A Hint of Frost (Araneae Nation #1)
Samhain/ April 17, 2012 / $5.50 digital
When the head of the Araneidae clan is found poisoned in her nest, her eldest daughter, Lourdes, becomes their clan’s new maven. If her clan is to survive, she has but one choice: she must marry before her nest is seized. All she needs is a warrior fierce enough to protect her city and safeguard her clansmen. Such a male is Rhys the Cold.
Born the youngest son of an impoverished maven, the only things Rhys has to his name are his sword and his mercenary reputation. His clan is starving, but their fondness for the flesh of fellow Araneaeans makes them unwelcome dinner guests. Torn between loyalty to his clan and fascination with his future bride, Rhys’s first taste of Lourdes threatens to melt the cold encasing his heart.
Amid the chaos of battle, Lourdes’s sister disappears and is feared captured. Lourdes and Rhys pursue their enemies into the southlands, where they discover an odd plague ravaging southern clans as it travels north, to Erania. Determined to survive, Lourdes will discover whether she’s worth her silk or if she’s spun the thread by which her clan will hang.
Are you a Game of Thrones addict? Have you started referring to your girlfriends as “wenches” and the husband as “my lord,” really pushing for that “your grace” title you so desperately want? Well, Hailey Edwards’s Hint of Frost might just be the book you’ve been looking for.
This compact fantasy romance may not be as epic as George R. R. Martin’s legacy, but the vivid characters and their backgrounds, along with the mystical world in which they travel through ensure that your fantasy appetite is indeed satisfied. And with a less than 300 page count versus Martin’s 700+ norm, it makes this fantasy book able to work into any reader’s schedule.
The author creates an interesting, saga-worthy world, but with a concentrated plot, and compact set of characters. The reader gets pulled into the Araneae world right away instead of a lot of world-building right up front and it’s easily my favorite aspect of the book.
The main character, Lourdes, is forced to take the throne after her parents are murdered by the guards that were meant to protect their city. When Lourdes reaches out to another clan asking for their help, a new bargain is struck. The clan will protect the Araneaes from their new enemies if Lourdes will unite the 2 clans- through marriage to the queen’s son. Enter hunky mercenary, Rhys. The plot continues when Lourdes agrees to the arrangement only if Rhys additionally agrees to find the people responsible for her parents’ deaths.
As Lourdes and Rhys track the killers, readers are taken through a world of mystical beings and unique landscapes. Sword fights, sibling rivalries, and “the veil” round out the fantasy angle of the story, without all the multiple sub-plots to get lost in. Readers also encounter different clans throughout the book, and get to briefly experience the varied cultures associated with them. This allows for a glimpse into a much larger world than just what’s happening with Lourdes, Rhys, and the Araneae clan.
Frost does a great job of giving just enough info on the surrounding lands without creating too much back story that doesn’t really go along with the plot at hand. It keeps the reader focused on the main plot, and drives a fast pacing.
Hardcore fantasy readers will be slightly disappointed with the lack of descriptions when it comes to the world’s creatures, and some of the landscaping. But romance readers won’t complain about such things once the sexy enters the storyline. Lourdes and Rhys build a relationship before falling into one another’s fur-lined beds. Edwards creates the perfect example of how sweet can be totally sexy.
So if you’re unsure of how you’re going to fill your days from Sunday to Sunday, I might suggest a Hint of Frost for your reading pleasure.
Jessica Turner reviews Urban Fantasy, Paranormal and Sci-Fi Romances on her site The Spinecracker and is a trained chef who lives in San Diego with her very Irish husband.