Thursday, November 24, 2011

Kiss of Frost by Jennifer Estep w/Bonus Review of Halloween Frost (Reviewed by Mihir Wanchoo)

Read FBC's review of Touch of Frost
Read FBC'S review of First Frost and Q/A with the author about the series
Read the first two chapters HERE
Order the Book HERE

AUTHOR INFORMATION: Jennifer Estep has a Bachelor’s degree in English & Journalism, and a Master's in Professional Communications. Her bibliography includes the Elemental Assassin urban fantasy series, the Mythos Academy YA urban fantasy series, and the Bigtime paranormal romance series. She is also a member of Romance Writers of America, Science Fiction and Fantasy Writers of America, and other writing groups.

PLOT SYNOPSIS: At Mythos Academy, teen warriors in the making train to take up their roles protecting humankind. With her snarky, self-deprecating voice and strange gift of psychometry - the ability to know an object's history just by touching it - Gwen Frost is an outsider both to the students of the Academy and the rest of the world. But now that she's taking private tutoring with the Academy's most notorious young Spartan, and has Nike's own sword to protect her, she's ready to make mark....

Gwen also has to deal with the fallout of what happened in Touch of Frost and the various changes it has brought into her life. To add to the overall pressure Gwen realizes that a Reaper of Chaos is trying to kill her, and that if she doesn’t figure out who it is, the Reaper just might succeed...

FORMAT/INFO: The e-ARC of Kiss of Frost is 296 pages long divided over twenty-eight chapters. Narration is in the first-person, exclusively via the protagonist Gwen Frost. Kiss of Frost is the second volume in the Mythos Academy series and can be read separately as the author provides enough of the backstory through out the story. The book also contains Gwen’s schedule of the Winter carnival as well as a Who’s Who reference guide of the people, places and mythology of the series which can be useful as a quick reference.

Kiss of Frost will be released in paperback and e-book format on November 29, 2011 via Kensington Books.

ANALYSIS: I thought the first book Touch of Frost was a decent start to a YA series about a gypsy girl who has the gift of pyschometry. Gwendolyn Frost is the protagonist and narrator of the series so far and has faced a very traumatic event in her life which changed all her perceptions and forced her to go to Mythos Academy, a place which is out of her imagination. In the review below there might be minor spoilers for the first book so proceed ahead if you have read the first book or if you don’t mind minor spoilers.

The second book Kiss of Frost opens up a few weeks after the events of the first book, Gwen has now been thoroughly exposed to the problems which are caused by Loki and his Reapers. She learns after the events of the climax in the previous book, of her role as a champion to her Goddess and what is required of her. Thus set with a task of sorts she will have to undergo training and learn more about the martial arts to better deal with Reapers who are trying to kill her. She of course is flummoxed when the person chosen to train her is Logan Quinn, the apple of her eye. Another fact which isn’t helping is the fact that her friends Daphne and Carson are going steady and have no reluctance in displaying their affections. Lastly to stir up the pot, at the upcoming Winter Carnival she discovers that there’s a new Reaper of chaos who is trying to kill her. So it will be up to her to sharpen her detective skills if she has any wish to survive.

The second book opens the world of Mythos academy and gives us a sort of panoramic view into the events of the world. The background of the world is explained a bit and especially what is currently happening and why the Reapers are in so much of a tizzy. There are also further revelations on Gwen’s role as a champion. Particular details are revealed about the events of First Frost which I’m sure will be of severe importance in the future books of the series. Characterization is a particular strength of Jennifer Estep's books and it is no different in the Mythos Academy series. However in this book this positive becomes a negative of sorts as Gwen’s character comes across as a bit annoying due to her constant fretting over whether Logan will return her affection. But this particular thread also powers the story as this attraction is a main part of the story and fans will get a particular wish fulfilled. The author has also carefully introduced a third angle to this plot and thereby increasing the tension. The character cast is also increased and the other characters such as Daphne, Logan & professor Metis are given more face time. I believe this is a good thing as they will play prominent roles in the future volumes.

The biggest fallacy I noticed of this book and the series so far, is its utter predictability. From the start of the book to its emotional climax, events occur and with clockwork precision most readers will be able to guess what happens next. This robbed much of my reading pleasure and I realize that this book is aimed at YA readers but sometimes I think the author can definitely up the ante by introducing a few more plot twists. There’s also the constant repeating of facts about many of the characters, which though from the mind of a sixteen year old girl might be explanatory but can be curbed as it occurs all too frequently. This curious habit is also seen in the author’s other books which I have read however it is a bit limited in those books and therefore wasn't much of an issue.

CONCLUSION: Kiss of Frost delivers in its promise of exciting romance tinged with action and continues to give the readers a fun tale. Jennifer Estep nicely shows her skills whilst entertaining and drawing the reader in the world of the Mythos Academy. If a few of the aforementioned fallacies can be eliminated then surely this series will be a better one. Recommended for readers who want a light-hearted read and for Paranormal Romance readers.

Read An Excerpt HERE
Order the Book HERE

OVERVIEW: Halloween Frost is a short story which was featured in the Entangled anthology which is a special story collection wherein all the proceeds go to the Breast Cancer Research Foundation. More information about the collection including the contents of the collection as well as the official press release can be found over here.

Halloween Frost is a short story which is set after the events of Touch of Frost, the first book of the series. It is roughly 15 pages long in the e-book form. The book details a small event which occurs around Halloween. Gwen and Daphne are on their way from a Halloween party and suddenly attacked by a mythical creature. Faced with near impossible odds and possibly no warrior backup, it will be up to Gwen to use her wits to save their lives.

This short story again follows the pattern of the earlier Frost short story giving the readers a small view in to the world of Gwendolyn Frost and showcasing a brief but important event. In this case it shows how she has been coping with her recent introduction to the new world and especially after the events of Touch of Frost, where she stands in Logan Quinn’s eyes. The story gives an important indicator for the events of Kiss of Frost and like the previous story, it's not mandatory reading for understanding the overall story however for readers who have enjoyed the series. Its something which serves as an excellent extra to the overall story and more importantly this story is a part of an initiative for an extremely important cause.

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