Wednesday, November 2, 2011

TOUCH OF FROST by Jennifer Estep

A school for mythic warriors?  Yes, please!

The one-liner for this one was enough to make me want to read it.  The fact that I'd just started The Elemental Assassin series (and LOVED it) was another plus.  Jennifer Estep did such a great with Gin Blanco, assassin name: The Spider, I just had to see what she could do with YA.

Touch of Frost may not have had gritty feel or the hardened/irresistible MC.  It might not have contained all the assassin-y goodness of her adult series (there weren't dead bodies popping up on every page, though the book does kick off with a murder), but Estep's YA debut did have a certain charm.

Gwen Frost has no idea what she's doing at Mythos Academy--a school where Spartans strut the halls, Amazons wield swords longer than your arm, and Valkyries shoot magic from their fingertips.  Gwen's just a Gypsy girl--the only Gypsy at Mythos.  She doesn't have supernatural strength or fighting ability.  The only thing different about Gwen is her gift of pychometry: the power to read objects or people through touch.  The gift's not all that great--especially when it goes on the fritz right after the most popular Valkyrie in school gets murdered.  No one seems to care about the murder, more interested in the fact that an ancient artifact's gone missing.  But Gwen is determined to find out what happened--even if it gets her killed.

Things I loved about this book: 1) The concept.  I've seen people do schools for wizards, Gods, vampires, you name it.  But Frost is the first book I've come across that features mythological warriors.  For that reason (and with the addition of a smart-talking sword and these things called Champions: humans chosen by the Gods to be their representatives on Earth), Touch of Frost seemed like unique, untapped territory. 2) The action.  There was plenty of action/tight spots where I wasn't sure if Gwen would be able to hack it.  But with a healthy dose of self-preservation and the help of new friends, she pulled through.  3) Logan.  Nothing more to say.  If you want to know more about Logan Quinn, the smooth-talking Spartan with a bad rep and perfect timing, you'll just have to read the book J. 

Things I didn't love: The amount of repetition.  Like in the Elemental Assassin series, there's plenty of well-worn phrases, stuff that could be taken out to keep the pace moving forward.  The length--which was affected by the amount of repetition.  It just could've been tightened up, made snappier to keep readers on edge the entire time.  There were also mature instances (signing mattresses, kids hooking up here, there, and everywhere) that I think are more appropriate for adult audiences.  I mean, come on, isn't there any innocence left in YA?

All in all, it was very good.  I'm interested enough in Gwen and Logan and the school of myths concept to read the next one.  I've got a feeling Estep will get even better as she goes along/becomes more used to the YA voice.  It really was great, and I hope to see more of Logan in the next book!

Happy reading,

Ninja Girl


  1. Ooh, who is this Logan? Looks like I'm going to have to get to know him ;)

  2. Great review, in definitely adding this one on Goodreads ;)

  3. Great review! I' reading Kiss of Frost right now (I won an ARC in a contest). I'm not far enough in to tell you whether there is an adequate amount of Logan, but boy do I hope so! He's FANTASTIC.

  4. @Cassie Logan was great! I hope you like him as much as I did

    @Tristan Thanks :D

    @TheReadingPenguin Oooh, I am so jealous :p I'd love to get an arc of that particular book

  5. I'm still slowly making my way through Spider's (bite (NaNoWriMo is getting in the way) but I like it so far. Love the idea of an academy full of warriors and anything Spartan always makes me think of Gerard Butler so that's a def plus!

  6. Hi there,
    I am just popping in from Alex's insecure writers group and it's taking me to get around everybody's blogs and say "hi". I will pop by your blog as often as I can. Nice to "meet" you.
    Eve. :)

  7. @Lan Yes, the idea definitely hooked me as well. Oh, I hope you like Spider's Bite (and do great with your NaNoWriMo goals)!

    @Eve.E Very nice to meet you as well :)

  8. I totally agree with you. The repetition about her mother bothers me a little in the beginning, there are a lot I think, too much? But after that the story was so good ! I'm very curious about the sequel. Great review

  9. I totally agree with you on this. The concept, the action, the sexy spartan: fantastic. But Estep always seems to fall back on repetition. I wouldn't even mind falling back on certain phrases, in terms of it creating a unique voice, if you know what I mean? We all have certain things and phrases we repeat, but oh my GOODNESS, J.E. takes it to a new level. This drove me to distraction in the Elemental Assassin books. Half of the books were recaps of events from previous ones, or repeating for the umpteenth time in the same book the process of making a sandwich. They could have really benefitted from being 'tightened up, made snappier to keep readers on edge the entire time', like you say. :)

    I *DID* think A Touch Of Frost was a fantastic improvement in J.E.'s writing, though. I really enjoyed the book. I was surprised how much I did. I loved the Veronic Mars vibe, and the budding friendship between her and Daphne.