Friday, July 22, 2011

Review: Touch of Frost by Jennifer Estep

Book: Touch of Frost by Jennifer Estep
Series: Mythos Academy #1
Pages: 373
Genre: Urban Fantasy / Young Adult 
Buy A Copy: Amazon / Book Depository
Available Formats: Paperback / Ebook
Publication Date: July 26th, 2011
First Sentence:  "I know your secret."
How Did I Get This Book:  From Publisher, For Review
Description: 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 the story of Gwen Frost, a teenage gypsy from the wrong side of the tracks. She is certainly an intriguing protagonist, who is undeniably full of sass and whit. It is great to see a young adult paranormal heroine who is shows a sort of unconventional strength. Usually, in these sort of books, the main character is all about kicking ass and taking names. Estep provides her heroine, Gwen, with a different sort of strength; strength of character. Gwen has been through a lot in her life, yet she continues trucking on through life. What I really appreciated about Gwen was that she wasn’t just strong – at times Estep also let her venerable side show. For me, this made the spunky heroine much more realistic and easy to relate to. I mean honestly, all teenage girls are insecure, some are just better at hiding it. 

Speaking of Gwen, I want to talk a bit of about the inspiration for her character. Estep listed Veronica Mars as an influence for Touch of Frost and it is clearly evident within the character of Gwen. Gwen is teenage sleuth of sorts who makes ends meet by solving mysteries for her wealthy classmates (sounds familiar, no?). She has a tough exterior and is quick with a snarky comment, but occasionally she lets her vulnerability show.  Both characters also have a difficult time fitting in with their rich peers and are treated differently by them. Oh and Gwen works in the library to help pay the school tuition, just like Veronica does at Hurst college. Her romantic interest, Logan, also had a lot in common with Veronica’s main love interest… Logan. No, Logan Echols is not a descendent of an Ancient warrior lie, but both characters are perceived as “bad boys” and both are incredibly protective of the lady folk. Then, let’s talk about Daphne. Daphne eventually becomes Gwen’s one and only gal pal and go-to computer technician/hacker. Basically, the Valkyrie is the mythical version of Mac (Cindy Mackenzie on Veronica Mars).

Now, honestly I do not know how I feel about all of these similarities. When reading it, it sort of put me off, because I felt like I already knew the characters. I happen to be a huge Veronica Mars fan and I could not help but see all of the connections. However, after finishing the book, I am not sure. Most of the reasons why I enjoyed the book were also connections I made to the show. I love the characters, especially Veronica, and it was almost like getting to read a book about her. Now, how will others relate to it? I really can’t say. I would think that if you are not fans of the show, you will love Touch of Frost, without a doubt. But, if you are fans of Ms. Mars, then I would say it really depends on the reader.

As always, Estep does an excellent job weaving the storyline together. Touch of Frost is absolutely full of mystery, action and suspense.  I also want to touch on one of my favorite aspects of the book – the setting. I have to say, I loved the idea of an academy for raising ancient warriors. The campus is practically crawling with fun and interesting characters and I never really knew what to expect. I have a bit of knowledge in Greek and Roman history, so I was quickly able to get a handle on things; but honestly, Estep does a terrific job explaining things. A lot of times in fantasy books, I get a bit overwhelmed by things, but the author did a good job of taking the time to properly explain things. There was the perfect combination of explanation and action, so the reader is clear about what’s going on, but the pace doesn’t suffer. I will say that some of the repetitive nature of the writing got under my skin. For those of you who have read Estep’s Elemental Assassin series, you are familiar with Gin’s “grey eyes”. Once again, the heroine’s eyes become a character of their own. It seems like Gwen’s crazy violet eyes were being mentioned every two seconds.

All things considered, with Touch of Frost, Estep delivers an exciting and mysterious story that instantly captivated me. Although the characters were familiar to me, I still found them to be entertaining. The fantastic, mythical setting is pure magic and is sure to dazzle readers everywhere.  I have been a Jennifer Estep fan for a while now and she certainly doesn’t disappoint with Touch of Frost!

Favorite Quotes:
"Sometimes, I felt like Nancy Drew or maybe Gretel, following a trail of psychic bread crumbs until I found what I was looking for."
"Even the richest snobbiest kid knew better than to piss off a Spartan."
"Logan Quinn was the kind of guy who could stab me in the eye with a freaking twizzler."
"I clutched my bag to my chest, as if that would somehow protect me from the Spartan and the fact that he could kill me with his pinkie finger."
"I couldn't stop my mouth from falling open. Had the infamous Logan Quinn just asked me to go back to his room with him? I rewound the last few seconds in my mind. Yes, yes he had - a whole two minutes after he'd just jumped out of some other girls window."
"Graceful I was not."
"Toothpick?" Vic muttered in an indignant voice. "Did she just call me a bleeding toothpick? Kill her! Kill her now!" 


Alexis @ Reflections of a Bookaholic said...

I never watched Veronica Mars, but I hope it isn't too close. I can understand an inspiration but...
Fab review.

KTJ said...

Great Review!

I'm dying to read this and have the Kindle book on pre-order so as soon as Its out I can devour it!

I didn't know about the Veronica Mars reference, so I hopefully wont pick up on the hints through the book as its been a while since I watched the series, and even then I think I only watched season one.

-Kate ( )

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