Book reviews: “Touch of Frost” and “Kiss of Frost” by Jennifer Estep

I’m not a fan of the young adult paranormal romance genre but I decided to give Jennifer Estep’s Mythos Academy series a try because 1) someone lent it to me, 2) I was bored, and 3) I wanted something light and fast to read.

The official series description:
Gwen Frost is an outsider at 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. Gwen is an outsider both to the students of the Academy and the rest of the world. But when her gift of psychometry – the ability to know an object’s history just by touching it reveals dark undercurrents and danger afoot, she has no choice but to get involved.

Book 1: Touch of Frost

Gwen Frost is the new girl at Mythos Academy, a boarding school in North Carolina where the children of mythological warriors – Vikings, Valkyries, Spartans, Celtic warrior bards, samurais (?!) and ninjas (?!) – go to school. The kids are here to learn how to fight and stand against the forces of Loki, who wants to plunge the world into Chaos. The funny thing is she’s not a warrior. She’s a Gypsy with the gift of psychometry, the “ability to know an object’s history just by touching it”. Because she’s a Gypsy and is *gasp!* middle class, the hoity-toity rich kids of Mythos consider her as invisible. Gwen’s accepted her background status until Mythos Queen Bee Jasmine Ashton is brutally murdered and an important Artifact is stolen. Gwen is the only one who thinks there’s more to Jasmine’s murder than meets the eye and so starts poking around. Unfortunately, poking your nose into where it doesn’t belong in a place like Mythos is definitely not a good idea.

What I liked:

  • The mythology-brought-to-the-modern-world scenario, similar to what Rick Riordan has done
  • The supporting characters: Logan Quinn (the Spartan bad boy/Love Interest), Daphne Cruz (the Valkyrie princess who eventually becomes Gwen’s best friend), and Carson Callahan (Celtic warrior bard and band geek)
  • The touch of teenage reality – sex, alcohol, and rule-breaking in a boarding school.
  • The Nancy Drew aspect – skulking around, discovering things.
  • It was exactly what I thought it would be – fast, light, and slightly brainless. On second thought, is this a good thing?

What I didn’t like:

  • Gwen. There were several instances at the start of the book that I just wanted to smack her.
  • The telling, not showing. Important information that Gwen needs to know is constantly told to her by the teachers, Daphne, and the villain *facepalm*
  • The constant emphasizing of the kids having designer clothes and purses, expensive cars, and jewelry. I get it, these kids are rich. No need to tell me every other page.
  • Samurais and ninjas included as “mythological warriors”. Really? REALLY? They were warriors, sure. But they were never warriors in the service of a particular god.

Overall score: 2/5 stars. Touch of Frost gave me enough reason to read Book 2, Kiss of Frost.

Book 2: Kiss of Frost

After the events of Touch of Frost, Gwen Frost is now officially a warrior in training with her very own talking sword. She now has regular combat training with Logan and his Spartan friends Kenzie and Oliver. Winter break is coming up and Mythos is heading to the mountains for the Winter Carnival. There, Gwen meets another potential love interest, almost gets killed by a Fenrir wolf, and learns just what her psychometric powers can do.

What I liked:

  • Again, Logan and Daphne. They’re basically saving the series for me.
  • Gwen unlocking her psychometry powers. If she keeps this up and starts growing a backbone, I just might like her.
  • The gay acceptance plug. This character turning out to be gay came out of left field but hey, at least the acceptance message is there.
  • The reveals about the Frost family

What I didn’t like:

  • Gwen. Again, I wanted to smack her. Please tell me she isn’t representative of the current crop of teenage girls.
  • I saw that villain coming a mile away.
  • The “romance” between Logan and Gwen, mostly because I can’t imagine what Logan sees in Gwen. At this point in time, she’s whiny, annoying, and pegged as “quirky” just because she reads comic books (she’s such a special snowflake, this girl).
  • Again, the telling and not showing.

Overall score: 2/5 stars. There’s been some character development for Gwen so I can’t hate so much. I just wish there was more of it.

The third book in the series, Dark Frost, comes out on May 29, 2012.

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