Review: Touch of Frost by Jennifer Estep

Publication Date: July 26th, 2011
K TEEN BOOKS – Kensington Publishing Company
Format: Paperback, 350 pages
RATING: 4 out of 5 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. . .

Why the heck did I wait so long to read this? Actually, if I’m to admit the reason why I wasn’t so gung-ho on starting this right way, I’d say it’s primarily because of the setting.  Boarding schools don’t really appeal to me. These type of stories has a tendency to come dangerously close to stereotypes but I am quite impressed that this book did not fall victim to all that. However, the author used some of the repetitive high school elements; mean girls, cliques, hot boy who ended up liking the blah girl (though, I don’t understand how you could consider a girl with violet eyes to be blah). At this point, I think I should stop complaining. It’s going to happen over and over again. You know why? Well…it’s high school. Unless I go and broaden my reading horizon by switching genres, I’m going to have to shut up and put up. Anyway…

Mythos Academy is a school for kids whose bloodlines can be traced  from warriors of  ancient Mythologies – Spartans, Vikings, Valkyries, Amazons – all powerful and gifted in their own rights. Here, they learn to hone their magic, powers, and combat skills to fight the Reapers bent on freeing the Norse god Loki, who also happens to be the god of Chaos. Gwen Frost finds herself sticking out like a sore thumb. As far as she’s concern, her psychometry power is lame in comparison to everybody else’s gifts and magic. She’s poor and her secret obsession with comic books will not win her the popularity contest anytime soon. When she finds the murdered proclaimed school queen bee in the library, she’s more than shocked with how fast the people around her moved on – like it was some every day occurrence. Everyone seems blasé about her death. But she can’t stop thinking about Jasmine’s blodgeoned body and how weird it was that she didn’t feel her essence when she touched her. Even weirder? She can’t seem to shake off Logan Quinn, Spartan extra-ordinaire, every girl’s dream and every boy’s nightmare. As she goes on to solve the mystery of Jasmine’s death, she also garners some pretty dangerous enemies.

It was so easy to get lost in this book. On the one hand, you’ll find yourself engrossed in the Mythologies involved;  and on the other, you’ll be highly entertained by the mish-mash of characters and their personalities.

Though this book wasn’t that suspenseful, it will still trip your nerves up a bit. There was an encounter with a Nemean prowler – some undomesticated ginormous cat; a human sacrifice administered by an un-dead; then Gwen and Logan fighting off said undead. So really, there isn’t any shortage of action.

Our heroine is the type that doesn’t go balls-out; she doesn’t pretend to be a bad-ass character and truthfully, her reluctant courage made her much more realistic. She kinda reminds me of Claire from The Morganville Vampires. When push comes to shove, she’ll fight – but rest assured, she’ll be whimpering along the way.

SPARTANS. I have this image in my head of hot, dark boys running around half naked with their washboard abs exposed. Well, color me disappointed or…perverted – whichever. Anyway, I’m not convinced that Spartans are the greatest warriors in this book. I thought that it was easy to ignore who they are – descendants of the fiercest group of soldiers in the ancient Greece.  The reason being, is that the author didn’t really spend a lot of time highlighting their prowess. As it was, I thought that their skills were interchangeable and not at all that impressive.  I’m hoping that things will change in the next few books.

The gist: Less expectations come great gratifications. I went into this book not having any preconceived notions that I was going to enjoy it. Well, I did. So much so that it took me a little less than six hours to finish. This book has an interesting premise – rich in Mythology that was easy to follow.

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