I was excited when I heard Jennifer Estep was releasing a young adult, urban fantasy series. I’m willing to bet that 97.99 percent of reviews written on this book start out with that line or something very similar. That ‘s right, originality is me. But let’s face it, Jennifer Estep has a pretty solid fan base and when a favorite author ventures into a new series or genre, we fans get excited.
Gwen Frost is a little misplaced and outclassed at Mythos Academy. But she’s actually more average than she realizes. She’s 17, a little awkward, doesn’t fit in, suffers from a touch of teenage insecurity and is pretty sure she is the only one that feels that way. On the other hand, Gwen does face a few obstacles the average teenager doesn’t have to deal with. As a new student at a boarding school for descendants of ancient warriors, Gwen feels out-of-place on whole new level. She comes from a line of gypsies that are gifted with various powers. Her gift allows her to know the history of an object just by touching it. She’s gifted, but her magic is different from her classmates and she doesn’t come from warrior stock. Fitting in won’t be easy, especially since it’s pretty low on her priority list.
Although she can’t compete in the kick-ass arena, Gwen finds good use for her gift here and there and even makes a little extra cash with it by locating lost objects for her classmates. But when students start turning up dead and ancient artifacts go missing, Gwen puts her gift to very good use in finding out what’s amiss at Mythos Academy.
Jennifer Estep writes the kind of young adult urban fantasy that I want to read. In Touch of Frost she gives us a teenage heroine who is smart and likable, but not perfect. Gwen is easy to relate to and from her point of view the world may not make sense but she doesn’t make it worse with silly decisions and selfish behavior. She’s not totally thrilled with the responsibilities and the burden her gift puts on her, but she doesn’t brood and hate the world because of it. She still sees her gift as a gift. Gwen is a heroine with a heart and I liked her from the beginning.
We get a good feel for the world in which Gwen lives and the new environment she finds herself living in. Although this not a new setting in the genre, I thought that the myth and magic was fun and fresh. The idea of a special academy for descendants of Spartans, Valkyries, Amazons and other mythological creatures adds a fun, interesting twist I look forward to seeing how Jennifer Estep will expand on this world of magic as the series progresses.
I keep using the word fun in describing the world but don’t get me wrong, there is violence, and we do see the darker side of the academy with dark magic, fight scenes and yes, even mean girls! *gasp* *shudder*
But don’t worry, there are cute boys and a good deal of romantic tension to distract you when the bitchy means girls start getting out of hand. Gwen has a budding romance with the BSOC (Big Spartan On Campus) and I’m looking forward to seeing where things go for them. I really like the pairing of the slightly nerdy kid with a popular, put-together kid and we get a twofer in this book. The secondary romance is just as compelling the main and that makes this romance lover squee.
The mystery, while entertaining, was predictable. I wasn’t on the edge of my seat wondering who done it, but I still enjoyed the final action scene and the big reveal anyway.
A Touch of Frost is a good solid start to this series. I think even if YA is not your usual read, but you like Jennifer Estep’s other series’ you will enjoy A Touch of Frost as the author’s voice comes through clearly for an entertaining and engaging read.
Stop by later today, for my interview with Jennifer Estep. She will be giving away a copy of Touch of Frost to one lucky winner.