Title: A Hint of Frost
Author: Hailey Edwards
Genre: Fantasy Romance
Series: Araneae Nation
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. Lourdesand 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.
Warning: This book contains one mercenary hero with a biting fetish, one determined heroine who gets nibbled, and an answer to the age-old question, “What does dragon taste like?” Matricide and sibling rivalry are available upon request. The house special is revenge, best served cold.
Disclosure: Review copy received from author. This in no way impacted my review or opinion of this story.
I’m torn about this book. To be perfectly honest, if someone whose opinion I trust had not told me that it got better, I would have given up within the first few chapters, maybe sooner.
Before you read my issues with it, I do want you to know that it was a compelling story, and most of the characters were very well fleshed out. The fantasy elements were well thought out, the plot was cleverly executed, and the romance between Lourdes and Rhys was sweet. The ending was satisfying, and the journey to get there was worthwhile.
In the beginning, my knee-jerk reaction when I realized that the story was about a people who can produce some kind of thread from their hands or fingers and with venomous fangs–spider-like traits–was to “NOPE” right on out to the next book. It wasn’t clear to me from the back cover blurb, and spiders are high on my meter of “Things That Squick Me Out”.
I did stick it out, and I’ll admit that in the beginning my arachnophobia contributed to my desire to find a reason–any reason–not to read to the end. The name soup with the people and their clans made it very confusing and difficult to follow at times, and was another issue I had a hard time overlooking. Araneidae, Mimetidae, Theridiidae, Salticidae… Those are just some of the clan names. Some of the character names are tongue-twisters, too. I won’t go into that here, but suffice to say it was enough to make me wish for a guide chart of some kind to refer to now and then.
Aside from those issues, the story itself was intriguing. Lourdes made an excellent, strong-willed heroine who used every tool at her disposal, including herself, to solve the murder of her parents and discover whether her sister had turned traitor. The originality and effort that went into the world-building can’t be denied. The ending was warm and fuzzy, just right for a sweet romance, and the buildup of sexual tension between Lourdes and Rhys made the ending satisfying.
The road to get to that ending was rocky, with a few stumbles along the way, but once it got going, it was a decent read. I can’t in all honesty say that I recommend A Hint of Frost highly, but if you’re in the mood for a romance with strong fantasy elements, you might enjoy it.
1. A Hint of Frost
2. A Feast of Souls
3. A Cast of Shadows