This review contains a spoiler
This book has all the hallmarks of average young adult fiction with the teenage orphan/one parent misfit who falls for the bad boy while fighting an evil force and finding their hidden inner strength in the process.
Touch of Frost is set in a boarding school filled with wealthy, privileged teenagers who are all gifted with the skills and powers of ancient cultures, mythical beings and fairy tales such as amazons, Valkyries, Spartans and Celts. Gwen, is the true misfit as she is not only from a poorer background and forced to attend the academy after the death of her mother, but she is also the only student with gypsy ‘pyschometry’ powers. Gwen’s powers allow her to touch objects and to see images and the feel emotions of anyone who has ever touched that same object. Her gift also allows her to see the person’s biggest secret and led her to discover the abuse a friend had suffered at the hand of her step father. This incident scarred Gwen, not only from what she saw, but she also believed it indirectly led to the death of her mother, something that she feels responsible for causing. While powerful in her own right, Gwen doesn’t feel she fits in as her powers are so different from the other pupils. She goes relatively unnoticed because of this belief and leads a lonely, friendless existence for much of the novel.
Everything changes when Gwen stumbles across the body of ‘mean girl’ Jasmine Ashton, who has been murdered in the library where Gwen works. She also discovers the mysterious, and potentially dangerous, Bowl of Tears, has gone missing, which is an important artifact in their mythology and rumored to give the ability to control another person. Gwen is determined to solve the mystery of why Jasmine was murdered and find out who has the Bowl of Tears.
In the process of her investigation she unexpectedly makes a friend out of the wealthy, blond Valkyrie, Daphne Cruz, who Gwen enlists help to try to undercover what led to Jasmine’s death and of course, who could have potentially murdered her. No YA book is complete without the heroine falling for the local bad boy and in the case of Touch of Frost the bad boy comes in the form of the dark haired hotty, Logan Quinn. Logan, in true heart throb fashion, comes to Gwen’s rescue more than once and saves her from getting killed by the book’s main protagonist. Gwen’s teenage heart is all ‘aflutter’ at the attentions she receives from this bad boy but is conflicted by accidentally learning his deepest secrets through her special powers. Logan, truly lives up to his bad boy title by making Gwen think he is interested and then breaking her heart in the final scenes of the book.
Without littering this review with all the spoilers, Gwen solves the mystery of Jasmine’s death, catches the bad guy (or girl), discovers she is really powerful, almost wins the hunky bad boy and makes her first friend at the Mythos Academy.
I compare almost every YA novel to The Hunger Games which I loved and could have easily given 15 stars to. Touch of Frost is not in the same league as The Hunger Games but it’s quite readable. The heroine, Gwen, did feel sorry for herself for large part of the book, which I normally find annoying and there was an overabundance of references to her being a gypsy. She did however, have some amusing one liners, liked comics and wasn’t constantly swooning over the love interest, Logan Quinn which I found refreshing. It was also a relief that Estep, didn’t leave us with a ‘happily ever after’ with Gwen getting together with Logan but rather, saw our heroine heartbroken at the ending.
I am not totally convinced that about the setting of a boarding school filled with the teenage mythical beings but I guess Valkyries and Spartan teens have to get an education somewhere! Overall, this book was a fairly easy read and Estep set the stage nicely for continuing the series. If you are in need of a light hearted read or particularly like YA then Touch of Frost is an enjoyable read.
Rating: 3 Stars
Touch of Frost by Jennifer Estep
(The Mythos Academy #1)
Paranormal, Young Adult
Kensington Publishing (1 Aug 2011)
Paperback: 350 pages