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Book Reviews

Review: “Touch of Frost,” Jennifer Estep

April 28, 2014
Review: “Touch of Frost,” Jennifer EstepTouch of Frost (Mythos Academy #1)
Written by Jennifer Estep
Published August, 2011 by Kensington Teen
350 pages
Genres: Mythology, Urban Fantasy
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three-stars

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...

The first book in the ‘Mythos Academy’ series for the most part was a fast-paced and fun read. I did, however, have a few problems with it that I hope will be rectified in the second book.

I felt that ‘Touch of Frost’ succumbed a bit too heavily to the overused tropes of YA fiction. Boarding school? Check. Outcast leading character with a slightly different power? Check. Bitchy clique of mean girls? Check. Untouchable brooding bad boy? Check. Dead mum/parents? Check. I found myself sighing a little in exasperation. I wanted the ‘Mythos Academy’ series to be a little more original.

Granted, Jennifer Estep managed to make the journey a little more thrilling than some of the boarding school ‘dramas’ that came before it, but I still struggled to warm up to the main character of Gwen and how she kept repeating herself.

That was my main irk with this book… it just kept repeating itself. How many times did we need to be reminded just how fresh the visions were of Gwen’s friend’s abusive stepfather? How many times did we need to be reminded that yes, her mother’s name was Grace Frost… (“my mom, Grace” – WHO DOES THAT?) And infuriatingly, Gwen would repeat certain phrases over and over until I could stand them no more – Warrior whiz-kids, ‘my gypsy gift’, magic mumbo jumbo… ‘yucko’…

Which brings me to the cold, hard fact that Grace Frost was a bit of an idiot for most part of the book.

For a girl that has an amazingly cool power (psychometry – seeing the history of objects she touches) she was SUCH a non-believer in magic. Despite going to a school for the descdents of gods, Valkyries, Spartans, etc. and witnessing their skills and magic first hand, she was so damned blind. One moment she’s talking to her new friend Daphne about the pink-coloured sparks that emanate from the Valkyrie’s hands, and WHY they’re pink… and the next chapter she’s musing on the fact that she MAY, just MAY, be beginning to believe in magic.

What?

Still, some elements of this debut YA from Jennifer Estep were fun. I really enjoyed the element of ‘Champions’ and the gods/goddesses, etc. selecting a person to be theirs. I think this will really step up the game for Gwen in the next few books. I also LOVED the sword, Vic. I’ve no idea why but a talking sword with a British accent just seems like the coolest thing to have come from Touch of Frost.

I also liked the relationship between Gwen and Daphne… the first chapter holds their first meeting and I can’t say that I envisioned their relationship developing any further than that. I was pleasantly surprised at how much they actually clicked.

Romance-wise, Gwen and bad boy Spartan Logan seem to have a ‘Rose and Dimitri’ from Vampire Academy vibe, what with him being her fighting tutor in the next book… I can’t say I hold many feelings toward them as a couple just yet, so we’ll see how things develop.

I will be reading the next book, Kiss of Frost, because I hired the first two from the library and it seems only fair to give it a shot with such a low page count. And, despite my rantings on certain elements, I was able to read Touch of Frost in basically one sitting.

I really hope this series picks up. Bring me more of that talking sword!

Recommended to: Fans of the ‘Vampire Academy’ series will probably love this one, as well as fans of the ‘Hex Hall’ series.

About Jennifer Estep

Jennifer Estep is a New York Times and USA Today bestselling author, prowling the streets of her imagination in search of her next fantasy idea. Jennifer has worked as a features writer and page designer for a Pulitzer Prize-winning newspaper and has more than 10 years of journalism experience.

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