In TOUCH OF FROST Mythos Academy student Gwen Frost is thrown out of her everyday routine when one of her fellow students is getting murdered. With her ability to find lost objects and learn about the owners of said
objects, she might be the only one that's able to find out who killed the student.
What intrigued me: I wanted to read this book in the first place because I was looking for another series to fill the void that the Vampire Academy Series by Richelle Mead left in my heart. The premises are very similar, except that the school Gwen goes to isn't full of vampires, but full of descendants of mythological warriors.
Stereotyping Is the New Black?
It's written very, very opinionatedly. The main character Gwen doesn't waste a second to label everyone. Every student in her school gets a label that most often times isn't only really sexist, but also extremely narrow-minded and offensive. Gwen parts all students into groups like "the jocks", "the sluts" or "the mysterious guys" who just about do the same things as "the sluts", but yet somehow it makes them cool and mysterious instead of trashy, simply because they're guys.
Gwen herself doesn't really have a personality, she's just going around judging everyone. She's the typical nerdy heroine that doesn't have a lot of friends and is special because she isn't like everybody else. Multiple times she puts emphasis on the fact that she doesn't belong and what's even more baffling to me is that she doesn't, at no point in the story, take interest in the fact that she's surrounded by mythological beings.
For every other person this would be exciting and interesting, but Gwen just thinks that the stories about Greek and Norse gods are bedtime stories, despite the fact that she has magical powers herself. I found it so frustrating to listen to her and to watch her ignore all the magical and super interesting things that are happening around her. She's a very exhausting and oblivious character.
Black & White Thinking Everywhere
It's so frustrating that you have this brilliant setting and this unique world, but yet Estep ruins it all by not making an effort to build her characters properly. The big antagonist in this novel are Loki and all his worshipers. There is no explanation as to why they would want the world to end in chaos, but they just do. They aren't afraid to kill everyone who comes in their way, no matter whether they're students or grown wo/men. The equivalent and therefore the good ones are the soldiers-in-training from Mythos Academy.
I always have a problem dealing with novels that portray a clear line between good and evil. Obviously, there are shades of grey as well, but Estep makes no effort to try to make that clear to the reader. Just like Gwen labels everyone into either saint or sinner, her world is divided into black and white.
Overall: Do I Recommend?
I love the setting, I love the idea, but I absolutely hated the protagonist for the narrow-minded non-sense she says. I wouldn't recommend this to young impressionable readers exactly because it fuels stereotypical thinking and this is not what we need in a world that is already filled with hatred and the suppressed need to label people.
I tried to look over it all and just focus on the story, but it's hardly possible if you're bombarded with sexism in every other chapter. Estep had the chance to write a brilliant novel judging from the premise, but she ruined it through Gwen's attitude.
"My name is Gwen Frost, and I go to Mythos Academy; a school of myths, magic and warrior whiz kids, where even the lowliest geek knows how to chop off somebody's head with a sword and Logan Quinn, the hottest Spartan guy in school, also happens to be the deadliest.
But lately, things have been weird, even for Mythos. First, mean girl Jasmine Ashton was murdered in the Library of Antiquities. Then, someone stole the Bowl of Tears, a magical artifact that can be used to bring about the second Chaos War. You know, death, destruction and lots of other bad, bad things.
Freaky stuff like this goes on all the time at Mythos, but I'm determined to find out who killed Jasmine and why; especially since I should have been the one who died..."