22 May 2012

Review: Touch of Frost by Jennifer Estep

Author: Jennifer Estep

Title: Touch of Frost

Series: Mythos Academy #1

About the Book:
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:

After her mom's death, Gwen Frost, a girl from a long line of Gypsy women, is sent off as a sort of scholarship student to Mythos Academy, a magical school which looks more like something out of Gossip Girl than Harry Potter. The kids are spoiled, filthy rich, and petty. They are also descendants of mythology: Spartans, Amazons, Valkyries, wizards, what have you; they pack a lot of magical power. When the Queen Bee of the Mean Girls Club is killed and no one seems to care, Gwen, our poor outcast girl, decides that's not right. She attempts to get to bottom of the murder and thus begins her journey of discovery.

This book was a breath of fresh air for me. I often steer clear of YA because the prevailing attitude seems to be 'let's made these kids as idiotic as possible because teens are supposed to be all hormones and very little sense.' I've read middle grade books with more sense than a lot of characters populating YA. I think Ms. Estep captured the essence of teenhood - you know, the raging hormones, the emotions, the invincibilty, etc - very well without sacrificing good judgment, which is very important to me. It felt authentic.

Gwen was level-headed, which made it a joy to read. I could trust her judgments and her assessments of people and situations. I could trust that she was giving me an accurate rundown of what was happening. Gwen also wasn't starry-eyed over just about every boy, thank the Powers that Be!

Apart from the story, I really enjoyed the relationships formed and watching them grow. I think Ms. Estep did a fantastic job with them. Gwen is forced to confront her own prejudices about these rich, plastic mean girls when she comes into contact with Daphne, who at first glance is as fake as they come. Daphne had quite a bit of depth beyond said appearance, and Gwen was smart enough to see it. It was awesome to see this popular, snobby girl, and the outcast gypsy girl who looked down her nose at all of these rich people strike the beginnings of a friendship.

Logan totally made me laugh! It also totally made me laugh that even though Gwen liked him, she was very cognizant of all his faults, calling him 'man-whore'! Loved it! I am hopeful for where their friendship will go, given the way things ended.

The mystery was actually interesting, and the ending blindsided me, but it was not even the most important thing. That one was fairly obvious: Gwen's journey of discovery. I think by the second chapter I had figured out exactly what it was that Gwen was going to learn about herself at the end of the novel (definitely by the time Jasmine was killed, I had figured it out). Even so, it was a pleasure coming along for a ride on this train of common sense.

The reason I am not giving this book a perfect rating stems from a few things (so I am nitpicky, sue me). Ms. Estep had a habit of naming people over and over again, which irritated me more and more as the story progressed. Daphne is a valkyrie. So are a whole bunch of other girls. We got treated to sentences like this almost every page: "I was talking to Daphne; the valkyrie gave me an exasperated look"; or "I spotted Logan. The Spartan looked hot in his shirt"; or "My mom, Grace....". Literally every single time a character was mentioned, the next sentence would have their magical power mentioned. It. was. hella. annoying. I am surprised the editors didn't pick this up. Personal pronouns are your friend!

But all in all, I had so much fun going to Mythos Academy through Gwen's eyes. It was a simple enough story, but I really enjoyed the telling of it.



  1. Hmmm, the name picking is a turn off, but the story sounds really good! I think I will enjoy this book while laying in the sun ^^ thanks for the great review!

    1. Welcome, Mel! I hope you enjoy it too when you finally get to it.


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