Touch of Frost by Jennifer Estep
Reading level: YA
Genre: Urban fantasy
Trade paperback: 336 pages
Release date: July 26, 2011
Series: Mythos Academy #1
Source: Personal shelf
Reviewed by: Jenn
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. . .
As a huge fan of Jennifer Estep's Elemental Assassin series, I was very excited to get my hands on Touch of Frost, the first book in her new YA series. It's also an urban fantasy novel, but with a very different mythology (no pun intended). In the Mythos Academy world, students are descended from gods, goddesses, and creatures and characters of various world mythologies, as well as the occasional not-100%-mythological but powerful group, like the Spartans or the Amazons. It's a great backdrop for Gwen Frost's story and I can't wait to see what Jennifer Estep comes up with next, if Touch of Frost is any indication.
I can't lie. I went into Touch of Frost with high expectations. Jennifer Estep is one of my favourite authors and I love how she crafts a story, tortures her characters, and takes the story in directions I don't always expect. I was worried that her writing wouldn't wow me as much in a YA world, mostly because I thought a lot of the grittiness she imparts to her characters and settings would be lost. Thankfully it's not. While things might not be quite as grim at Mythos Academy, the author has created a compelling world filled with layered characters and events.
Character-wise, I thought everyone was well written. In particular, I love Gwen, Daphne, Logan and Grandma Frost. We get a lot of insight into what makes Gwen tick thanks to the first person narrative but we've only seen the tip of the proverbial iceberg with Logan and Grandma Frost, if I'm not mistaken. I can't wait to learn more about them! And Daphne is a pretty interesting chick. I don't want to write too much about what makes her so interesting since I don't want to give stuff away but she was one of the people I really liked in the novel. Lots of personality and style. :)
The plot in Touch of Frost is also fantastic. It's well paced and has unexpected events, plus some nice foreshadowing that made me devour the novel (and left me desperate for Kiss of Frost, which comes out in December). While there were a couple clues that let me figure out where things were going before Gwen got there, it in no way detracted from my enjoyment of the book. There are also some great romantic storylines that had all the longing, dreaming, and angst you can hope for and then some. I look forward to seeing where things go from here, in terms of romance and Gwen's future at the Academy.