Release Date: July 26, 2011
Publisher: Kensington Publishing Corporation
Received: ARC from author
Rating: 4 out of 5 stars
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. . .
It's a Hufflepuff's time to shine
No, no, there aren't any real Hufflepuffs here, but Gwen Frost is the Mythos Academy equivalent to a Hufflepuff. She's not particularly powerful, she isn't rich, she isn't gorgeous, she isn't popular, her interests typically fall into the dorky category (like mine!), and she isn't the Girl Who Lived or any such thing. She's just Gwen.
But "Just Gwen" is pretty cool. Gwen and her first-person narration totally made the book for me. She's snarky, but not overly so. She doesn't have any friends, but she's not all pole-up-her-butt about it. She's actually kind of sad, like a puppy. Her dorky interests made her endearing and totally relatable. This made me instantly like her and even feel a little protective.
All that alone would land her an invitation to my sleepover party, but her determination to do the right thing and solve a girl's murder--even when no one else seems to care, even when the girl was really mean, and even when things become increasingly dangerous--makes her totally worthy of BFF Charm status.
The massive amounts of drool-inducing baked goods Gwen always seems to have handy cinch the deal. My gosh, seriously, purge your house of all baking supplies before you read this book or you'll totally gain 50lbs with all the book-inspired eating you'll do.
This is a boarding school book, and all of the familiar features of boarding school books are present here. There's the mean girl, the hot guy, the dorms, the library, the teachers who know more than they let on. But there's a twist to everything. Ok, the dorms are pretty standard (Gwen's tower room sounds awesome), but there's just enough of a twist to all of the major components to make Touch of Frost seem both comfortingly familiar and intriguingly different.
The mean girl is different from the typical mean girl. The very first scene opens with a confrontation between mean girl Daphne and Gwen and I had my eye-roll all ready to go, but Daphne turned out to be completely different than I had originally assumed. She has depth and I actually like her as much as I like Gwen. She reminded me of Alona Dare from Stacey Kade's Ghost and the Goth series--prickly popular girl, but with a sweet soft side.
The hot guy isn't the typical insta-love magnet at all. Their relationship is refreshingly real and doesn't really move beyond the very beginning stages of crush-but-maybe-more in this installment (and Gwen is so cute as she deals with her mixed feelings for him). I'm not totally on board with him yet because, well, he's pretty much a player. But there are hints at some Hidden Depths and that maybe all those rumors about his, ahem, conquests, aren't telling the whole truth? I can't wait to find out and see how their relationship develops in the sequel.
Murder! Epic battle!Ok, that's kinda misleading. Sorry. There are no epic battles. But there is the set up to epic battles. Basically the pawns are moving out of formation and testing the waters. I know Something Big is going to happen down the line, but at this point the pieces are just starting to come into play.
The focus is instead on Gwen solving the murder of mean girl Jasmine. The pacing of the mystery was pretty good. I wasn't ever really OMG WHAT'S GOING TO HAPPEN??!?! but I had fun following Gwen as she put together clues and pretty much stumbled on the answer (which was as much a surprise to me as it was to Gwen).
So why not 5 stars?There were a few things I didn't love. The students at the school are way racy. They're frequently boozing it up and having lots of sex. It was all very naughty, which makes it a difficult book to recommend to younger YAs, even though I think they would love Gwen and the rest of the story. The "adult-ness" of this clashed with the fluffy lightness of everything else (think Hex Hall by Rachel Hawkins).
My only other complaint is that a lot of things felt underdeveloped. I love the idea of a school full of Amazons, Valkyries, Spartans, Ninjas, etc, but not much detail is really given about them. I want to geek out over descriptions, histories, famous people, etc of the different categories. Give me juicy bits like Godric Gryffindor and his sword and involvement in the creation of Hogwarts and the traits prized in his house, and so on. That richness and detail sadly wasn't there, but it so easily could be given the premise. Maybe in the next book?
Oh, and some things felt a little repetitive. Like the flash Gwen had that set everything into motion. It was mentioned A LOT more than I thought it needed to be.
Bottom lineLove! I'm totally reading the rest of the series and I can't wait until Kiss of Frost comes out in November (November? OF 2011?!?! Did I read that right? YES!!!).
While there is the murder mystery and that part is solved in Touch of Frost, this really is very much a "setting up for the rest of the series" type of book. There's a LOT of stuff that isn't resolved and you might want to wait until the rest of the books are published before starting the series. Or at least just prepare yourself for this if you can't wait (and I don't blame you for not wanting to wait!)
And because I didn't know where else to stick it: Grandma Frost and Vic (the SWORD) are totally awesome! I cannot wait to see more of them!
Explanation of rating system: Star Rating Key
Do you have any questions about Touch of Frost that I haven't addressed?
Feel free to ask in the comments!
Feel free to ask in the comments!
Looking for another book like this?
You might like:
Click on the covers to go to my reviews.Tweet