KISS OF FROST
(Mythos Academy #2)
Paranormal Young Adult
Available November 29th
Received from author for review
It's been an exciting couple of months at Mythos Academy for Gwen Frost, what with having mythological creatures and psychotic Reapers after her, becoming Nike's Champion, and developing a crush on the beautiful and unattainable Logan Quinn. For the little gypsy girl with the gift of psychometry, life is never dull.
Just when Gwen thinks having to watch Logan repeatedly make out with his current girlfriend right in front of her when she has made it crystal clear to him how she feels about him is the worst thing that can happen, the murder attempts begin. Now her bruised heart is the least of her worries, her involvement in the death of a classmate making her a possible target for the deceased's Reaper family, and they seem dedicated to seeing her demise come to pass.
Escaping the dangers of the academy and keeping the new threats on her life to herself, Gwen attends the school ski strip in the hopes that meeting up with kids from other schools similar in nature to Mythos will take her mind off both Logan and those who are after her. But a change in location doesn't lessen the threat, and she finds more physical and emotional danger on the snowy slopes than she did on campus grounds.
As we've come to expect from Ms. Estep, Kiss of Frost gives us a fully-developed mystery that relates to the book before it but can be easily understood on its own, unraveling things in a way that keeps us rapidly flipping the pages and concluding without a dreaded cliffhanger. We get nice character growth and maturity as well as the introduction of a few new characters to keep things fresh, while also gleaning some additional knowledge with regard to the broader story arc of Loki and his Reapers of Chaos. All these elements are mixed with a romance both heartwarming and heartbreaking, causing an assault on our emotions as we smile and laugh while simultaneously rubbing our chests to assuage the vicarious pain we can't help but feel.
Gwen progresses beautifully in this second installment, her previous melancholy over having to attend Mythos abating a bit as she settles in, only flaring up on occasion when she's overwhelmed by the strength, speed, and beauty of her peers. Those momentary flashes are understandable and remind us that she's in transition from outsider to intrinsic member of the Mythos student body, making her all the more real for her insecurities as they pop up unbidden. She exhibits a great deal of strength both physically and emotionally, making us proud as she takes charge of her circumstances in a way she didn't in book one. Where previously she found herself a floundering damsel in distress in need of Logan's heroics, she now expands her knowledge of her psychometry to do the saving herself. And when Logan admits to an attraction to her despite his relationship with someone else, she doesn't allow the confession to soften her so that she's content with the crumbs from his table, instead calling him on his behavior while letting him know his whispered sentiments in dark corners simply aren't good enough.
Logan–ever the bad boy we wish we could muster up a solid animosity for but simply can't–both tortures and appeases us again this time around. His blatant displays of affection with girlfriend Savannah claw at our hearts as we experience firsthand the pain those actions cause Gwen, but then he's there with words both Gwen and we long to hear spoken with an indisputable sincerity, a salve to our very fresh and very open emotional wounds. His indecision would be frustrating if it weren't so effective in drawing us into the story, and Gwen's mature handling of it prevents the drama from ever crossing the line into something that would have us scoffing in disdain at the triteness of it all. We get a tiny glimpse into the secret that haunts him, giving us just enough to help us understand him better while keeping so much of him still a delectable mystery.
Overall, Kiss of Frost improves upon its predecessor, strengthening our attachment to the characters and continually piquing our curiosity as to the impending war. While the villain is a bit more easily identifiable in this story, Ms. Estep never fails to impress us with her ability to create layers, allowing us to pat ourselves on the back for our astuteness on one page only to flip to the next and suck in a breathe as we are shocked and pained by what's revealed. Though this book leaves us with a complete story, the release of Dark Frost cannot come soon enough, our time with Gwen and Logan always ending too quickly.