Reading level: Young adult
Trade paperback: 384 pages
Genre: Urban fantasy
Release date: December 24, 2012
Series: Mythos Academy #4
Source: Review copy from Kensington via NetGalley
Reviewed by: Jenn
For a moment, a face flashed before my eyes—the most hideous face I'd ever seen. No matter how hard I tried to forget what had happened, I saw him everywhere I went. It was Loki—the evil god that I'd helped set free against my will.
I should have known that my first official date with Logan Quinn was destined to end in disaster. If we'd gotten into a swordfight, or been ambushed by Reapers, I'd have been more prepared. But getting arrested mid-sip at the local coffee hangout? I didn't see that one coming. I've been accused of purposely helping the Reapers free Loki from his prison—and the person leading the charge against me is Linus Quinn, Logan's dad. The worst part is that pretty much everyone at Mythos Academy thinks I'm guilty. If I'm going to get out of this mess alive, I'll have to do it myself. . .
Warning: This post, like the book description, contains spoilers about previous entries in the series (but not CRIMSON FROST).
As you know from previous books in the series, or from reading the cover copy above, big things happened in DARK FROST, the biggest being the Loki got free with some unwilling assistance from Gwen, who was tricked by Loki's champion. Now, Gwen's facing the consequences of her actions, with the Protectorate putting her on trial. The added twist? They arrested her on her first date with Logan and Logan's dad is the leader of the Protectorate. How's that for an awkward meet-the-parents?
Most of the book deals with Gwen's trial and the ostracization she experiences after Logan's dad denounces her as a Reaper in front of the entire school. This is by far the darkest chapter in the series so far, as Gwen faces possible execution if she's found guilty. Thankfully, she still has allies, including the usual suspects (Daphne, Carson, Oliver, Logan, Metis, Nickamedes, Morgan, and her grandmother) but it's a small number in the face of all of the hatred Gwen faces since she has to continue going to school while on trial. It's so bad, in fact, that she's assigned a guard by the Protectorate. Compounding this issue is the fact that Gwen suspects someone on the Protectorate -- or someone close to a Protectorate member -- is actually a Reaper, manipulating things so that Gwen is found guilty. It's a classic mystery on some levels, which I loved, but Jennifer Estep also explores the emotional repurcussions in a very satisfying way.
The romance also goes up a notch in CRIMSON FROST, though not for long. It's so fun to see Gwen and Logan go on their first date, even though it gets interrupted. And while the trial does put a damper on their romance, sparks fly for some other characters in the book. Plus, Gwen and Logan's relationship does continue to develop as we learn more about Logan's family. It's really nice to see what makes Logan tick and we get more insights into his background and childhood than ever before. Logan fans will definitely want to read CRIMSON FROST to learn more of his story.
The introduction of the Protectorate was also really neat because we get to see more of how the world works. The first three books were very focused on Mythos Academy and its internal workings (with some insights into other schools), and now we get to see how other aspects of the universe function. I knew there had to be some sort of governing body and so I was excited to see how the Protectorate worked and how existing characters would interact with members of this body. Their judicial system is far from democratic but it's really neat. The mechanisms used for truth-telling are very original and I can't want to see what everyone thinks. (No spoilers, since the book is brand new, but you can hit me up on Twitter to chat!
Jennifer Estep has truly outdone herself with CRIMSON FROST. The Mythos Academy books are one of the few YA series that I love and this is the strongest entry yet. It's an thrilling novel that really opens up the world that Gwen and her friends live in. I'm going to go crazy counting the days until MIDNIGHT FROST!