12 March 2012

Touch of Frost by Jennifer Estep

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 …
*****Review contains mild spoilers***** I don’t think it’s any surprise that I loved this book. I’m pretty much a sucker for any good Greek or Roman mythology fantasy. This one was a good one, though. It had a nice blend of gods from many heritages in a plot that was realistic but not too enveloping. Gwen is wonderful. She is a poor girl who understands the world around her but she can’t help but rebel in many small ways. She’s a great strong girl who acts of her own agency and fulfils her destiny in her own way. I also like how Estep divides magical powers along culture myths, not along gender lines. They may have different names, but Valkyries and Vikings are both supernaturally strong.Romans and Amazons are supernaturally quick. There’s no insinuation that the Valkyries are less strong than the Vikings. I also really like how Daphne is a Valkyrie and a tech nerd and also totally into pink and traditional “girly” things. The dichotomy of stereotypes makes her seem a lot more human, and the growth of her friendship with Gwen is really natural and sweet and not forced at all. The plot is good but needs a bit of polish. I could see the ending coming from the first cat attack. I also hated how repetitious Estep was. I don’t know how many times she told us about Gwen’s dead mother, but by the middle of the book I was very callous about it and I just couldn’t find the emotional impact that I know Estep meant. I also was a bit confused about some of the worldbuilding. The biggest was in the casting of Loki as the big villain. He’s said to be the villain because he’s the god of Chaos and wants to destroy order on the Earth. There’s not a lot of mention of the other Chaos gods, though. Where’s Set, Eris, Mikaboshi, or Chaos herself? Why is Loki the only chaos god that is vilified? I hope that in future books Estep clears these things up. The high points of the book, however, overpower the low points and I’m happy to give her time to grow into the worldbuilding the series needs.

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