Release Date ~ August 1, 2011
Paperback copy received as gift
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 had heard good thing sabout Jennifer's YA series Mythos Academy, and it sounded like something I would typically enjoy; a story inspired by mythology with a misfit heroine trying to figure out her role in a new chapter in her life. Most readers who have read a good amount of YA can name a handful of series that follow this formula; but there's something about this familiarity of a story that works in Mythos Academy's favour, something that makes it as charming and enjoyable as its predeccesors.
- A new spin on an old tale:
There's no shortage of books involving extraordinary teenagers in boarding school, where they need to learn to defend themselves and ultimately defeat their mortal enemies. But I think part of the reason there are so many books like this is because they're read often and sell well. The plot relies on a number of archetypes, but what I particularly enjoyed about Jennifer Estep's version in Touch of Frost is that she does not heavily rely upon any one kind of mythology, the way that Percy Jackson does for example. Mythology clearly influences the story and plays an important role, but the story stands on its own very well. The mythology, in this case, almost seems to take a backseat to the rest of the story rather than being the driving force for it. That's something truly remarkable and rather unheard of in these types of books.
- A heroine with her head on straight:
'Kay, this was easily my favourite thing about Gwen, but I LOVED how level-headed she was! She'd get sidetracked by the cute boy in front of her for about a minute, then go right back to whatever it was she was doing. She's incredibly focused, and I liked that instead of moping around about how life isn't fair and she's drawn a poor hand (which I truly wouldn't judge her for, because it's true) she focuses her energy into her own projects. I also found Jennifer's writing to be enjoyable, and rather clever in dry-wit, punny kind of way which clearly came through as Gwen's voice. But that's exactly the kind of humour I appreciate, so I thought it was great!
- Super-sleuth girl:
I have a weakness for books that follow a "whodunnit" mystery storyline! I love trying to piece together all the pieces of the puzzle, to see if I can guess who the bad guy is. I tried really hard this time, honest. But even then, my guess was just a tad off. I WAS able to figure out the first half of it, and I even figured out the right person... I just had the wrong plan entirely. Bonus points for Touch of Frost since it DIDN'T end up being totally predictable and surprised me.
- Some unexpected secondary characters:
I also liked getting to see some unexpected sides of characers I initially thought would remain rather two dimensional through the series; to be fair, I did find the villain in this first book to be rather bland but I think the secondary characters that we got to know better as the story progressed made up for it. Gwen makes some surprising friends, and it's a relief to see an author willing to break some stereotypes.
There are a number of elements found in Touch of Frost that readers will be familiar with; it's fairly predictable, and similar to any Harry Potter or Percy Jackson book, there's plenty of foreshadowing in the information provided at the beginning of the book for what is to come by the end of it. So don't expect anything earth shattering or incredibly creative; it's a fault I also find in the aforementioned series as well. This is still a fast-paced read that's well worth reading, and one that had me going to the bookstore to buy the sequel as soon as I finished this one.