Tuesday, September 18, 2012

Review: Dark Frost by Jennifer Estep

Dark Frost by Jennifer Estep
published by Kensington in May 2012
I've seen so many freaky things since I started attending Mythos Academy last fall. I know I'm supposed to be a fearless warrior, but most of the time, I feel like I'm just waiting for the next Bad, Bad Thing to happen. Like someone trying to kill me again. Everyone at Mythos Academy knows me as Gwen Frost, the Gypsy girl who uses her psychometry magic to find lost objects and who just may be dating Logan Quinn, the hottest guy in school. But I'm also the girl the Reapers of Chaos want dead in the worst way. The Reapers are the baddest of the bad, the people who murdered my mom. So why do they have it in for me? It turns out my mom hid a powerful artifact called the Helheim Dagger before she died. Now, the Reapers will do anything to get it back. They think I know where the dagger is hidden, but this is one thing I can't use my magic to find. All I do know is that the Reapers are coming for me and I'm in for the fight of my life.
Genre: YA, Paranormal
Series: Mythos Academy, Book #3

The Story: The winter semester has just started at Mythos Academy and already, Gwen has her hands full. It all started with the attack from the Reapers at the museum where Gwen and her friends had to put in practice what they've learned in order to survive. It's one thing to learn how to fight, but to actually apply the theory... and kill someone? Problem is, the Reapers and Loki's champion will never leave Gwen alone until they find what they want: the Helheim Dagger which is the last artifact they need to release Loki unto the world. And it seems there's a possibility that all along, the dagger was hidden at the academy!

Unfortunately for Gwen, she has no one to turn to when she needs it most. Daphne is busy coming to term with her nascent Valkyrie ability which manifested during the attack. It's really not what she wanted nor expected, although it did save her boyfriend's life. Then there's Logan... He wants to be with Gwen, but he has issues with Gwen's gift, not wanting her to know his deepest and darkest secrets...Only, Gwen has already had a peek and there's nothing she can do if he doesn't accept that.

Finally, there's the new job Gwen has been hired for, to find Vivian's - another student at Mythos Academy - ring. It should have been simple, only it is not. She knew that there were Reapers among the students at Mythos Academy... but could it be that Loki's champion is among them as well?

My Opinion: Let's jump right in, shall we? :) I thought Dark Frost was better than Kiss of Frost... but it still hasn't reached the point where I'm going to go out and rave about this book or the series :( It still hasn't realized the potential it exhibited in Touch of Frost.

The positives of Dark Frost include once again a solid world building and interesting characterizations. The plot was also interesting and actually moved the overall storyline along well. It was tighter and I felt Ms Estep did a better job at balancing the action and the relationships. I actually quite enjoyed the relationships part of the book. I enjoyed seeing Gwen befriending more people and I really liked her growing friendship and chemistry with Oliver. Also, I think it was a good move on Ms Estep's part to add a bit of conflict between Daphne and Gwen. It's all good that Gwen has a best friend to depend on, but one has to remember the friendship is quite new and there can be waves to rock it. It's also more realistic given Gwen and Daphne are teenagers and at a crucial period of their lives. And all this will contribute to helping them build character.

Something else I enjoyed was seeing Gwen evolve in term of her abilities and ditto with her friends. Having a better grasps on their powers will only make the action more interesting in future books. There were also some interesting revelations in Dark Frost that shed some lights on some behaviors :) All in all, the series is really shaping up and that's a good thing.

Unfortunately, I do have one issue with Dark Frost and the series and it's a big one: the stories are too obvious. Quite frankly, I feel there's no subtlety in the plot and writing... therefore, if something is mentioned, you know it's going to be important ^_^; There is foreshadowing and there is "right there in your face" and the Mythos Academy series falls more in the "right there in your face" category ^_^; And that's really unfortunate, because it takes a lot away. I just feel the story is not intricate enough. Oh, there has been some nice twists, but for the most part, it's been too straightforward and easy to connect the dots. It's as if Ms Estep has a plan for the story and characters and she's following it... but I feel in this kind of series, you kind of need to throw the readers into the loop a little, let them figure out what's happening and why. In my review of Touch of Frost, I compared the Mythos Academy series with the Percy Jackson and the Olympians series. Well throwing the readers into the loop is something Mr Riordan achieved really well. When you start reading the Percy Jackson series, you are aware of the prophecy. You know where the characters are head, but you don't know how and while they go on new adventures, you don't know how these adventures connect to the end. In the case of the Mythos Academy series, you know how it connects to the endpoint and it just takes away from the enjoyment, from the wondering.

Something else that bothered me as well in Dark Frost was Gwen pining after Logan. Sigh. Besides the fact that Logan is the hottest guy in the Academy and he's been nice to Gwen on occasions, I don't know if he's really worthy of Gwen's feelings. I mean, so far, I feel the way he's been treating Gwen has been lacking. It doesn't matter the excuses he has, it's just not okay. He blows cold and hot and Gwen just let him. I wish Gwen would grow a spine when it comes to Logan and stopped letting him dictates everything between them... because the way it's going, it feels like Gwen is weak. It's really too bad there's no chance of any love relationship between Gwen and Oliver, because so far, he's the one who's been there for her.

Overall, I still think the series has potential, but it's not enough. Ms Estep needs something more for the Mythos Academy series to really stand out, to completely and utterly hook the readers... and personally, I think it's going to have come through the plots and storylines.

My Grade: B-.