Review: Touch of Frost by Jennifer Estep

Filed in Jennifer Estep , Review , The Smutty Lover Posted on July 21, 2011 @ 11:00 am 3 comments

Format Read: eARC provided by the author
Number of pages: 350 pages
Release Date: 26 July 2011
Formats available: Paperback, eBook
Publisher: Kensington
Purchasing Info: Goodreads, Amazon, Book Depository (US), Book Depository (UK), Author’s website

Book Blurb:

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. . .

My Thoughts:

“It was like going to school in an episode of Xena: Warrior Princes.”

This is what Gwen Frost finds herself experiencing when she starts a new boarding school, Mythos Academy after the death of her mother in an accident. In a school filled with Spartans, Valkyries and Amazons, Gwen questions why her grandmother has placed her in there when she’s the outsider and the misfit, which is most especially the case that her only ability is her gift for psychometry which she considers is useless compared to her schoolmates more powerful abilities. However, Gwen faces danger and intrigue when she investigates about a murder that happens in the school ground, she finds herself drawn into a mystery that may overwhelm her.

Touch of Frost is the debut YA book by UF author Jennifer Estep and for me it felt like I was reading a Xena meets Veronica Mars meets the Vampire Academy books, and I loved it! The opening scenes with Gwen sussing and hunting on a case of a stolen bracelet. I loved that introduction and how cool and determined Gwen was and how she utilised her gift and I knew from that point that this was going to be a cool character, because she was an engaging narrator from the get go.
This is a dark and gritty book, and it doesn’t shy away from difficult subjects and Gwen is well accustomed to the ugly dark side of things about life and the human monsters it can bring due to her gift of discovering the emotional links and past of objects she touches. So it was an interesting contrast for her to join a school which trains students to defend against supernatural monsters although she doesn’t seem to really focus on that aspect until much later on in the book. But I did think this gave her a great perspective because she was brought up in a world full of mundanes and usually its the other way round in YA, in particular where being normal doesn’t have any value when a character is thrust in a supernatural/magical setting. I really felt that this grounded her, and gave her a great perspective about the people around her and the case she embarked on.
Gwen’s gift was one of the strongest highlights in the book how she uses it really conveys well to the reader due to the rich description and how she uses it when she investigates the case of the dead student. I also loved how refreshing that she didn’t see or view her gift as a curse and was even took advantage of it at times, even though it has given an insight to the darker side of human nature. It really emphasized her investigative abilities and I liked how that was incorporated into the story and mystery.
There is also a terrific potential with the romance end of things in the book, Logan who is a Spartan warrior (and he is DEFINITELY very alpha-like and I love Spartan heroes *sigh*) and those elements aren’t diminished ior downplayed in any way. Can I say how wonderful this was, to read about a potential love interest who wasn’t emo or angsty and he had real flaws. I loved the romantic dynamic and tension that grew between Gwen and Logan, and I am looking forward to what will happen next.
Another relationship that I enjoyed was the enemies turned to frenemies to tentative friends, with the Valkirie, Daphne. How their friendship evolved, was fun and snarky, and I loved how Jennifer Estep, developed their characters by turning their initial impressions of each other as being totally wrong and it really added more depth to their relationship.
There were niggles though, there was the mean-girl groups which is understandable in a school full of entitled rich kids, but I had issue with Morgan, who was one of the main antagonist of Gwen, had an integral role in the mystery of the book. I really felt she was two dimensional and shallow and I felt that was a bit of a let down. I hope In future books she does develop more because she really appeared to have no depth even as an antagonistic character.
Although this book did not have a unique premise and there was a twist at the end concerning the mystery, that I soon guessed midway who whodunnit. But it was definitely refreshing, due to the great and memorable characters, the potential love interest (so hoping there wont be a love triangle introduced) and her new friendships and even one with a mysterious sword called Vic which was full of snarky humour too.
Touch of Frost, definitely an engaging and engrossing read, it was fast paced, with an interesting take on different types of mythologies and imaginative. I was sorry the book ended, because I wanted more and will definitely be getting the next book. Gwen Frost is not an angsty heroine who relies to be saved by the mysterious love interest and relies her on her wits and gift. This was a great start to a series, and I’d like to thank Jennifer Estep for creating a wonderful world and reigniting my interest in YA books with this premise to show that it can be refreshing and enjoyable!
I give Touch of Frost 4 out of 5 Bookies!

***FTC Disclaimer: Most books reviewed on this site have been provided free of charge by the publisher, author or publicist. Some books we have purchased with our own money and will be noted as such. Any links to places to purchase books are provided as a convenience, and do not serve as an endorsement by this blog. All reviews are the true and honest opinion of the blogger reviewing the book. The method of acquiring the book does not have a bearing on the content of the review.

About Stella

Stella is a proud bookaholic and a self-taught multilinguist in training. Besides reading, her other great passions are travelling and baking. When she is not globetrotting she lives in sunny Budapest, where she loves to spend her free time preparing (and feasting on) delicious cookies or devouring equally yummy books. Her favourite genres are urban fantasy and romance and she couldn't live without her daily dose of sunshine. Besides being the Latin Lover on BLI Stella also blogs about books and a bookish life on Ex Libris.

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Join the Discussion
  • Estella July 21, 2011 at 2:11 pm

    Am looking forward to reading this!

  • Ju Dimello July 21, 2011 at 9:16 pm

    When I saw the title, I kind of assumed the heroine could be someone having control of the weather (like Halle Berry in X-men) 😉 but whoa.. she seems more complex and with interesting powers…

    I'll have an eye out for this book 🙂

  • Has July 22, 2011 at 9:58 am

    I really really enjoyed the book and I can't wait for the sequel. It was def refreshing take on the YA boarding paranormal story.

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