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Thursday, January 19, 2012

REVIEW: "Touch of Frost" by Jennifer Estep


Touch of Frost by Jennifer Estep
(Mythos Academy #1)

Young Adult--Fantasy
Kensington--July 2011
Paperback, 350 pages 

Rating: 4 Stars - Really Liked It







SUMMARY



My name is Gwen Frost, and I go to Mythos Academy — a school of myths, magic and warrior whiz kids, where even the lowliest geek knows how to chop off somebody's head with a sword and Logan Quinn, the hottest Spartan guy in school, also happens to be the deadliest.
 
But lately, things have been weird, even for Mythos. First, mean girl Jasmine Ashton was murdered in the Library of Antiquities. Then, someone stole the Bowl of Tears, a magical artifact that can be used to bring about the second Chaos War. You know, death, destruction and lots of other bad, bad things. Freaky stuff like this goes on all the time at Mythos, but I'm determined to find out who killed Jasmine and why—especially since I should have been the one who died. . .

MY THOUGHTS

--Introduction--
One of my guilty pleasure themes in young adult literature is the "magical school" series which, obviously,  comes from my undying love of Harry Potter.  But, recently I have had a difficult finding a magical school series that is creative and engrossing from the beginning.  Thankfully, I discovered Estep's Mythos Academy series which combines some of my favorite things: mythology, mystery, and mean girls getting their comeuppance.

--Main Character--
Our protagonist for this series is Gwen Frost who is the new student at Mythos Academy.  She is sent there by her grandmother after her mother's death in order to help with her unusual abilities.  You see, Gwen is known as a Gypsy and has the power of psychometry or the ability to read emotions, memories, etc. from physical objects.  Despite the fact that she has these powers, Gwen is reluctant to attend Mythos and has a difficult time believing in all the supernatural goings-on of the school.

Gwen is a great YA heroine who is intelligent, slightly quirky, and possesses a good heart.  After discovering Jasmine's body in the library, she sets off on a quest to find out what happened to her despite the fact that Jasmine was considered the meaniest girl in the school.  Gwen just can't shake off the idea that no one at the school, students or staff, seem to care about the fact that a girl is dead, no matter how horrible she was.  This made me admire Gwen's sense of right and wrong.  While on her journey, readers see Gwen make mistakes, but she learns from them rather than constantly repeating the same ones.  I am excited to see how she grows even more as a person and as a Gypsy in the series.

--Secondary Characters--
Like most school-set series, there are a lot of secondary characters.  At first glance, many of the students at Mythos seem to fit a high school stereotype, but Estep takes special care to put her own spin on them.  In particular, I enjoyed the character of Daphne who went from popular teen princess to computer geek to possible friend for Gwen.  And then we have Logan Quinn who is a Spartan that is considered the biggest man-whore at Mythos.  Throughout the book, we watch Gwen and Logan meet up in random places and even help each other out on occasion.  Logan is definitely a mystery that I am eager to find out more about in future books.

--Romance--
There is not much romance in this first installment which works for the series.  Estep takes time to introduce the world of Mythos and the characters of Gwen, Daphne, and Logan without overshadowing them with a love story.  Gwen and Logan are more than likely going to be the primary couple, but it would have been unrealistic for them to fall in love, or lust, in the time span of this book.  But, there is a spark there that will be fun to see increase later on.

--Worldbuilding--
The setting of Mythos Academy is very elaborate and well thought out.  The mythology is a mixture of many different cultures such as Greek, Roman, and Norse.  The overall culture of the school appears normal at first, but there are many tidbits that Estep throws into to emphasize that this is not a typical high school.

--Plot--
Touch of Frost starts out a little slow, but begins to pick up when Gwen discovers Jasmine's body and moves along quickly until the end.  The action was balanced nicely with the mystery aspect and Gwen's slow acceptance of her enrollment at Mythos. 

--Conclusion--
This was a fun, entertaining ride with an admirable heroine, some unique supporting characters, a very real big bad, and plenty of questions left to be answered in future installments.  Highly Recommended!!


COVER

Pretty good image of Gwen and a very cool representation what could easily be a tower at Mythos.

FAVORITE QUOTES

Logan Quinn was the kind of guy who could stab me in the eye with a freaking Twizzler. --Gwen

“Did she just call me a bleeding toothpick? Kill her! Kill her now!” --Vic


SERIES INFORMATION

0.5. First Frost
1. Touch of Frost
1.5. Halloween Frost
2. Kiss of Frost
3. Dark Frost (To Be Released May 2012)
4. Crimson Frost (To Be Released 2013)

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