Hint of Frost (Araneae Nation #1) – A promising new series!
The new Araneae Nation series by Hailey Edwards kicks off with Lourdes, daughter of Araneidae clan leaders, running for her life from treacherous enemies that have poisoned her mother and father with plans to usurp power. Lourdes refuses to give up easily and she wants revenge, so she decides to ally with the venomous and cannibalistic Mimetidae clan through marrying their maven’s mercenary warrior son. Rhys the Cold is this warrior, and he is committed to his duty with hopes for his clan to flourish. But through working together with the Araneaens, these people become a little too tempting for kind.
Rhys is devoted to his clan first, but as he spends more and more time with his future wife priorities may be shifting and he becomes more conflicted about his true loyalties. This is further tested once Lourdes’ younger sister turns up missing, possibly abducted, and with his betrothed they travel to the southlands to find her. They are in for a bit of a surprise once they discover a deadly plague that risks spreading throughout their whole world. Lourdes must test herself as a true maven, juggling her decisions to save her fellow clansmen from this disease as well as save her sister and exact revenge on those responsible for her parents’ deaths.
For the most part, I enjoyed the read by Ms. Edwards. It’s definitely firmly in the fantasy category. It takes us to a completely new world and we’re introduced to characters with abilities more unique than we’re used to seeing. There’s a good deal of character development for the two leads, Lourdes and Rhys, both separately and together which I think is really important for ongoing novels like this. Their adventure was engaging and I looked forward to how Lourdes would solve these issues. She’s forced to grow up really quickly so you admire her and sympathize with her quite a bit. She has a lot of chemistry with Rhys, so I think romance lovers will enjoy this angle of the novel.
That said, I did have a couple of quirks with the story. I enjoyed being introduced to a new world, but I think the series could really benefit from a glossary or at least some kind of reference so that the reader can fully understand the different clans as well as the geography of the land. I got confused a few times trying to remember who was who and who did what to whom, and more importantly which clans had what kind of supernatural ability. There were some points where I got confused and then the answer would be revealed later on, but I sort of felt like these answers should have been revealed immediately. The ending also felt somewhat rushed to me. Overall, the book is a relatively short read, so it’s worth reading twice to grasp everything even better.
I think the cover is nice and well done. It captures the atmosphere of this world pretty well. However, the title could be a little more distinctive. Even though I don’t read the series, I immediately thought about Laurel K. Hamilton’s Merry Gentry series (I believe she has a book titled Lick of Frost), so I’m unsure weather or not providing a similar title was intentional. It’s not a big deal, but it was just my observation.
I think this series has a lot of potential and I wonder where Edwards can take things next. Will it still center on Lourdes and Rhys? Maybe we’ll see focus shift to another character and couple? The latter is my bet because there are others who could have interesting stories of their own.
*ARC Provided by the Author.