Posted on January 19, 2012 by alanajoli
Available at Amazon.com
Gwen Frost is back at Mythos Academy, and she’s got a new attitude. In Touch of Frost (reviewed here), Gwen was a poor little Gypsy girl, stuck out of place at an academy full of warrior kids and wishing for her old life. While Gwen is still no warrior — and still wishes that her mother’s death had never happened — she’s got a new mission: get awesome, fast, so she can live up to the expectations of Nike, her patron goddess. At the end of the first book, Gwen was chosen to be Nike’s champion, and she has no intentions of failing.
Unfortunately, someone is trying to kill her.
Unwilling to run to the authorities for help, Gwen plans to solve the mystery of the person attacking her on her own. In order to keep herself relatively safe — and to keep tabs on her suspects — she has to go on the school winter holiday to a ski resort, which she’d previously been hoping to avoid at all costs. Valkyrie BFF Daphne is thrilled that Gwen is coming, and assures her that the trip will be just the thing she needs to get over the broody Spartan, Logan, who professed feelings for Gwen but insists on tongue wrestling with another girl. And, in fact, Gwen meets a cute guy on the trip, but he disappears any time he might be spotted with her. Something fishy is happening, and it’s up to Gwen to get to the bottom of it — and maybe find some new allies in the process.
In Touch of Frost, Jennifer Estep created a fun new world that mixes world mythologies in a delightful mashup, with Loki and his Reapers of Chaos as the ultimate villains. In Kiss of Frost, Estep raises the stakes: Gwen is more involved in the world now, and more willing to accept that this life-or-death situation is her new reality. For better or for worse, Gwen Frost is a part of something bigger than herself — and Estep does a great job of making that both a moral decision and a personal one. But although the main movement of the story is mythical, Gwen’s concerns are grounded in a teen reality: she feels like the third wheel when she hangs out with her friends; the boy she has a tremendous crush on doesn’t seem to want her that way; and her desire to put her nose into other people’s secrets always causes her more trouble than she wants. In Gwen’s case, that last normal problem is enhanced by her gift of psychometry — the ability to see memories held in an object — and it’s that gift that gets her off to a very dangerous start in Kiss of Frost.
One of the best parts of Kiss of Frost has less to do with Gwen’s personal tale and more to do with free will and fate. In one of Gwen’s classes, there is a discussion about how even monsters have free will — even the creatures twisted by the Reapers have the potential to choose their own fates. The idea of free will vs. fate is one that has strong mythic resonance; in Greek mythology, especially, a person is governed by the Fates and has no choice about his or her destiny. Estep’s work playing with this concept takes the books beyond a fun, lighthearted urban fantasy series for teens and moves it to the next level.
Kiss of Frost is a great sequel, and in many ways a stronger book than the first entry into the world. With four more books to look forward to in the series, it’ll be a fun ride — maybe with a topsy turvy version of Ragnarok to close things off!
FTC disclosure: I received the e-ARC of this novel from the author.
Review by Alana Abbott
Tags | urban fantasy