Monday, December 10, 2012

Book Review: Mythos Academy Series, Books 1-3 by Jennifer Estep

Title: Touch of Frost, Kiss of Frost, Dark Frost
Author: Jennifer Estep
Publisher: Kensington
Release Date: Aug 1 2011, Nov 29 2011, May 29 2012
Rating: 3/5

Cover Impressions: I like the repeated elements in these covers.  The similar colors and font, the use of the sword for the letter T and the architecture featured in the background.  Kiss of Frost does seem a little odd, as it appears that they used a different model and chose to change up the "straight to camera" gaze that is featured in the other two.

The Gist:  Gwen Frost is a has always known that her family are Gypsies.  She has the gift of "touch magic".  In touching a person or an object, she sees their past laid out before her.  As the lone Gypsy at Mythos Academy, a school for warriors of all breeds, she stands out as weak and powerless.  In Touch of Frost, Gwen investigates the murder of a classmate, even though no one else seems to see anything suspicious.  In Kiss of Frost, she finds herself at the center of a plot for revenge and in Dark Frost a dangerous quest sends her searching the past in order to save the future.

Review: This series has been on my TBR list for a while now.  When I received an EARC of the next book, Crimson Frost, I figured it was time to jump in.  Once I started reading, I didn't really want to stop and write a review after each book, so I decided to lump them all in together.  WARNING: this approach will probably result in spoilers for books 2 and 3 being revealed.  Sorry.

I always love books that feature a twist on traditional mythology and Mythos Academy has plenty of that.  Gods and Goddesses abound, as do warriors (though the author seems to stick to just three types - Amazons, Valkyries and Spartans - why not throw out a ninja once in a while?!)  The plot moves at a decent pace, with some exciting action scenes in each book.  The love story does not take over the plot, but adds an extra element to it and I was rather fond of the one or two spicy scenes that featured Logan and Gwen.  The storylines of all three books were rather predictable.  The clues were laid out fairly early and the twists were pretty obvious.

The writing in this series is fairly solid, however, I have NEVER seen this amount of recapping in any other series.  I got so annoyed in the second book that I started jotting down some of the re-capped info:

- About Mythos academy
- about statues (staring)
- about sneaking off campus
- Mom's death
- Vision that led to mom's death
- Battle from last book
- How library is hangout
- finding condoms in the stacks
- Why the Mythos kids are spoiled
- How her powers work
- Each character and what powers they have
- What the library looks like/contains

These are just a FEW examples, and when I say re-cap, I mean that some of the sentences/paragraphs seemed like they were IDENTICAL to the previous book.  The hell?  Can an author plagiarize herself?

One of the things I also had a problem with was characterization.  As I mentioned, the author sticks to three main types of warriors (besides Gwen).  While she mentions several others that attend the school, they are not utilized at all.  The side characters were not developed enough to make me care about them and they did not get any real moments to shine in the spotlight.  They seemed to pop up only when Gwen needed to talk to someone and then vanished just as quickly.  Speaking of Gwen, she was INFURIATING.  I am used to being annoyed at my main characters, but she takes it to a whole new level.  Gwen refuses to ask for help, claiming that she wants to be worthy of being called a warrior, and jumps into some ridiculously stupid situations that left me screaming at her to stop being such a moron.  Though the clues in each story were fairly obvious, Gwen refuses to put two and two together until the bad guy nearly slaps her in the face - and sometimes, they LITERALLY slap her in the face before she figures it out.

There is a lot of talk of sex in these books.  I don't really feel that it was necessary.  I was also disturbed by the easy and frequent use of the word slut.  I would not be able to recommend this series to my students.  Since I recieved an EARC, I will be continuing this series, but I sincerely hope that Gwen smartens up and that the plot is less predictable. 

Unanswered Questions:
 - I understand why Mom and Grandma didn't want to spoil Gwen like the other Mythos kids, but why didn't they at least get her some freaking self defense classes?
- How does Gwen manage to survive on cookies, cakes and an odd salad here and there? 
- Why do these kids never think to use their cellphones to call for backup?

Age: 16 and up
Gender: Female
Sex: Kissing, Talk of sex - sometimes vulgar
Violence: Swordplay, death by car accident, knifplay
Inappropriate Language: Lots: Bitch, Slut, Shit, Dick, Whore
Substance Use/Abuse: Underage drinking, Marijuana use


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