Wednesday, July 13, 2011

Book Review: Frost Moon

Title Frost Moon (Skindancer, Book 1)
Author Anthony Francis
Tags series, paranormal, atlanta, dakota frost, tattoos, dark fantasy, vampires, shapeshifters 

Rating ****

I will be upfront and say that I read this book because my department is hosting a book talk/signing with the author at the Georgia Tech Library on Sept. 1st. So if I didn't like the book I was going to pretend I did until the program is over.

Happily, there is no need for pretense. Frost Moon is an excellent first novel centering on Dakota Frost, a tattoo artist who creates magical tattoos with herself as her best canvas. Her tattoos move, store and release magical energy, and can be transferred from herself to someone else. She works eith a graphomancer who can determine if a design for a magical tattoo is safe and effective.

Dakota gets called in to help the police and a federal agent. They show her a tattoo that has been cut from a living body that was then murdered, in hopes she could recognize the artist. So far the killer has killed 12 in different cities, and Dakota and her customers are possible targets for the killer. Dakota is also having her graphomancer evaluate a Nazi design that a werewolf wants in hopes it will better control his beast.

The plot is overall good though there were a few minor points that confused me. I've read a lot in the paranormal genre, enough to be oversaturated and pulling back from reading much more of it. There are only so many vampires and shspeshifters one can tolerate. Francis, however, has come up with a heroine whose unique talent drives the plot, rather like Sookie Stackhouse's telepathy in Charlaine Harris's series. Dakota is an excellent character, and since she is the narrator she is more fully realized than the other characters, of whom there are many, from the almost blind graphomancer Jinx to Dakota's ex-girlfriend Savannah, vampire queen, to federal agent Philip, and more. The author is particularly good at showing the vulnerabilities in even strong characters. Wulf the werewolf wants to be in better control so as to not hurt people or be so alone. Cinammon, the teenage weretiger, is all vulnerability and grows on both Dakota and the reader. Francis also uses the city of Atlanta very well, as events happen in lots of noted city landmarks. Buckhead is the ritzier part of town and becomes Lord Buckhead, a werestag who is the city's protector.

Altogether a recommended first novel and first in a series. The second book should be out by September 2011.


Publication date


Publication Bell Bridge Books (2010), Paperback, 284 pages
ISBN 0984325689 / 9780984325689

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