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|Length: 307 pages||Word Wise: Enabled||Enhanced Typesetting: Enabled|
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Frost gets a lot of things right. Pacing is good; the action moves without becoming overwhelming, and there aren't any plodding moments. The cast of characters is fairly small and relatively well-defined; the reader is not likely to lose track of who's speaking or what's going on. The writer posits a Buffy-esque world where supernatural beings are somewhat of an open secret.
Most of the bad is the product of this being a freshman effort, and the balancing act necessary to provide adequate characterization without delving into numbing detail. The story features lycanthropes, vampires, DNA sequencing, and other mumbo-jumbo. Unfortunately, the story loses steam whenever we get dragged into the sci-fi expostulations; it's not real science, and there aren't any 'rules' in the world Frost has established with regards to how it works. Thus, the reader can't really do anything with these bits. She'd do well to read some Sanderson, and find a happy place about halfway between Sanderson's overly-long worldbuilding and the minimal framework she established here.
The love for Joss Whedon shines through; it wouldn't surprise me to learn that Frost wrote this while watching Buffy or Firefly reruns. Some of the banter she writes resonates; some misses its mark.
Along those same lines, no discussion or backstory is provided. We've got two very rich guys (one protagonist, one antagonist) with no explanation as to how they became rich; the primary protagonist is a werewolf and we never hear how she became such. There's also never any sense of danger; the stakes are the lives of a couple of people.
Frost, fortunately, doesn't suffer from the same squeamishness some of her colleagues have; characters do perish.
Overall, I think Frost has a lot of promise if she can flesh out her writing a little bit more. Her background in short stories may be holding her back here; she needs to suppress the instinct to edit too much out and let some of the detail stand.
This is an action-packed story, without a complex plot. It reads smoothly, as crisis after crisis arises, is surmounted, with much loss of blood, and finally… What? I’m not going to spoiler it.
The relationships are fun, and complex. Even the ‘bad guy’ and the ‘good guy’ aren’t always at one another’s throats. I was particularly fond of Pepper and Tony’s interactions. No… Megan and Alex. I have trouble with that. You see, the main characters (there are four of them) in this book break down into a couple, and a boss and his assistant and they are so completely Iron Man and Pepper Potts I have trouble remembering the names from the book. I loved it. I wanted more of that sarcastic, droll, and yet tender interaction in the movie (not a comic-book person, so I’m pulling from the movie, which was sheer over-the-top fun like this book is), so this book left me very happy, and wanting more. There’s even a Jarvis-analogue, who was delightfully competent when it came to body disposal.
I’m sure there is more coming. There are loose ends. But the ending was satisfying and the lovers are sweet without being cloying. There were a few things that took me out of the story, and they were pretty much all editing issues. One, there are a lot of ‘brows’ in the descriptions, ‘she raised her brow, he lowered his brow’ and it started jarring me after a while. There are a few typos, and one statement that made me go mwha?! “Can’t do an MRI because you’ve still got bullet fragments…” and last I looked, lead was not magnetic. But before you think that sounds bad… I was able to stay immersed in story, and that’s the important part.