bridge Books
Received from NetGalley
Kick Ass Chick – Dakota Frost
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?
I must admit that the cover for this book really caught my attention. Then the blurb – it really drew me in too. I am not going to say that this book didn’t quite live up to my expectations, but I will say that it was a cool story with a great heroine. It just needed a little more polish.
Frost Moon is the first book in Anthony Francis’ Skindancer series. This is a series full of promise. It’s the story of Dakota Frost, a tattoo artist who draws magical tattoos. These tattoos are cool. Dakota’s tattoos can come to life! (Now if I could make my little maple leaf tattoo spin around and look snazzy, I would probably show it off more.) There is a serial killer out there who seems to be targeting those who have elaborate magical tattoos and the police, along with the feds, ask Dakota for a hand in their investigation. It really was just a question they had for her, but of course, she ends up being tangled into this whole mess on a number of different levels.
Let me start off by saying that I really enjoyed Dakota. She is built up as this strong kick ass heroine, but really she is just a chick who has an incredible ability who just wants to live her life the way she wants. She is strong in her own right, yet she is not all mighty and undefeatable. Her humor and her overall attitude make others think that she is that way. In reality she is sensitive and vulnerable and terrified of being targeted and hurt. It was a nice surprise to see that there was more to her than originally thought. That there were layers beyond her snarky exterior. She was a great read.
The story is where it gets a little rough. It felt for most of the book that there were two different stories being told. Actually…three stories. Maybe even four. And that is what I am talking about. I knew while reading Frost Moon that the author wouldn’t just throw in all of these sub-plots (that actually read more like full-on plots) for no reason. I knew they would all come together in the end- I just didn’t see how that would happen. And even when it did, I found that some of the storylines could have been cut out. I think some were put in there to help with Dakota’s character development, but others I’m still stumped. Were they terrible to read? Not at all. They just read like they were in the way of the main story…but then read like they were the main story…then they weren’t. All interesting stuff, but it just didn’t mesh as well as I would have liked it to.
The supporting characters were interesting. I enjoyed Cinnamon. She was cute and I am curious to see where her story is going. She worked well in this book. The other side characters were well written but again, they came and went at odd times. I hope that things settle in the next book because there are some characters in this book that were creeping on interesting and it would be nice to see more of them in a more ‘important’ roles later on.
The world that Anthony created was neat. Magic, vampires, weres all living side by side. Not nicely side by side, but co-existing none the less. I did enjoy the authors writing voice. I especially liked how he described his characters. I must admit that I often skim purely descriptive paragraphs. But there was something in the way Anthony wrote that made me read every word of how he illustrated his people. So visual you could easily envision what he saw while writing.
This story held lots of potential. Great leading lady, interesting world, cool concept. But it just all got lost in the middle of “too much going on”. I can sort of see why most of what was written was written, but I would have enjoyed this book more if there was one clear plot line with sub-stories dancing around it instead of stories jumping up here and there. But I really did enjoy Dakota. She was great.
Giggle worthy quotes
“Is there anything you would like to add?” Rand said.
“Yes,” I said, nodding at the skin-covered board. “I would like to add a what the fuck is that thing? ”
“We’re all one big happy vampire family, respecting each other’s beliefs, and even managing to pretend Doug’s whing-whang isn’t hanging out.
I turned, and saw a man with a raised brown Wolverine haircut and long brocaded coat step cautiously out from one of the doors leading to the warren of side offices and shops. He looked like an extra from the Renaissance Faire who fell off the back of a truck and then got run over by it.
“Oh, Cally, your warm breath feels so good. And if you could just t ke a take a bite out of me, right there,
I’ll be so grateful that I’d punch you clear into next week.”