I’d been putting off reading my ARC of Frostbound by Sharon Ashwood for a while because it’s the fourth in her Dark Forgotten series. Um…yeah…thinking I should have read this one sooner! While it is the fourth, it works as a standalone, I didn’t feel lost and if it hadn’t been listed as part of a series, I would have never known.
As a snowstorm locks down the city, someone beheads the wrong girl. Vampire-on-the-lam Talia Rostova thinks it was meant to be her. And now she’s the prime suspect in her own botched murder and the prisoner of her smoking-hot-neighbor: a hellhound. And the hot-blooded Lore was bred to serve and protect, so he’s not freeing Talia until he’s sure she’s the prey and not the hunter…
Who knew hellhounds could be sexy…let alone as sexy as Lore?! Lore is all Alpha. Intelligent, dominant, protective…everything one wants in a leader. As a hellhound, and the Alpha, Lore has some special abilities. He gets prophecies and he has an extra, sixth sense…the ability to “feel” things. While coming home, Lore senses an evil presence…and while hunting this presence, discovers not one, but two, heinous crimes. One of those crimes leads him to meet Talia, a rogue vampire who’s actually in hiding. At first, Lore simply wants to protect Talia from the human police, as they have a tendency to judge first, ask questions never when dealing with the supernaturals. So, before he hands Talia over for what is likely a death sentence, he wants to try and figure out if she committed one of the crimes. Talia doesn’t stay “prisoner” for long. After one rather futile escape attempt, Lore and his friends figure out Talia is not a murderess but may actually be in danger…so she decides to stay and help Lore & Co. find who the killer is, as Talia is pretty sure it’s her sadistic sire.
The plot was pretty fast paced, which is to be more expected in the fourth novel of a series, as there shouldn’t be a lot of world building still to be done, but rather character building. Even without having read the previous three novels, I caught on quickly with the world, and it didn’t appear that characters from past novels were present in Frostbound. However, there were some points that were obvious (like once Talia had tagged the suspect, etc) and some things that I felt could be better explained. There was a lot of allusion to the hellhounds past and their traditions and how Lore (because Talia is a vampire and Lore *should* mate with another hellhound) wants to break tradition to be with Talia. It just felt that these things just were, with little explanation. It would have been OK but this is a PNR novel, so you know Talia and Lore will end up together, but the explanation for the pack’s acceptance seemed rushed at the end. Ms. Ashwood had built up all this pretense of why the pack wouldn’t accept Talia, etc but then…within a couple paragraphs, the issues were just gone after the main battle. Just didn’t sit quite right with me.
All in all, I enjoyed Frostbound. I’ll need to pick up the first three books at some point. I enjoyed Ms. Ashwood’s writing style and her pacing is good. Definitely a new PNR series to check out *G*.