Series: Mythos Academy #1
Author: Jennifer Estep
Touch of Frost is the story of seventeen-year-old Gwen Frost. Gwen has always known about her Gypsy gift, the one that allows her to touch an object and see its history as well as the vibes of emotions and memories left behind by others who have touched it. Gypsy gifts run in her family, but it isn't until she is sent to Mythos Academy that she realizes her family is not the only one with magic.
Mythos Academy is a school for the descendants of ancient warriors, such as the Celts, Spartans, Viking, Valkyries, and Amazons. Each group comes with their own special ability, and though Gwen is finally around others who understand what it means to have magic, she is the only Gypsy and doesn't seem to possess the raw magic and fighting abilities that her classmates have.
When a student on campus dies, most are convinced that the murderer was a Reaper of Chaos, one of the followers of Loki, but Gwen is skeptical. Though she believes in the magic, she doesn't believe that the gods and goddesses of mythology actually exist, just like she believes there is more to the student's death than there appears. So Gwen decides to investigate, unaware that as she starts to put the pieces together she will drag herself further into the world of Mythos Academy and the war that is about to start.
I have to say, I really loved this book. Gwen is a very spunky character with a sense of humor that made her very easy to read about. I was more than willing to follow her on her quest as she struggles to deal with her mom's death, her arrival at a new school where she is the clear outcast, the reality behind her Gypsy gift, and her devotion to discovering the truth.
I am also a huge fan of mythology, so I enjoyed how Touch of Frost incorporated many different world mythologies outside of Western Mythology, such as Native American and Japanese myth, and was able to mash them together in a very interesting way. It also doesn't limit the audience to readers who already have a strong understanding of these mythologies since the story is more interested in how they come together.
I know there has been a wave of book series revolving around a person with magical abilities ending up at a school for magic where they discover themselves, and I won't argue that this book fits into this sub-genre of paranormal fantasy. However, I don't think that is a reason to disregard this book/series, since the material is unique enough and branches away from the use of a school for wizards or vampires/vampire-like people.
I only had a few minor dislikes with this book. The first is the use of pop-culture references and slang. Though I understand its usefulness in trying to connect with a modern, young-adult audience, I think it can also lessen the longevity of the book's relevance. Though references to Wonder Woman and Nancy Drew can appeal to many older readers as well as many future readers, references to Gossip Girl and Veronica Mars will only be understood by a more limited audience. The second minor thing that I disliked was when it references a restaurant called The Pork Pit. The restaurant is from Estep's adult Elemental Assassin series, and though I find it interesting when an author has multiple series set within the same universe, the two series are set in VERY different universes, and so I found the restaurant's presence in Touch of Frost to be disarming.
Despite my few minor qualms with the book's references, I really enjoyed the world that Jennifer Estep creates in this novel. I know that this is a book that I will read multiple times and that it is a series I will anxiously follow until the end.
Why I Picked Up This Book
I heard about this book (I am ashamed to say) through an ad on Facebook. Normally I disregard the ads that the site tries to cater to my interests, but for some reason the ad caught my eye. I decided to find a copy of the book and see if, for once, Facebook had actually found something that would interest me.