Early Guest Review: Touch of Frost by Jennifer Estep

350 pages
Mythos Academy #1
Kensington Publishing

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. . .

I have been a fan of Jennifer Estep since picking up her Elemental Assassin series. I like strong female characters that don’t take shit and can lay out anyone. I get that with the EA series. So when I saw the title of her new YA series, I got excited. By the title of the book, I assumed we were delving further into the Elemental Assassin world. It just goes to show you that, 1. I’m lazy about reading the back of the books by authors I like and 2. I typically auto-click the author’s I like onto my reading wish list…and I don’t always know what I’m getting. So no, Touch of Frost is NOT about the Elemental Assassin world but a new world from the Mythos Academy. For me, this is the only big negative of the book. The title is too closely linked to the Elemental Assassin world for my taste. So what did I like?

Gwen Frost is your typical Young Adult heroine with a dark past and who’s a bit socially awkward from dealing with said past. Additionally, she’s able to tell too much about friends and enemies just by touching their belongings or having skin-to-skin contact. I loved the idea of the Mythos Academy. The novel is a combination of several cultural mythologies all rolled into one world where they all interact. This gives you a touch of several cultures where most books touch on only one at a time. I think she's opened up a new world with a lot of potential and possibilities, with all kinds of history to play with to help manipulate the story.

Like I said, there are portions that are very YA a-typical writing and behavior. Gwen as the main character knows she doesn’t fit in and she isn’t really bothered with trying to. But there’s nothing like being the outcast in your teens to draw more teens in.  She stumbles through the book trying to solve the mystery of the stolen bowl of tears and creates her own group of friends out of an unlikely trio of a Spartan, a Valkyrie and a Celt. Daphne is the Valkyrie, who is very popular, and spoiled but has a deeper depth that slowly surfaces throughout the novel with Gwen’s help.  With Daphne, you get Carson, the tall and gangly Celt who is Daphne’s love interest. Then my favorite is Logan, the Spartan. You cannot have YA without the crush or the bad boy who you can’t get enough of. Logan is the womanizing Spartan with the reputation as the scariest warrior on campus. He so clearly likes Gwen and is so purely masculine in his appreciation for all women, that I loved his bad boy ways and charm.

The first book of any series is sometimes hard to read as the author establishes the rules of the world and the history along with it. Ms. Estep did a fantastic job of slowly indoctrinating you into the world of the Mythos Academy by unveiling the world through Gwen’s eyes. As a Gypsy, her genre of warrior is little known at the school and this is partially why she’s an outcast. The other students don’t know much about her and Gwen doesn’t know much about them or herself, and when most of the kids hang with warrior’s of the same cast, Gwen is lonely as the sole Gypsy. Ms. Estep takes this and uses Gwen’s lack of knowledge as a way to educate her readers, in the process of giving her main character growth. It provides a natural flow to the book.

Overall, I liked the book. I enjoyed the world and characters and the flow of the book, and I’m already looking forward to the next book.

4 stars

Thank you Carrie for guest reviewing. I can't wait to read this one myself -jess

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