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Sunday, August 21, 2011

Review: Touch of Frost by Jennifer Estep

Title: Touch of Frost
Author: Jennifer Estep
Series: Mythos Academy #1
Genre: Paranormal Young Adult
Release Date: 08/01/11
Reviewed by: Sara
But the Book:
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Gwen Frost is an outsider at 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. Gwen is an outsider both to the students of the Academy and the rest of the world. But when her gift of psychometry -- the ability to know an object's history just by touching it reveals dark undercurrents and danger afoot, she has no choice but to get involved.

Plot: 5 Stars
First and foremost, I love a good paranormal boarding school novel. Hands down, it's my favorite trope in Paranormal YA. Also, this novel had less annoying teenage drama than many Paranormal YAs I've read lately. Now, don't get me wrong, there was definitely drama in this novel. But it was a more paranormal, lives-at-stake drama and a lot less does-he-like-me, what-should-I-wear drama. Gwen is dealing with her grief and moving to a new school, and she's not exactly sure what to believe. Everyone around her acts as if all of the myths they're learning about are real, and she's seeing some things that she can't explain. I can't wait for the myths and how these students play into them to be elaborated on further in the next book. The plot took a number of twists I wasn't expecting, and had me guessing until the very end.

Pace: 5 Stars
There was never a dull moment throught this novel. From the moment we meet Gwen as she confronts another classmate in the restroom, it a rollercoaster ride straight through to the end. Even her job at the academy's library is a full of surprises. Definitely more eventful than most library jobs. As Gwen learns more and more about the world she has stepped into, it could've easily become overwhelming and jumbled for both her and the reader. But the author does a great job of showing and explaining all of the details to the reader as Gwen learns new things about her classmates, the academy, and the myths.

Characters: 5 Stars
Gwen's character growth in this novel was fantastic. Not only is she dealing with her grief, but she's also thrown into a new environment. She starts the novel off very isolated, with no friends and no reason to really talk to anyone unless they want her to use her psychometry to find something for them. As the novel progresses, we get to follow Gwen as she gets to know a couple classmates. One in particular is a bit surprising considering the earlier interactions between them. It was nice to see Gwen open up after being a bit of a loner in the beginning. Gwen also starts to believe a little more about the myths she's learning about in class, especially after she sees little things here and there from other classmates that support these myths. Her grandmother was an interesting character that I hope to see more of in future novels. And it was a nice surprise to learn that one of her teachers has a connection to her mother.

Cover: 4 Stars
Although I was a fan of the original cover, I can see the broader appeal of the one printed. I liked the blues and greens of the original, along with the gargoyle being front and center. I'm glad it was included in the final cover because I think it really draws the eye. The cover model is a good representation of Gwen. I just wish she had on a hoodie, because Gwen was barely seen without one. My only small criticism of the final cover is the overwhelming use of black. There just seems to be a bit too much dead space between the images, although the title and author's name cover the majority of it. My favorite part of the cover, besides the gargoyle, is the sword that takes the place of the word "frost" in the title. Not only is it a cool detail, but it also has significance to the story.

Overall: 5 Stars

Disclosure: I received an eARC of this novel for review from the author, and also purchased a copy for my own reading pleasure.

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