Release Date: July 26th 2011
Publisher: Kensington Publishing Corporation
Age Group: Young Adult
'Gypsy Girl', Gwen Frost, has a gift. It actually rather suits her temperament, given she's prone to insatiable curiosity about her classmates' private lives. She might not fit in at her super-exclusive boarding school, patronized by the obscenely wealthy sons and daughters of mythological figures, but she's certainly clued in: one touch of an object (or a person), and Gwen can see things. Who owned it, who touched it, what they were thinking, feeling, and all their deepest darkest secrets. Sure makes intimacy a bitch.
Gwen's world takes a turn from bizarre to outright deadly when Mythos Academy's reigning Queen Bee/Mean Girl is found murdered in the school library, and she decides to put her talents to use to investigate.
Ladies and Gentlemen, Our Heroine:My first impression of Gwen Frost was as a paranormal Veronica Mars. Talent for seeing things others can't? Check. Haunted by loss of dead friend/relative? Check. Sassy social pariah? Check, and so forth.
But she's not Veronica. At first, the sassiness, to me, seemed forced, and the faux 'teen-speak' (like, you know, totally) grated. This, however, did not make A Touch Of Frost (get it! A 'touch', and her name's 'Frost'! OMG! Funnies!) an unenjoyable read. As the book proceeded, I swiftly settled into Gwen's voice, and was completely absorbed. It's compelling, and the mystery gripped me. Whodunit? Why? How? What the hell is the significance of the bowl? The sword? Why do the teachers seem so knowing and creepy?
She's interesting (and sounds just like a juvenile Gin Blanco with a few 'like, you knows' added to her dialogue). She's flawed, imperfect, but cares deeply about her Grandma--her only surviving relative. At first her nosiness annoyed me, but this faded as the story proceeded. What I did enjoy was seeing real, measurable, character growth over the course of the book. Gwen doesn't finish the book as the same Gwen Frost she started it as. Over the course of the book, she sheds her insecurities, and the shell she isolates herself in. She overcomes grief and loss, and grows.
"Um, nice kitty?" The panther’s eyes narrowed, fire blazing in the red depths, and it let out that hissing sound again. No, no, no. Not a nice kitty at all.
Let’s Talk About LURVEA Touch Of Frost has a romantic sub-plot going, but it’s a subplot, and it’s YA. So you’re going to get longing stares, crushing, Twilight-worthy descriptions of chiseled abs and ice-blue eyes, and, at this stage, not much more. I’m really keen to see where Estep takes this, though. Our friendly neighbourhood Spartan-In-Shining-Armour is hiding something. Hidden depths, perhaps? Hmmm…
I loved the side story involving a reformed-mean girl and band geek, which was very sweet.
Wrapping It Up:Where, Estep's Spider's Bite/Elemental Assassin books irritated me, A Touch Of Frost succeeds. The constant repetition and retelling of events that characterised the series (and frustrated me no end--they would have been fantastic, otherwise) is pared back, and we don't get infodumped. We learn more about Gwen's world as she learns more about it. Her past is revealed bit by bit, and the story had me hooked. This is definitely a read for YA fans. If teen-speak and YA aren't your thing, then neither is this book.
I love a good gods/myth style story: Neil Gaiman's American Gods, Joanne Harris' Runemarks, Xena, Warrior Princess (don't tell anyone about that last one). There's something utterly compelling about omnipotent beings even more screwed up than us, and the scheming, plotting and in-fighting.
Estep has outdone herself. Percy Jackson meets Vampire Academy, A Touch Of Frost creates a compelling setup for what seems a really promising series.
Books in This Series:
- A Touch Of Frost
- Kiss Of Frost (29 Nov. 2011)
- Dark Frost (29. May 2012)
Want It?Touch of Frost (Mythos Academy) at Booktopia
Touch of Frost (Mythos Academy) at Amazon