In his debut novel Anthony Francis bring the reader on a wild roller coaster ride in the edge world of the city of Atlanta where one woman is about to act as the go between for the police and the things that go bump in the night, whether she wants to or not.
Dakota Frost is the best magical tattoo artist in the Southeast of the USA. People flock to get a "Frost Bitten" tattoo. The magic tattoo can range from protection symbols to a simple butterfly that can move around one's body. But tattoo magic is not fully understand and my be more powerful than anyone ever expected, especially when there appears to be a serial killer collecting these tattoos from his victims while they are still alive. Dakota is caught in the middle between wanting to help the Feds but the werewolf and vampire worlds are more complicated and to warn everyone is going to take every favour she has, but all those favours cannot protect Dakota when it appears when more than one person wants her dead.
I really enjoyed this book. I fell into this world, it is not that Francis has created a world that is completely unquie but just unquie enough to capture and hold my attention. The storyline is also well done, I think that Francis took more risks that some authors in this genre. This book could have very quickly turned into a paranormal romance but Francis was able to hold off writing something that (i think) is more popular with the masses right now. So Thank you Anthony Francis for not taking the easier route. That said, there are several possible "love" interests for Dakota but they are not extensively explored, they are very secondary to the overall story.
I have not read a book before where tattoos were able to come to life off of the skin and had magical powers that could be stored within the tattoo. I am interested in more exploring on this topic. I believe that The Iron Hunt by Marjorie M. Lui has something similar but I have not read that series yet, so I am unable to properly compare the two. Though after reading Francis' book it makes me want to pick up Lui's book, as I am really intrigued about the magical tattoo aspect. Francis give great visual description to the tattoo I really felt like I could see Dakota with her tattoos, and them moving about the body. It really made me want a magical tattoo. Also how Dakota was able to draw the tattoos on herself and her ability to transfer to others was also really neat. And finally the power of the tattoos, you begin to see how powerful they really can be and I look forward to seeing Dakota discover more about the tattoo's powers.
Dakota sports a colored mohawk, wears quite a lot of leather and is covered in tattoos (including on her scalp), many of which she tattooed on herself, needless to say, Dakota tries to be the tough as nails chick where no one can hurt her, which is a typical aspect for the herone in the paranormal genre. However, I really appreciated it when her attitude gets her into a lot of trouble that she is unable to get out of. I'm glad that Francis was willing to go there. It was really refreshing when author are willing to put main characters and even secondary characters in peril and it becomes questionable whether they will survive or not.
I think my only criticism in this book is that Dakota's first thought when she someone attractive (male or female) are sexual thoughts or getting that tingly feeling. It makes me think that she has not been with someone since her last girlfriend. Although, Francis is trying to portray Dakota as Bisexual she seemed to really only be attracted to the men of the book, and it almost like she was "playing" being attracted to women, other than towards her ex-girlfriend Savanna. I think this aspect is the weakest part of the story that Francis has created, however, since Dakota's love life is secondary, it does not take from the overall enjoyment of the book.
This was a really good debut and I think Francis is a great new voice to add to the paranormal genre. I am looking forward to reading more about Dakota Frost, her tattoos and what type of trouble her or Cinnamon will get into next. I think those who enjoy the paranormal genre will like this book, those who are not used to the paranormal genre there may be too much of the paranormal aspects in the book for you to start with this one. I have read on Francis' blog that he has completed the second book, so hopefully it will be out soon.
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