Reviewed by: Jo
Rating (out of 5): 4 stars
Dakota Frost isn’t just one of the best tattoo artists in the Southeast, she’s the best at magical tattooing. At over six-feet tall, sporting a monster death hawk and more tattoos than she can count, she certainly stands out in a crowd. Great for advertising her tattoo parlor, the Rogue Unicorn… not so great when there is a serial killer on the loose, looking to collect magic-infused marks.
The Feds come looking for her, not just to tell her to watch her back but to utilize her expertise and contacts to find out why this lunatic is skinning people and stapling their skin to a box. Armed with her Skindancer abilities (her tattoos can move around her body and channel magic) and a boat-load of bravado, Dakota does everything she can to uncover the killer before they strike at the next full moon. With a community as tight lipped as the Edgeworld, the supernatural part of Atlanta, it isn’t going to be easy.
The best way to describe Frost Moon is to liken it to the tattoos that are so prominent in it: the characters are the multicolored and vibrant pigment, with the alternative Atlanta and world building acting as the dark lines surrounding them.
The Edgeworld is an extreme and dangerous place. Dakota may be the queen of tattooing but she isn’t the top of the chain when it comes to the supernaturals. She can handle herself in some situations (there’s a brilliant tattoo battle, dance-off style) but as events take a more violent turn, she finds herself at the mercy of more powerful beings. I liked that even though Dakota may appear to be a badass on the outside, she was still vulnerable and had moments of fear and social awkwardness.
The plot has seemingly separate threads that begin to weave together as the action speeds toward the full moon. The supporting characters are just as colorful, each with the their own agenda when it comes to Dakota. There are some decidedly sinister ones like the vampire gangs and Were-beasts and then there are ones like her ex-girlfriend and newly turned vampire that are more of an emotional minefield. Outside her inner cycle it’s difficult to know whom to trust, and even though I had my suspicions, I was left guessing right up until the end.
What really stood out in Frost Moon are the tattoos; they are delicate, yet immensely powerful. The mythology and magical application of them is so intricately described and the detail of them in action so vivid. Dakota’s passion and skill give her great confidence but it’s only later in the book that she truly starts to understand the potential of her Skindancer abilities with plenty of secrets left to uncover.
While Frost Moon is dark at times, overall it’s a fun read with plenty of humor. Even though I did enjoy the mystery surrounding the gruesome serial killer, it’s Dakota and the inventive use of magic that will have me reaching for the second in the series, Blood Rock.
Sexual Content: scenes of a sexual nature featuring bondage and fetishes, references to rape