Touch of Frost (Mythos Academy Series #1)by Jennifer Estep
But lately, things have been weird, even for Mythos. First, mean girl Jasmine Ashton was murdered in
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 . . .
"Touch of Frost is an intriguing start to an exciting new series!" --Award-winning author Jeri Smith-Ready
". . .surviving high school means staying alive!" --New York Times bestselling author Kerrelyn Sparks
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TOUCH OF FROSTA Mythos Academy Novel
By Jennifer Estep
K TEEN BOOKSCopyright © 2011 Jennifer Estep
All right reserved.
Chapter One"I know your secret."
Daphne Cruz leaned closer to the mirror over the sink and put another coat of pale pink gloss onto her lips, pointedly ignoring me the way all the pretty, popular girls did.
The way everyone did at Mythos Academy.
"I know your secret," I repeated in a louder voice.
I pushed away from the statue of a sea nymph that I'd been leaning against, strolled over to the door that led out of the girls' bathroom, and locked it. I might not care who knew Daphne's dirty little secret, but I was willing to bet that she would before we were through. That's why I'd made sure that all of the white marble stalls were empty and waited for the rest of Daphne's friends to leave their spots on the cushioned settee in the corner before I'd approached her.
Once Daphne was satisfied that her lips were glossed to a high sheen, she dropped the tube into the depths of her oversize pink Dooney & Bourke purse. Next, she drew out a hairbrush and went to work on her smooth, golden locks. Still ignoring me.
I crossed my arms over my chest, leaned against the door, and waited. The intricate raised figures of warriors and monsters carved into the heavy wooden door pressed against my back, but I ignored the odd lumps and bumps. The two hundred bucks I was getting for this job meant that I could afford to be patient.
After another two minutes, when her hair had been brushed a dozen times and she realized that I wasn't actually, you know, leaving, Daphne finally deigned to turn and look at me. Her black eyes flicked over my jeans, graphic T-shirt, and purple zip-up hoodie, and she let out a little snort of disgust, obviously offended that I wasn't wearing the latest designer threads like she was. That I didn't have the matchy-match look down pat that she and her friends had going on.
Apparently, today's theme had been argyle, because the pattern was on everything that Daphne wore, from her pink cashmere sweater to her black pleated skirt to the printed black and pink tights that showed off her legs. The contrast of light and dark colors made her perfect, amber skin look that much more luminous. So did the shiny lip gloss.
"You know my secret?" Daphne repeated, a sneer creeping into her voice. "And what secret would that be?"
So the Valkyrie wanted to be snotty. Not a problem.
I smiled. "I know you took the charm bracelet. The one that Carson Callahan was going to give to Leta Gaston as a will-you-go-to-the-homecoming-dance-with-me present. You snatched it off the desk in his dorm room yesterday when he was helping you with your English lit paper."
For the first time, doubt flickered in Daphne's eyes, and disbelief filled her pretty face before she was able to hide it. Now, she was looking at me—really looking at me—trying to figure out who I was and what I wanted. After a moment, her eyes narrowed.
"You're that Gypsy girl," Daphne muttered. "The one who sees things."
That Gypsy girl. That's what everyone at Mythos Academy called me. Mainly because I was the only Gypsy trapped here in this school for magical warrior freaks. The middle-class girl whose strange ability had landed her here among the rich, popular, and undeniably powerful. Like Daphne Cruz, a spoiled, pampered wannabe princess who also happened to be a Valkyrie.
"What's your name?" Daphne asked. "Gail? Gretchen?"
Wow. I was impressed that she even knew it started with a G.
"Gwen," I told her. "Gwen Frost."
"Well, Gwen Frost," Daphne said, turning her attention back to her purse. "I have no idea what you're talking about."
Her voice and face were both just as smooth as the gilded silver mirror in front of her. I might have even believed her, if her hands hadn't clenched the tiniest bit as she put her hairbrush back into her purse. If I hadn't known just how good girls like her could lie.
Just how good everyone could lie.
I reached into my gray messenger bag and drew out a clear plastic bag. A small silver charm shaped like a rose glinted inside. I might as well have shown her a bag full of pot from the way Daphne visibly recoiled.
"Where—where did you get that?" she whispered.
"Carson hadn't finished putting all the charms on Leta's bracelet when he showed it to you during your tutoring session yesterday afternoon," I said. "I found this one way, way back behind his desk in his dorm room. It fell down there when you grabbed the bracelet and stuffed it into your purse."
Daphne let out a laugh, still keeping up the act. "And why would I do something like that?"
"Because you're crazy about Carson. You don't want him to ask out Leta. You want him for yourself."
Daphne slumped over, her hands dropping to one of the sinks that lined the wall below the mirror. Her fingers curled around the silver faucets, which were shaped like Hydra heads, before sliding down to the basin. Her French-manicured nails scraped across the white marble, and pale pink sparks of magic shot out of her finger tips. Daphne might only be seventeen like me, but Valkyries were incredibly strong. I knew that if she wanted to, Daphne Cruz could rip that sink out of the wall easier than the Hulk could.
Maybe I should have been scared of the Valkyrie, of the weird princess pink sparks, and especially of her strength and what she could do to me with it. But I wasn't. I'd already lost one of the people I cared about most. Everything else dulled in comparison to that.
"How do you know all that?" Daphne asked, her voice barely above a whisper.
I shrugged. "Because, as you put it, I see things. And as soon as I found this charm, I knew that you were the one who took the bracelet."
I didn't tell Daphne anything else about my Gypsy gift, about my ability to know an object's history just by touching it, and she didn't ask.
Instead, the Valkyrie kept staring at me with her black eyes. After about thirty seconds of silence, she came to some sort of decision. Daphne straightened, reached into her bag once more, and drew out her wallet. It matched her designer purse.
"All right," she said. "How much will it take for you to give me that charm and forget about this whole thing? A hundred dollars? Two?"
This time, my hands were the ones that clenched into fists. She was trying to buy me off. I'd expected nothing less, but the gesture still made me angry. Like everyone else at Mythos Academy, Daphne Cruz could afford the very best of everything. A few hundred dollars was nothing to her. She'd spent that much on her freaking purse.
But a few hundred dollars wasn't nothing to me. It was clothes and comic books and a cell phone and a dozen other things that girls like Daphne never had to worry about.
"Carson's already paid me," I said.
"So?" she said. "I'll pay you more. However much you want."
"Sorry. Once I give my word to somebody, I keep it. And I told Carson that I would find the charm bracelet for him."
Daphne tilted her head to the side like I was some strange creature that she'd never seen before, some mythological monster masquerading as a teenage girl. Maybe it was stupid of me, not taking her up on the cash that she was so willing to give me. But my mom wouldn't have taken Daphne's money, not if she'd already made a promise to someone else. My mom, Grace, had been a Gypsy, just like me. With a gift, just like me.
For a moment, my heart ached with guilt and longing. My mom was gone, and I missed her so much. I shook my head, more to push the pain aside than anything else.
"Look, just give me the bracelet. That's all I want. That's all Carson wants."
Daphne's lips tightened. "He—he knows? That I took the bracelet? And why?"
"Not yet. But he's going to if you don't give it to me. Right now."
I opened the top of the plastic bag and held it out to her. Daphne stared at the rose charm glinting inside. She bit her pink lip, smearing her gloss on her teeth, and looked away.
"Fine," she muttered. "I don't know why I even took it in the first place."
I did because I'd flashed on Daphne when I'd touched the charm. As soon as my fingers had brushed the silver rose, an image of the blond Valkyrie had popped into my head. I'd seen Daphne sitting at Carson's desk, staring at the bracelet, her fingers tightening around the metal links like she wanted to rip them in two.
And I'd felt the other girl's emotions, too, the way that I always did whenever I touched an object or even another person. I'd felt Daphne's hot, pulsing jealousy that Carson was thinking about asking out Leta. The warm, soft, fizzy crush that Daphne had on Carson herself, despite the fact that he was a total band geek and she was part of the popular crowd. Her cold, aching despair that she didn't like someone the rest of her snobby friends would approve of.
But I didn't tell Daphne any of that. The less people knew about my gift and the things I saw and felt, the better.
Daphne yanked the bracelet out of her bag. Carson Callahan might be a band geek, but he had money, too, which was why the bracelet was a heavy, expensive thing loaded down with a dozen charms that jingled together. Daphne's nails scraped against one of the charms, a small heart, and more pink sparks of magic fluttered like fireflies in the air.
I held out the bag again, and Daphne dropped the bracelet inside. I closed the top and tied off the plastic, careful not to touch the jewelry itself. I didn't want another slide show into Daphne Cruz's psyche. The first one had almost made me feel sorry for her.
But any sympathy I might have had for Daphne vanished when the Valkyrie gave me the cold, haughty stare that so many mean girls before her had perfected.
"You tell anyone about this, Gwen Frost, and I'll strangle you with that ugly purple hoodie you're wearing. Understand me?"
"Sure," I said in a pleasant tone. "But you might want to pull yourself together before you go to your next class, Daphne. Your lip gloss is smeared."
The Valkyrie's eyes narrowed, but I ignored her venomous dirty look, unlocked the bathroom door, and left.
Chapter TwoI stepped out of the bathroom and into the hallway. Somewhere deeper in the building, a bell chimed, warning me that I had five minutes to get to my next class, so I fell in with the flow of students walking toward the west wing of the English-history building.
From the outside, Mythos Academy looked like an elite Ivy League prep school, even though it was located in Cypress Mountain, just outside of Asheville, up in the high country of western North Carolina. Everything about the academy whispered of money, power, and snobbery, from the ivy-covered stone buildings to the perfectly manicured grassy quads to the dining hall that was more like a five-star restaurant than a school cafeteria. Yeah, from the outside, the academy looked exactly like the kind of place rich people would send their spoiled trust fund babies to in preparation for them going on to Yale, Harvard, Duke, or some other acceptably expensive college.
Inside, though, it was a different story.
At first glance, everything looked normal, if a bit stuffy and totally old-fashioned. You know, suits of polished armor lining the halls, each one clutching a sharp, pointed weapon. Stone carvings and expensive oil paintings of mythological battles covering the walls. White marble statues of gods and goddesses standing in the corners, their faces turned toward each other and hands held up over their mouths, as if they were gossiping about everyone who passed by their perches.
And then, there were the students. Ages sixteen to twenty-one, first-year students all the way up to sixth-years, all shapes, sizes, and ethnicities, with books and bags in one hand and their cell phones in the other, texting, talking, and walking all at the same time. Each one wearing the most expensive clothes their parents could afford, including Prada, Gucci, and, of course, Jimmy Choos.
But if you looked past the designer duds and flashy electronics, you'd notice other things. Strange things. Like the fact that so many of the students carried weapons. Swords, bows, and staffs mostly, all stuffed into what looked like fancy leather tennis bags. Color-coordinated to match the day's outfit, of course.
The weapons were just accessories at Mythos. Status symbols of who you were, what you could do, and how much money your parents had. Just like the colorful sparks and flashes of magic that crackled in the air like static electricity. Even the lowliest geek here knew how to chop off somebody's head with a sword or could turn your insides to mush just by muttering a spell or two.
It was like going to school in an episode of Xena: Warrior Princess.
That's what all the kids at Mythos Academy were—warriors. Real, live mythological warriors. Or at least the great-great-whatever descendants of them. The girls were Amazons and Valkyries, for the most part, while the boys tended to be Romans or Vikings. But there were other warrior types mixed in as well—Spartans, Persians, Trojans, Celts, Samurais, Ninjas, and everything in between, from every ancient culture, myth, or fairy tale that you'd ever heard of and lots that you hadn't. Each one with their own special abilities and magic, and the egos to match.
As a general rule, though, everyone was rich, beautiful, and dangerous.
Everyone except for me.
Nobody looked at me and nobody spoke to me as I trudged toward my sixth-period myth-history class. I was just that Gypsy girl, and not rich, powerful, popular, pretty, or important enough to register on anyone's social radar. It was late October now, almost two months into the fall term, and I had yet to make a friend. I didn't even have a casual someone I could sit with at lunch in the dining hall. But my friendless state didn't bother me.
Not much had, since my mom's death six months ago.
I slid into my seat in Professor Metis's myth-history class just before the bell chimed again, indicating that everyone should be where they were supposed to be by now.
Carson Callahan turned around in his seat, which was in front of mine. "Did you find it yet?" he whispered.
Carson was a tall guy, six feet even with a bony, lanky frame. He always reminded me of a triangle, because he was all sharp angles, from his ankles to his knees to his elbows. Even his nose was straight and pointed. His hair and skin were a dusky brown, and the square frames of his black glasses made his eyes look like malted milk balls set into his face.
I could see why Daphne liked him, though. Carson was sweet and cute, in that shy, quiet way that geeks so often are. But Carson Callahan wasn't just any kind of geek—he was a hard-core band geek and the drum major of the Mythos Academy Marching Band, even though he was only seventeen and a second-year student like me. Carson was a Celt and supposedly had some sort of magical talent for music, like a warrior bard or something. I didn't know what exactly. For the most part, I tried not to notice such things. I tried not to notice a lot of things at Mythos—especially the fact of how very much I didn't belong here.
I handed Carson the bagged bracelet, careful not to let my fingers touch his so I wouldn't flash on the band geek. Because in addition to feeling Daphne's emotions, I'd also gotten a glimpse of Carson's when I'd fished the rose charm out from behind his desk yesterday. I didn't just see the person who had touched something last—I could flash on everyone who'd ever handled an object. Ever.
Which meant that I knew who Carson really wanted to give the silver bracelet to and that it wasn't Leta Gaston like he claimed.
"As promised," I said. "Now, it's your turn."
He put a hundred-dollar bill, the back end of my finder's fee, onto my desk. I took the money and slid it into my jeans pocket.
As a general rule, I ignored all the other Mythos students, and they ignored me—at least until they needed something found. It was the same gig that I'd done back at my old public high school to earn extra cash. For the right price, I found things that were lost, stolen, or otherwise unavailable. Keys, wallets, cell phones, pets, abandoned bras, and crumpled boxers.
Excerpted from TOUCH OF FROST by Jennifer Estep Copyright © 2011 by Jennifer Estep. Excerpted by permission of K TEEN BOOKS. All rights reserved. No part of this excerpt may be reproduced or reprinted without permission in writing from the publisher.
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Meet the Author
Jennifer Estep is a New York Times and USA TODAY bestselling author prowling the streets of her imagination in search of her next fantasy idea. "Spider's Bite, Web of Lies, Venom, Tangled Threads," "Spider's Revenge, By a Thread, Widow's Web, Deadly Sting, Heart of Venom", "The Spider, Poison Promise, Black Widow, Spider s Trap, Bitter Bite,"and "Unraveled, "along with the e-shorts "Thread of Death, Parlor Tricks, "and "Kiss of Venom", are the other works in her red-hot Elemental Assassin urban fantasy series. Jennifer is also the author of the Black Blade and Mythos Academy young adult urban fantasy series and the Bigtime paranormal romance series. For more on Jennifer and her books, visit her at www.JenniferEstep.com and @Jennifer_Estep.
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This book is the perfect example of everything wrong with this genre of books. The woe-is-me, nobody-likes-me, I-am-such-an-outsider type of heroine (Gwen) who somehow manages to catch the eye of a hot (but not in the least little bit interesting or appealing other than his looks) stud muffin all while battling to save the school full of people who don't even care that she exists. The book would have been 1/3 of the length that it is if all the repetitive ideas and words had been eliminated. I am not sure why readers needed to know the inner dialogue about what happened to her mom over two dozen different times or reminded how filthy rich everyone else was in comparison to Gwen with every other sentence, but it really drove the story into the ground. I am pretty sure that the words "expensive" and "gypsy" make up about 60% of the words in the book. Readers are informed multiple times that Gwen doesn't really buy into the whole magic and myth thing, yet students have sparks flying out of their finger tips and jump out of 3rd story windows and are inhumanly strong....and she doesn't buy into it??? How ignorant of her surroundings can Gwen be and still be an interesting character to read about? Not very. The book was slow, repetitive, predictable, badly planned and badly written, and I can not recommend it.
Reviewed by Valerie: Disclaimer: I am NOT a mythology expert, nor do I claim to be one in any way! Review: Okay, now that that's out of the way, here's the good stuff. This book blew me away! I absolutely and totally loved it. I am NOT an expert in mythology, not even an amateur student so I did NOT compare this book to the actual myths or mythological lore. I simply read the book for its own story, which was amazing. What's wonderful about reviewing for this blog is being introduced to new authors and Jennifer Estep is now on my radar. I love the young adult genre, fantasy especially. This book has all the elements of a good story: lovable characters, characters you just hate with a passion, mystery, sadness, suspense...I could go on and on (hence the gush alert). Gwen amazed me. She has the power to touch an object, psychometry, and know who touched it and what they were feeling, doing, thinking, etc. It's a very powerful ability to have and possess yet she doesn't really feel special compared to her classmates. Before, when her mom was alive, she shared the feelings of being special with her grandmother and mom, who also had abilities, but now she's thrown into the drama at Mythos Academy and things are very different. There are all sorts of students from amazons and valkyries to Spartans and ninjas, besides other types of warriors, but only one gypsy, her. She's different and alone. When a young girl on campus is mysteriously murdered, in the library, Gwen cares. She doesn't know WHY she cares, no one else seems to care. The girl who died was not her friend, in any way, yet she cares. She starts to dig into the girl's life trying to find out who would have wanted her dead. Secrets emerge, lies are exposed, and danger lurks the closer she gets to the truth. As Gwen continues to try to find answers, she grows in many ways. She has to decide when to use her gift and when to avoid touching anyone or anything. It's a hard choice sometimes - the ability to know how someone really, really feels about you and others. She has to decide who she can trust. It seems even her own family is hiding things from her. She grieves over her mom's death and her part in it. She's a complicated character with all the angst that teens face when making really hard decisions. Yes, there is a bad boy who she keeps bumping in to and. yes, she does want to get to know him better but even though he defends her with his life, he has no interest in "gypsy girl." Gwen simply cannot understand him. The Mythos Academy world that Estep has created is truly enjoyable and this was one book that I just could not put down. I read it from beginning to end, staying up late to do so. I look forward to the sequel scheduled for later this year!
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. Reasons to Read: 1.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. 2.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! 3.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. 4.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. Touch of Frost easily incorporates anything and everything one would expect from a paranormal romance YA read; it's fun, exciting, with a healthy dose of mystery and romance. 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. Paperback copy received as gift.
TOUCH OF FROST GAVE ME CHILLS, it was so good. And what's not to like in a world filled with pale pink computer-hacking warrior princesses, moody talking swords, a deliciously crush-worthy bad boy spartan who can turn anything, I mean anything into a deadly weapon, and one unlikely heroine in a school full of heros, a geeky gypsy girl who might just save the world. This book was truly awesome. Mythology meets modernity at Mythos Academy. The nefarious Loki and his Reapers of Chaos are in a constant battle with the Pantheon. So naturally the forces of good and evil are staging their latest battle... in a high school. In an institution filled with warrior whiz kids, ironically the fate of the world rests with an odd girl who thinks all myth and magic is a load of bunk, and who can't fight for squat. But her gypsy gifts are only the start of her powers and she may just find that she's a lot stronger and braver than she thought, more of a warrior then she could have imagined, the perfect champion. Jennifer Estep's first foray into YA was excellent. Anything with a strong mythological base is always a treat, but Estep really made it fresh and different by only focusing on the soldiers of lore and champions of the gods, instead of the usual heros. The storyline was great, definitely not what I was expecting. I feel like where Estep took the story stayed true with the YA genre, it had believable teenage motivations, while managing to weave in some more mature villains. Gwen is a wonderful character she was witty and a bit snarky without being annoying. If her development is anything like Gin Blanco, then I'm sure with each book her powers will grow and evolve until she's become the powerhouse heroine to match any god. I can't wait for the future tomes to see how her skills will build. Daphne was an equally fun character, the prissy pink princess valkyrie who happens to also be a total computer geek. And then there's Logan. I'm not entirely sure he's the playboy everyone makes him out to be, plus he's got some secret that will keep me interested in this series. I thought the beginning felt a little weird, because Gwen is very lonely with her social exile and the grief she's going through. You can really feel the absence of companionship. Then she starts hanging out with Daphne and the solitary strangeness ends and much needed secondary characters emerge. So stick with it the awkwardness rights itself. Plus there's a wonderfully long battle scene toward the end. The only thing I really didn't like was Estep's repeated use of certain descriptives and catch phrases. I don't like reading how Logan has ink-black hair, or how Gwen's eyes are the color of twilight EVERY time it comes up. And it came up a lot. I get that warrior whiz kids, and magic mumbo jumbo has good alliteration but these phrases where too redundant. I think writing flows better when the author finds new ways of saying the same thing. My rating is 4.5 stars because of this repetition. Great Book. Exciting New Series. Highly Addictive Read.
An exceptional book- hard to put down. Enjoyed it
Gwen Frost knows secrets just by touching items belonging to other people. But she doesn't know why she's in Mythos Academy with the too rich, too beautiful, and too snotty. They're rumored to be descendants of mythological warriors, and Gwen is a descendent of gypsies. She doesn't belong here. Still mourning the death of her police detective mother, Gwen is stuck in this place. And for some reason Logan freaking Quinn, the baddest and sexiest Spartan at Mythos, is flirting with her. Then the most popular girl in school is killed. I want to say "and the fun begins," but the fun begins at page one. I love the twists, turns, and surprises of this book. I empathized with Gwen and admired her for her toughness along with the vulnerabilities she won't even admit to herself. Though this is a YA book, adults will enjoy it just as much.
I'm sure this book had a split personality or the characters did at least. The premise of this book of Jennifer Estep's intrigued me enough to want to read it. But, it was hard work. Just when I started liking the main character she threw a curve ball at me that made me hate her. On and on this went right throughout the book. Gwen had to go to Mythos academy after her mother died and her grandmother decided she should go. But, this school was not a normal school. It was made up of mythological types - Spartans, Valkyries and others. Gwen was a gypsy. Gwen was a character you love to hate. There were moments when she was kick-ass - just how you wanted a heroine - and then she was a complete (insert appropriate swear word here). She was so judgmental about some of her classmates and she didn't even know them. Plus, whatever her classmates did were actually none of her business. You don't get to call a person a 'raging slut' when you don't know them from a bar of soap. In fact, you have no right to judge them like that at all. Anyway, enough of that - I think you get my meaning. Logan was a character I actually liked a bit. He was tough, but he also loved to tease Gwen. He was quite a funny character actually. Although I think he could have been a lot better. The book was filled to the brim of stereotypes. You have the rich, mean girls, the girl with no friends (Gwen), the hot boys who slept with every girl they could (Logan) It just so frustrating coming across so many types of it. The plot was somewhat original - the characters, well, not so much. And the ending, although fascinating, had elements of a cliche. But, I won't say what because you need to read the book to guess what I mean. In this case, it was the plot that made me keep reading. I really liked the story line, mostly because it seems to be based on Norse mythology. I like reading about different types of mythology so to come across this book was great. And, it had all the elements I liked. Suspense, action, romance and the mythology aspect. Among the several things that annoyed me about this book was that there seemed to be a lot of info-dumping in the form of dialogue or in the thoughts Gwen had. I know that it was to set the scene of what was happening or what was going to happen, but it just seemed too much. I lost my concentration several times because I got bored with it. There's only so much I want to know about mythology before I feel like I should just read the myth instead of the book. But, even with all that, I'll still go on to read the sequels, not because of the characters, but because of the plot. Book Review by Sandy at Magical Manuscripts
Touch of Frost was an enjoyable paranormal read with a great mystery and a fun new twist on mythology. I've always been a huge fan of mythology so the idea of Mythos Academy; an elite school for the descendents of Amazons, Valkyries and Spartans was a well developed and unique one. I loved learning about the school, its history, and all the different myths that tie into it. I liked the MC Gwen a lot. I think she's easy to relate to if you've ever felt like an outsider or had to be the new kid at school. Gwen is independent, smart and cares deeply for her family. She also has a great sense of humor, always poking fun at people especially herself. My only complaint with Gwen is that I wish she had been more confident in her gypsy gift and herself. She keeps seeing all this crazy stuff happen around her and sometimes to her, but then just lets it go because she can't figure it out. This becomes more frustrating by the fact that Gwen already knows the answer but can't grab onto what it is. The supporting cast of Daphne, Logan, and Professor Metis all help bring out a new side of Gwen and its fun to see her explore all these different relationships. Professor Metis tries to help Gwen be more comfortable with her abilities, while Logan adds a bit of intrigue with his bad boy ways. However, its Daphne who surprised me the most. She's much more then the mean girl she appears to be and had easily won me over by the end of the novel. I think the murder mystery side of the story was well paced and featured a few surprise twists, some which I never saw coming. In fact I only figured out the mystery shortly before its reveal, which is actually a bit late for me. A few themes do get repeated several times throughout the novel, most notably Gwen's feelings about her gypsy gift and how it landed her at Mythos. While it's a bit distracting I don't think it hurts the novel to much. Instead, it just kind of slows down the pacing for a bit. I think a Touch of Frost will definitely appeal to any fan of paranormal, mythology or mystery books. Its a great start to a fun new YA series and I'm looking forward to reading the next book, Kiss of Frost.
I can always tell how much I like a book by how often I put it down. I put Touch of Frost down because I had to leave for work, came home intending to read it, couldn't remember where I put it, and read another book until I found it a few days later. It neatly summarizes what I thought about it. I liked it enough to want to keep reading, but not having it around wasn't really that big of a loss. The main problem I have with this book isn't the school (it's awesome) or the mythology (it's cool) or the kick ass fight scenes (they're, well, kick ass). It's the main character and her love interest. I like Gwen, don't get me wrong. And I like Logan. (Please, this isn't a spoiler; if you can't figure out he's going to be the love interest from the first time he's introduced, you're dull.) It's the entire way it was set up. The thing about this book is that I would have loved it had the love bit haven't been emphasized. And the good thing about this book is that the characters [SPOILER ALERT] don't even date or kiss or anything by the end. They're just plodding along being romantic-ish. [/SPOILER ALERT] But they're so OBVIOUSLY going to end up together at some point. The killer boy and the Gypsy girl!? Oh, and she keeps LITERALLY running into him. And he's all SMOLDER SMOLDER and she's all BLUSH GEEK WHOOPS and I'm all I'VE READ THIS IN EVERY OTHER PARANORMAL ROMANCE OUT THERE PLEASE GIVE ME SOMETHING NEW. I would have much preferred to learn more about Daphne's love story. That I liked. It was interesting and cute. But besides that, I did like Touch of Frost, at least enough to be interested in what might happen in the sequel. Everything seemed a little cliche and cheesy at times, but that didn't stop me from enjoying it. (Maybe it's because I adore the name Gwen and any variation thereof.) I liked the way the mythology was brought in and I LOVED the teachers, absolutely adored them.
Ok I think I like the storyline. It has a good grip on the reader as long as you can get passed all the flash-thought. Okay we get it...she looses her mother, she thinks it's her fault, but why must the reader need to be reminded in every chapter about her (Gwen's) woes? (And sometimes more than once per chapter) I would give this book a higher rating if it wasn't for this. So buyer beware! Good potential story, poor exicution. The story is different enough to be original, so I guess you could buy this book, but don't say I did'nt warn you of the writting style. Good Luck! You'll need it!
I dunno. Series has promising premise and after reading all the reviews from others I had an inkling what I was getting into. Possibly after this first entry series gets a move on and characters develop. Good news I guess is that this is not a total ripoff of the worldbuilding seen in Orson Scott Card's Mither Mages series about Loki and the Norse gods (some older short stories and the fairly recently published The Lost Gate), Clash of the Titans author notes as inspiration, Percy Jackson and the Olympian Thiefs, or Vampire/Other Academy/school series. It do stand alone. Blessedly no love triangles or suddenly in middle of book out-with-the-old-in-with-the-new love interest (yet). I really seriously wanted an app to highlight whole phrases/paragraphs of information that were endlessly repeated, over and over and over so I could skip highlighted bits. Maybe a text version where I could write a script/macro to delete it out automatically and then read the story. Character kept a chip on shoulder all thru this first volume which also did not help. Sudden friendships and deity involvement towards the end did not flow well. Not sure about one reviewer's ranting on about the pumpkins (sympathetic about the endless, heavy handed repeating of things like "...violet eyes are smiling ..." and "freckles on winter white skin" -- but the pumpkin reference was her grandma's nickname for her so that made some sense; one mention only pumpkin roll and fudge dessert and one mention of something that was pumpkin-colored at October dance -- considering all else that was endlessly repeated, I was fine with the pumpkin nickname). I realize that she was recently orphaned and guess that's why the Mom's recent death kept being mentioned; but, it was the same few sentences over and over and over -- not getting into characters head/emotion or even lots of fresh memories grief awakens, just repeat-repeat-repeat. Don't even get me started on the bored-with-=this-class-lecture-about-blah-blah-blah paragraphs; if character was so bored with that she mentally blah-blah-blah'ed -- why do we want to keep hearing about it? I would not exactly call this YA genre despite age of main character; it was set more like an upper graduate college dorm or high end frat house type of setting with lots of student misbehaving and sneaking around (surprisingly uninteresting as little of text given over to other than repetitive mentioning of how spoilt, slutty, drunken, sexually-active the cliques were; written for YA audience so guess author felt could not be explicit). I guess the author definitely writes from a keyboard and has really mastered the art of the cut and the paste. Must have made the editing for typos easiers; book was just fine in terms of typos and other crud getting in the way like some of the recently published books in the genre. May get next book from library and read beginning to see if series continues all the repeating.
The story line was interesting with a slight twist of originality, but I just found the main character anoying. One moment she is eloquent if not a little brash andthe next...well she's not. I cringed every time she said "yucko", what is she five. I just got the feeling the author was trying too hard to make her seem younger. Either way, whatever she was supposed to be was not consistant. Also, it was a bit repedative as far as explanation of her back story and abilites, but like I wrote earlier interesting...just not my favorite and I'm still debating whether its worth buying the next one.
I agree it copies percy jackson i hate this book dont get
The author is not good. The writing is terrible. It pretty much copies Percy Jackson. Seriously don't waste your time on this. A lot of reviews say it is good but it is NOT!!
This book is interesting once you've read 80 pages which is a lot for a short book. The author recaps and repeats herself way too much. Half of this book can be taken out. I dont know why the editor didnt do that. But otherwise the story is cute and fresh. Dont know if I will finish the series because the repetition bugs me too much.
Gwen Frost has had a lot to contend with in her young life, her mom dying tops that list, but what she didn't expect was what happened after that when her Grandma decided she need to attend Mythos Academy, a place where Gwen is an automatic outcast a place that's as mysterious as the students who attend here and the real reason she's here too. Mythos Academy is nothing like any high school we've ever seen, it's sort of a prep school for how to be a Titan, that's right the students are living breathing descendants of Amazons, Vikings, Spartans and Valkries among other myth busting species, and they're here to learn how to be warriors to stop another Chaos war by keeping Loki in his magical prison and his minions at bay. But what does this mean for Gwen, well she's about to find out as she tries to solve a murder at the school and gets pulled deeper into the reality that things are not always as they seem and sometimes all it takes is a "Touch of Frost". Jennifer Estep is no stranger to me as I love her adult urban fantasy Elemental Assassin series. This series takes place in close proximity to that one and she even mentions the prolific Pork Pit from that series in this one, but that's where the similarity ends because she floats from adult to YA with the ease of a surfer catching the perfect wave. Her story line is just as incredible as the adult series filled with all mythological beings from our high school ancient history classes and yet she fills those pages with characters that pop off the page with their realism and their believability. Her narrative is very "high school", well I think it is anyway, since I'm way over that limit, but it seems very hip and very young to these aging ears. Her heroine Gwen Frost is such a likable character, needy and yet brave at the same time. She shows us very different sides of Gwen which makes me all the more impressed with her. She fills the pages with fast paced action, danger and more myth come to life beings on both sides of the good vs evil fence. If you like YA, this one will rate right up there with the best, if you're a fan of urban fantasy, or paranormal adult or YA you'll like this one. If you are just a lover of a great story told by an amazing storyteller, pick this one up.
This was a great read I truly enjoyed. Can only recommend
I can not wait to get this book! It sounds interesting. I really like the cover and I read the sample already and I have a feeling it will be really interesting.
magical mythology ....fight to save the world with friends and family. cute series. young adult reading
I don't usually read YA. That said I found this series to be original and well-paced. The characters were interesting and the cliques and friendships were believable. This is one of my must-buy authors. I have already recommended this series to friends that are younger or who prefer less sexy or less gritty reads.