Kiss of Frost by Jennifer Estep
High school. Boys. Constant threats of imminent death. Life has definitely gotten a little surreal for Gwendolyn Frost. While normal kids her age are focused on SATs and the opposite sex, Gwen’s busy with weapons training, and the frustrations of the unusual courting rituals of Spartans.
When Gwen’s not suffering the daily humiliation of nearly avoiding an untimely death by an errant spear, mace, or getting skewered by some comparably sharp pointy projectiles, she’s brooding over Logan Quinn. Yeah, life kind of blows when you’re firmly situated at the bottom of the social totem pole with a massive crush on the top spartan who’s basically the equivalent of a rock star, captain of the football team, and demigod all rolled into one. But there are plenty if warriors on the battle field and with an upcoming school trip on the horizon Gwen’s looking to find someone to take her mind off the infuriating Spartan.
Unfortunately Gwen’s got more happening than homework and boy trouble. Her magic is doing some new and interesting things that could come in handy if she can master them in time. Plus you would think that having a harbingering Grandmother would curve your misfortunes yet Gwen’s luck isn’t any better, since someone is doing an almost spot on job of trying to kill her. Again.
With the attempts on her life mounting her odds of survival are dropping. Frost is going to have to use all her cunning and magical skills to find the reaper before they find her.
I must admit that when Touch of Frost came out, I thought her powers were wimpy. Her character’s magic didn’t really befit the moniker of heroine, and well Gwen seemed kind of weak for the headliner. She conjured up images of victim or damsel in distress. I didn’t know how her magic really fit into the whole warrior motif. Until Kiss of Frost. I love where Frost’s powers are going. Estep’s YA series mirrors her adult series with her comic book hero branding, and in how the heroine evolves and builds relationships, each book layering the complexities of Gwen’s magic and earning the respect of her peers. The repetitious catch phrases are lessened. And we learn a few interesting threads including one about Logan, but I don’t believe it’s his deep dark secret.
While I love the book, there were a lot of transparencies in the storylines. It wasn’t hard to figure out what was going to happen, but I did like that the story didn’t end at the resolution of the main plot point or story arc. That’s where the surprises came and the overall series plot started to form. Estep used a lot of misdirection and it worked in some ways but I think the individual storyline was too simple to fool her older audience. And I know this is a YA book. But I think Estep could have pushed things further. She can pull off more complex threads. It shows in the series set up. Maybe for a different book and characters it would be ok and I’m sure the line between adult and YA are hard to define but her characters are dealing with harsh realities, death, and behaving badly this book is can push the story lines and be more daring. The world and realities Estep created can handle it. This world and it’s characters deal with mature themes and could just as easily continue in the adult realm later on. Mythos has an abundance of great ideas and possibilities that need equally great plots to set them off. Nevertheless Kiss of Frost’s storyline maybe simple yet was elegantly executed while the series arc so far looks to be much more complex and compelling.
Regardless of how intricate you like you storylines, the Mythos Academy books are just a fun series. There’s action, wonderful world building filled with great characters, and the kind of romance all girls go gooey over. It’s just a great book to get lost in. Kiss of Frost is a killer read.
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