**Note: I really enjoyed this book when I read it last year. I saw that Hailey Edwards is having a giveaway here on Booklikes, and wanted to share that link. Check it out - it's a great start to a fantasy romance series.
I’m always on the lookout for a new fantasy romance. Surprisingly, they’re somewhat hard to find. So, good ones are even harder to find. In my quest, I stumbled onto a gem in Hailey Edwards's A Hint of Frost. The strong adventure plot pulled the story forward and kept me rapt with attention. Lourdes and Rhys are trying to find her missing sister and learn why her parents were murdered. This leads them on a journey that is always interesting where they can learn more about each other. And it’s so utterly refreshing with the fantasy world and deeply-captivating characters right from the opening that immediately thrust the reader into the action with murder and mayhem.
The heroine, Lourdes, is threatened when her mother is poisoned. The clan Lourdes' family trusted so long for protection is now trying to eradicate them. Desperate for help, Lourdes turns in a direction she might never have taken. And this forced decision reveals a heroine worth reading. Lourdes is a fantastic strong heroine. A truly strong female character that knows her limits is a rare thing these days. She quickly won me over in the beginning because Rhys hid her for her protection and told her to stay put. And she cooperates, recognizing that she’s not as strong. But don't let that point fool you. When threatened, she efficiently takes care of herself, proving to the reader that she has inner strength. Even better, when Rhys comes back admonishing that he told her not to move, she replies, "I heard you, but as I have a fondness for the way my head rests upon my neck, I decided some movement might be warranted." Her strength is in how she heeds advice and makes the best decisions. I also liked how once she made a decision she didn't bemoan her choice or the fact that she had to make it. And then there's Rhys…
Rhys intrigued me right from the beginning as strong and deadly but honorable at the same time. He obviously has secrets. Learning those secrets kept me flipping pages late into the night. When you add in the way that he respects Lourdes and her decisions, understands her need to be herself as well as the reasons she makes some of her decisions, he definitely had me rooting for him to win Lourdes’s affections.
The one thing that kept this from being a five star read, and it was a hard call to make, is some of the lingering confusion about the story world and the specifics of the race of Araneae at the story's end. Lourdes' clan actually spins powerful threads, like spiders, from their hands where the spinnerets are located. But I had a hard time picturing this and how it coalesced into the everyday use of their hands. I’m sure this confusion just stems from my frustration in being unable to picture the character's hands, but the desire to figure that out plagued me throughout the book as one minor thing in the whole of the world building, which over all was fantastic. The different clans and their interactions, along with the journey within the world allowed me to learn this information organically. Plus there are dragons. I can’t resist dragons.
The story is really well-paced that even managed to surprise me a few times. Upon finishing A Hint of Frost, I quickly went and looked up all of Ms. Edwards' backlist, eager to read more. She has a deft hand developing the characters and world that I devoured. If you’re looking for something that’s different, fresh, and wonderfully crafted, read A Hint of Frost.