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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Most Helpful Customer Reviews
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
In Touch of Frost you hear Gwen say a lot, I have more questions than I do answers. This is how I felt about the beginning of the book. Just within the first chapter I was slightly confused and had questions. You meet our main character Gwen, known a lot through the book as ¿Gypsy Girl.¿ You also meet Daphne, mean girl with hot pink sparks coming out of her fingers. Daphne is a valkyrie and I honestly had no idea what that was. This was really my only complaint about the book, but really it was my fault for not being more knowledgeable about Norse Mythology. Not everyone would know the meaning and taking the time to figure it out wasn¿t difficult. Later on in the book it does explain about who the valkyrie are. I just wanted to know immediately who they were, I do well with being (im)patient, right? So what is a Valkyrie? ¿In Norse mythology, a valkyrie is one in a group of female figures who decides which people will fall and die in battle. The valkyries bring their chosen to the afterlife hall of the slain, Valhalla, ruled over by the god Odin.¿ ¿Quoted from WikiThe story started off slow, but I enjoyed that pace because you knew something exciting was about to happen. It kept me turning the pages to figure out what would happen next. This book was filled with more mystery than I had expected. When Jasmine is murdered in the library and Gwen is spared, she instantly starts to hunt for what really happened. That¿s when the fun begins.I like that Mythos Academy was not your typical witches and wizards academy. The mythology part in this book was remarkable. I learned about some tales in mythology I didn¿t even know about. Most books that have references to mythology keep it to the most known tales. This one was stimulating for the mind, getting to learn about Loki, Nike, and the Bowl of Tears. The school is full of Valkyries, Amazons, Vikings, Spartans and many more. Gwen is just a simple gypsy, so it seems to her. She has a gift of touching an item that belongs to someone and seeing and feeling reminisce of who has touched it. Gwen is the outcast at school and seems happy at first to be that way. You can tell she wants more, but being the only gypsy with not the riches and power like the warriors in training doesn¿t go in her favor. I feel like this whole book was about Gwen trying to figure out who she was. All she wanted was answers, not just about Jasmine, but also herself as well. And she slowly started to get them throughout the story. Logan was an interesting love interest I must say. He was the typical ladies man, yet Gwen had feelings for him. I like that he was a rough Spartan and enjoyed the witty banter he has with Gwen. He seemed to always be there for her in times of need. I am not sure why he pushed her away when she admitted her feelings, but hopefully the next book will go more in depth with that.The ending was intense and full of action. Things happened that I did not see coming. When Gwen finds out who she truly is and the meaning of why she was at an academy with a bunch of warriors, it was like a sigh of relief for me. I wanted so badly for Gwen to have such incredible purpose and not just be the ¿gypsy girl¿ anymore. I am so stoked for the next book and to see what happens next in the Mythos Academy series.
This was a fun read--nothing too serious or complicated. If you¿re a fan of mythology, you¿ll really enjoy this series. It¿s so full of mythology, you¿ll overdose. The plot isn¿t overly complicated with this one. There were a few twists that I enjoyed along the way, but most of them I saw coming. It wasn¿t a bad thing though. I really did enjoy just reading the story for the simple pleasure of enjoying a story. No analysis. No deep thought. Just simple enjoyment. This was a good, fun read. (It should be noted that the sexual references were high in this one, so don¿t read if you like ¿clean¿ books.) Gwen Frost is a Gypsy¿ whatever that means. She¿s not entirely sure, since she¿s the only one at Mythos Academy (or so she thinks). All she does know is that everyone else thinks she¿s a freak and she has the hots for the reputed campus man-whore Logan Quinn, Spartan extraordinaire. I have to admit, Logan seemed pretty darn dreamy, even if he had this whole conflicted warrior thing going on. I would drool too. Reading about Logan kept my interest long after I figured out the majority of the plot. He was definitely mysterious, and I¿like Gwen-- wanted to know why. Their love-hate relationship kept me turning the pages as fast as I could, until his betrayal at the end. Oh, how my heart broke right along with Gwen¿s! Scandalous. (I also quickly picked up book 2 to find out what would happen next. So glad I did!) If you can¿t tell, the romance factor is what I enjoyed the most in the book. The complicated weaving of the various mythologies was very original and interesting as well. I thought the author did a nice job blending Greek, Roman, and Norse mythologies together in a cohesive, slightly complicated way. Along with the on and off romance between Gwen and Logan, other characters develop relationships too. My favorite is between Daphne (super hot Valkyrie) and Cameron (Celtic band geek). They are adorable. There are a lot of transformations and lessons learned throughout the book, especially by Gwen. She has to figure out her place in the mythological world. See, Gypsies aren¿t freaks. They are rare warriors gifted directly by gods/goddesses and she is no exception. Her biggest challenge is figuring out how to use her special magic, her touch magic that she views as both a blessing and a curse. (and for very good reasons!) As I¿ve said, this was a fun read. Good beach reading. There is lots of romance, a good bit of action, and a kick-butt main character who is sarcastic and funny. I love Gwen¿s uncanny ability to get herself into impossible situations. This is, however, meant for older YA readers. Since the book takes place at a boarding school of sorts, you can guess at the ¿extra-curricular activities¿ that occur with a lack of adult supervision. I wouldn¿t want my 12 year old reading about that stuff. Just sayin¿.
TOUCH OF FROST, by Jennifer Estep, is the first book in the Mythos Academy series. Gwen Frost is a Gypsie in a school full of mythological warriors. She is an outcast and one day stumbles upon a dead body of one of the Mythos students. She launches her own investigation with dangerous consequences. Along the way she makes two friends and learns more about her heritage then she ever bargained for.I really loved this book! Estep created a school full of mythological warriors who were training to protect humans from Chaos. Gwen's mother died previous to this book and she was recruited to attend Mythos. She has no idea why and keeps to herself since she did not grow up believing in the mythology as the rest of the students did. I loved Gwen's 'voice'. She was awkward, snarky, and totally into bad-boy Spartan Logan just as much as I was! I loved following her on the journey to figuring out who killed one of the popular girls. I enjoyed getting to explore Gwen's gift too. Her ability to touch an object and feel emotions from all those who have touched it before was pretty awesome. Although it did limit the amount of touching of other humans, especially Logan. Even though this book was pretty long at 350 pages, it definitely flew by and only touched the tip of the iceberg in the story as a whole. I am very anxious to read the next book! With a cast of characters that are well-developed and interesting and a plot that will keep your eyes glued to the pages, this book is not one to miss!
I love mythology so when I saw that Jennifer Estep, successful and established adult urban fantasy author, was writing a YA book about kids at a boarding school who are descended from gods, I knew I had to read it. I am so happy to say that Touch of Frost did not disappoint!The story is told in the first person so we really get to know our main character, Gwen Frost. I love her! She is witty and snarky and always trying to be brave and help others. We go along with Gwen as she uses her ability (she can touch an object to see where it has been) to solve the murder of the school¿s biggest mean girl. The story is very entertaining and the secondary characters, Logan, Daphne and Gwen¿s grandmother, are really well written as well. I wanted to get more of Logan in the book and I can¿t wait to find out more about him in the sequels.Another thing thing I really liked about Touch of Frost is that the author includes lesser known Greek mythology (Spartans and Amazons) and other varied mythologies like Norse and Celtic. There are also mentions of Persians, Samurais and Ninjas! I cannot wait to see where Estep takes this series. The plot for Touch of Frost is tightly written and the book is well paced. While Touch of Frost may not be appropriate for younger teens, older/more mature teens and adults, especially those who enjoy urban fantasy, will love this book. I am happy that I won't have to wait very long to find out what happens next. The sequel, Kiss of Frost, comes out on Nov. 29.Content: Sex, profanity, violence, underage drinking and drug use.
After read and enjoying Jennifer Estep's adult paranormal romance novels, I was curious how she would transition to the young adult market. I always enjoyed Estep's unique brand of action-packed, fun fantasy complete with witty comments and don't-take-themselves-too-seriously characters. However, I was a little concerned about this same fun spunkiness showing up in a YA novel, as I wasn't sure if the genre would allow Estep the same freedom. While I didn't enjoy Touch of Frost as much as her adult novels, Estep's first YA outing is still an enjoyable, fun and easy story that's a worthwhile read.Gwen Frost isn't like the other students at Mythos Academy. All the students are mythos are training to be warriors -of mythological proportions. Most tend to be the descendants of Valkyries, Amazons, Vikings, Romans, Spartan or any other slew of ancient warrior, but Gwen isn't. Dubbed "the Gypsy girl" by the other students, Gwen has the ability to sense an object's history just by touching. When she finds herself caught in an unexpected murder at Mythos, Gwen gets pulled into the tangled world of the popular warriors at Mythos, even if it means dealing with the uppity popular girls.I was pleasantly surprised by Touch of Frost. It's a solidly written, comfortable read that's quick and easy to read. The plot is fairly simple, but straightforward and easy to understand, while the characters are fairly interesting, though at times somewhat stereotypical. I also had a little trouble with Gwen. Sure, I was a lot like her in high school, and had trouble fitting in, but for the first part of the novel she just spend too long angsting about it. She got better, thankfully, but it was tough to read several pages in a row without any dialog for a little while -but it looks like this issue has been resolved for the future.One of the best elements of this book was the setting. While I do think that it had some shades of Harry Potter and Percy Jackson, Estep weaves together established myth with her own brand of fiction seamlessly, and the idea of this "warrior" academy for mythological warriors is pretty fun, especially since Gwen doesn't quite fit the school's norm. Also, while I did see shades of Estep's wit, I felt like it wasn't as prevalent here as in her adult novels, but perhaps it wouldn't have worked as well with the overall tone.Better than I anticipated, Touch of Frost is a quick, fun read that's great for fans of YA paranormal novels and other teen books.
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.
Gwen knows she's a gypsy, she knows has the gift of knowing about something when she touches it. She doesn't know why her grandmother agreed to send her to Mythos Academy, a place filled with warrior whiz kids as Gwen herself says. Mythos is filled with a variety of warriors, from Romans and Spartans, to Amazons and Valkyries. They are all descended from more of the same, and cart around their weapons as easily as a laptop. Gwen's definitely lonely, and that doesn't seem like that's going to change until a body is found in the library and Gwen figures someone needs to check into it. I liked some of the touches Estep used in the first of this new series. From the colored sparks of light coming from some of the girls fingernails, to the perfect classification as band geek Carson as a Celt(they have a supposed gift of music), you could tell she enjoyed making this new world.