Wednesday, May 2, 2012

Kiss of Frost (Mythos Academy) by Jennifer Estep

Title: Kiss of Frost (Mythos Academy)
Classification: Young Adult (Ages 13 and up)
Genre: Fantasy/Paranormal
Format: Paperback, 368 pages
Publisher: K-Teen (November 29, 2011)
ISBN-10: 0758266944
ISBN-13: 978-0758266941
Author's Website:

If you haven't read the first book, stop now or you'll be reading spoilers. To read my review of 'Touch of Frost', the first book in the Mythos Academy series, Click Here.

Several months ago Gwen Frost started school at Mythos Academy. Since attending the school which hosts Valkyries, Vikings, Celts, Romans and  pretty every "ancient culture, myth, or fairy tale that you'd ever heard of and lots you hadn't,"*  she's found out she was Nike's Champion and that she comes from a long line of them. Her mother, grandmother, etc have all been Nike's Champion in their day. She was now going through some vigorous training trying to fill the shoes of a Champion and failing horribly. Fighting just didn't come naturally to her.

Three weeks ago Jasmine Ashton, the most popular girl in school, had faked her own death in an attempt to exact revenge on her former best friend who was sleeping with her boyfriend. Later, Jasmine's deceit had been uncovered and she'd been killed for real when she'd attempted to carry out her plans. The discovery that Jasmine and her family were all Reapers had been a shock. Since the knowledge had been revealed, the whole family had gone into hiding. Now it appears someone wants Gwen dead. Could it be Jasmine's family looking to avenge her death or another Reaper looking to kill Nike's champion? Gwen's new best friend, Daphne, thinks she should go with the rest of the school to the Winter Carnival, an event hosted by Mythos and a similar academy from New York. It's a weekend affair and is held at a ski resort that the academies essentially take over. Daphne feels there's safety in numbers and if Gwen stays at the Mythos she'll basically be a sitting duck with a target on her back. Now the question is will that be enough to dissuade her would be assassin and keep her safe?
In 'Touch of Frost' we got a look at what events secretly go on beneath the radar of the human realm. In 'Kiss of Frost' we get a deeper look into just how dangerous the life of a warrior can truly be. Many at Mythos have lost loved ones and, perhaps due to guilt or the knowledge that they could die at any moment, parents tend to spoil their children. We learned Gwen's mom had decided to keep her from the world of 'Mythos' and beyond so she could live a normal life. While I can understand not wanting your child to forgo her childhood, I have to question the wisdom of the decision which left Gwen with virtually no fighting skills and  no way of avoiding dangerous situations. Perhaps Gwen's mother knew something that we don't and it will be revealed in a later book? Let's hope so.

I both like and dislike aspects of the relationship between Gwen and Logan. While its obvious the two have feelings for each other, Gwen's powers prevent them from being together because just by touching a person she can learn their past. She essentially clones a copy of their memories for herself complete with what they were feeling at the time. It's a little bit more personal than looking into someone's soul and Logan has a secret he doesn't want Gwen to know about. If they were ever to touch for an extended period of time there is no way Gwen could prevent herself from finding out whatever it is he doesn't want her to know. There is no cut off switch for her powers, and so she attempts to keep herself from coming in contact with any items or people whenever possible. While Gwen knows she and Logan would be together if not for her powers, Logan somewhat cruelly flaunts his relationship with Savannah in front of her. Since Logan is in charge of her fight training, Gwen can't avoid him. So while I like the tension created between the two, I found myself wishing Gwen would find someone else, even if just to make Logan feel like she does. Luckily, Ms. Estep read my mind as she introduces a new potential love interest, Preston.

Daphne's friendship came as a surprise after all that happened with Jasmine. She was one of the popular girls  at school and after realizing how two faced her supposed friends were she befriended Gwen. Gwen had had a hand in getting Daphne together with her current boyfriend. In 'Kiss of Frost' we get to see that friendship begin to strengthen. Gwen confides in her and listens to her advice.

I love the whimsical element Vic brings to the story. Vic is the sword of Nike which she entrusts to her Champions and is now Gwen's. The sword is not like most--it's hilt was carved to look like a man's face in profile and it can open it's single eye and talk. He is a sword with personality, attitude, and a blood thirsty lust for battle. Each god/goddess sports it's own weapon for it's Champion and there is a  message/motto on each that only the god's/goddess' Champion can read. On Vic was written 'Victory Always'. Nike, incidentally, is the goddess of victory.

I am definitely enjoying this series. I like the link to mythology, although we don't really get a huge amount of it in this book. I appreciated getting a glimpse of the world the kids from Mythos live in and how we get a better understanding of what their life is like. I enjoyed the drama of wondering who was after Gwen and why, although I kind of figured it out a bit early. I also thought it was fun that Ms. Estep added a poster of Karma Girl, a character from her Bigtime series, in Gwen's room. I gave this one 3 1/2 out of 5 roses. It had plenty of action and drama to keep my attention and make me want to read the next book. Plus, Gwen learns something shocking at the end that puts everything into perspective.

* Quote came from 'Touch of Frost'.
Order of series:

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