“Touch of Frost” by Jennifer Estep

"Touch of Frost" by Jennifer Estep

Gwen Frost – yes, that is her real name – attends Mythos Academy. The entire school is full of descendants of people from mythology. This includes Valkryries, who have weird magical sparkly powers and Spartans, who can take a dull eraser and figure out how to murder somebody with it.

As a Gypsy, Gwen thinks she’s about as useless as a dead slug until a supremely stereotypically peppy girl gets murdered in the library and she decides to solve the crime. Oh, and the Bowl of Tears gets stolen – an artifact that Gwen also tries to find, which can bring about another Chaos war.

There’s also a random hot guy named Logan who more often than not just appears to look hot and brooding and randomly save Gwen’s life.

I can always tell how much I like a book by how often I put it down. I put Jennifer Estep’s “Touch of Frost” (Kengsington Publishing, July 2011) down because I had to leave for work, came home intending to read it, couldn’t remember where I put it and read another book until I found it a few days later. It was  interesting enough for me to finish, but not something I needed to go out of my way to read.

I love Estep’s take on mythology;  I do find it interesting, even if some of the abilities are rather silly. (Why do Valkyries need to sparkle when they’re feeling intense emotions?) And Estep manages to create a strong female friendship, which I do value in a world where the biggest sign of a young adult book is the one-woman-wolf-pack or the backstabbing best friend.

The approach to mythology makes me mildly curious to read the sequel, but that’s it. The rest of the book reads a bit like a lecture on how to be a good person. The villains are the boy who cheats on his girlfriend, the girlfriend who wants revenge and the best friend who slept with the boy.  The slut shaming is up the wazoo. Do I encourage sleeping with your best friend’s guy? No. But, there’s no reason to go around shouting the word “slut” and “whore” non-stop, especially when it’s made public after the best friend dies.

Perhaps if there wasn’t so much lecturing – both in the sexual department and how people behave normally – I’d be able to enjoy this book more. However, add a set of mediocre characters and a simple plot line, I can’t call myself a fan.