BookMusings: (Re)Discovering Pagan Literature

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Series Review: The Frost Arcana


Series Title: The Frost Arcana

Book Titles: What Fate Portends, What Man Defies, What Gods Incite, What Dawn Demands (forthcoming)

Publisher: Knite and Day Publishing

Author: Clara Coulson

Price: .99 to $3.99

For thousands of years, paranormals lived alongside humanity, mostly in the shadows, undetected. And then, in the early twenty-first century, the existence of paranormals was exposed -- and humanity panicked. Governments around the world began began to actively hunt, quarantine, and exterminate any paranormals they could find, from werewolves to vampires to fae to witches. From her throne in the Unseelie Court, Queen Mab saw what was happening to her distant children -- and ripped open the veil between the worlds. Fae armies marched across the globe, tearing down human civilization, impervious to every known human weapon ... even nuclear bombs .... Seven years later, what remains of humanity has taken refuge in sanctuary cities. Fae bureaucrats and fae warriors protect these cities from the monsters which inhabit the Stretches. Among the inhabitants of Kinsale, in what was once North Carolina, is Vincent Whelan, a half-fae former police officer. Hiding his fae nature beneath six layers of glamour, Whelan makes a semi-decent living scavenging the Stretches for supplies and working on commission to salvage lost family mementos .... But when a new client comes calling, Whelan finds himself drawn into a conspiracy involving ancient enemies of the fae, vengeful Gods, mafia bosses, magical weapons, a grumpy witch, and an evil so vast and hungry that it threatens to consume creation ....

It is rare that I read one book and immediately download the next book. And then the next. And then scream in frustration when I discover that the fourth book is not out for another month. Argh!

The Frost Arcana is a heck of a lot of fun. Whelan is a terrific character. It was a delight to find a male protagonist in an urban fantasy series who was not a moody, misogynistic jerk. Is he angry about the apocalypse, about being outed and nearly killed by his fellow police officers? Absolutely. No doubt. But he still treats the people around him with decency and respect, and does the best he can to make a living without causing any further damage to an already broken world. 

The supporting cast is just as good. There's Saoirse, Whelan's old police partner, a mundane human doing her best to survive in a strange, new world. Christie, a good-hearted herbalist and tea maker. O'Shea, the owner of a local bar, an endless source of useful information who is very protective of the people of Kinsale. Joe Shark and Agatha Bismarck, two of Kinsale's most unscrupulous citizens. And many more.

The magic in The Frost Arcana is also highly imaginative and visually striking. I particularly like the scenes in which Whelan travels between worlds; the portals he creates actually deform the ground, creating sinkholes through which he can fall. When he winds up on The Endless Sea, the reader is treated to a glorious view of the Otherworld and its innumerable realms.

As the series progresses, we learn more about Whelan, the nature of his abilities, and what is truly at stake. Each battle is harder than the last, each villain increasingly powerful and clever. Whelan isn't sure that he has what it takes to save the day, to keep his friends and his city safe -- but he is determined not to give up.

The Frost Arcana is a terrific post-collapse urban fantasy series populated by heroes, villains, Gods, fae, and witches. It is exciting, imaginative, and just plain fun. Highly recommended to fans of Ilona Andrews, Lisa Shearin, Jim Butcher, Sarah L. Avery, Jolene Dawe, and Rebecca Chastain.  

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Rebecca Buchanan is the editor of the Pagan literary ezine Eternal Haunted Summer. She is also the editor-in-chief of Bibliotheca Alexandrina. She thinks it is incredibly unfair that she must work for a living rather than being able to read all day. In her next life, she would like to be a library cat.


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