Dark Frost

Jennifer Estep
Dark Frost
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Release Date
May 2012
Book 3 of Mythos Academy
Urban Fantasy, Young Adult Romance

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.

Book Review by Bridget (reviewer)
May 07, 2012   [ OFFICIAL REVIEW ]
184 people found the following review helpful
Once again, Jennifer Estep has delivered with a powerful, dark and dangerous installment in the Mythos Academy series. All the promises and warnings of the past have come to this—a showdown with an immortal enemy that will leave no one unscarred—and will have you turning pages furiously until the very last scene.

Life for the Gypsy girl, Gwen Frost, has never been easy—when you have the power to touch an object and instantly know its history and feel the emotions tied to it, the simplest of action can often carry most dire consequences. As a student at Mythos Academy, the school for the children of ancient warrior races sworn to protect the mortal realm from Loki, the chances of a normal, boring day are rare indeed.

As Nike's Champion, Gwen has been charged with locating the Helheim Dagger, the final item needed by Loki's followers to free him and unleash the Chaos Wars on earth. The Dagger was hidden by Gwen's mother, from whom Gwen inherited her Champion status—and who was murdered by Reapers before she could tell Gwen all her secrets. Though her magic, and her vengeful, talking sword, Vic, are formidable weapons, the Reapers are also hot on the trail of the dagger, and Gwen is starting to realize that she might be in over her head—and the consequences of failure are cataclysmic.

In the hopes of finishing a last-minute assignment before Winter Break ends, Gwen Frost and her friends, Daphne, Carson and Logan are touring the Crius Coliseum, taking in the display of mythical weapons and history assembled from the holdings at Mythos Academy. The day turns into a nightmare when a group of Reapers charge the building, killing students and smashing artifacts without any remorse, presumably in hopes of finding the Dagger. Gwen and her friends make a stand, driving the Reapers away, but no one is foolish enough to believe they won't be back, for the dagger, and for revenge against Gwen.

On top of that, she finds herself dealing with the fallout from the calamitous Winter Festival—not only the captured Reaper on whom Gwen must use her touch magic to try and find answers about the Reapers' secrets, but also the Fenrir wolf that Gwen saved during that hellish week, who has decided to move in with Gwen in her tiny dorm room (much to the consternation of her cantankerous sword, Vic). Not to mention the growing tension between Gwen and Logan, the strong and gorgeous Spartan who has never failed Gwen, and who she would give anything to be with. But Logan has secrets of his own, and Gwen knows that a single touch will show her all the things he is keeping from her, all the things that are keeping them apart.

Because we perceive the world of this book through Gwen's eyes, it's not always easy to see the events of the book in an objective way. Though she is convinced her Grandmother and her friends have more power and strength than she, it is impossible not to realize how brave Gwen is, and how her determination to prove herself worthy of being Nike's champion drives her to lengths few others are willing to go. Gwen's major disadvantage is that she has been sheltered from the world of the gods and Chaos War, so she is always learning as she goes, always enduring a trial by fire. And that means she is going to make mistakes—sometimes, deadly ones. But Gwen's real heroism lies in her ability to get up and try and fight, and love, again, and I adore that about her.

Thankfully, we begin to learn more about Logan's secrets and the real reasons for his fear of Gwen's magic. His scars run deep, his fears are very well founded, and his ability to face them for Gwen made me love him all the more. While every scene with Logan is memorable, there were a few here that were absolutely unforgettable. Perhaps more than anyone else in this book, Logan is willing to take the biggest risks, to brave his biggest fears—and he does it all for love of Gwen. His courage and his heart made all the darkest of the Chaos Wars ease for a little while, and I can't wait to see how their relationship develops from here.

I love the fact that Jennifer Estep isn't afraid to put her characters through very real Hell. Despite the fact that there were about a hundred pages left in the book, I was genuinely concerned for Gwen's fate during a crucial scene, and had to grapple with having all my expectations shattered numerous times over the course of the plot. And while I wasn't always pleased with the way things went for Gwen and the population of Mythos Academy, there was never a time when I doubted her or any of her friends. The world of the book, the stakes of the Chaos War and the danger of Loki's return felt much more real when that danger is allowed to touch the characters, and they feel the subsequent pain and doubt that suffering brings.

I wish there hadn't been quite as much repetition of plot points, or explanations of the events of the past books in the series, as it did slow down the plot, but when the action commences and secrets are revealed, I couldn't get enough. The mysteries aren't difficult to solve and I was able to guess the villain of this story pretty quickly, but that didn't spoil much of my enjoyment of the story, or my love for the complexities of Gwen, her family, and her fellow Mythos students. This is not a book (or a series) with easy answers or cheap rewards, but that makes it a much more fulfilling read, and I am fascinated to see how Gwen, Logan and the population of Mythos Academy will handle all the events of this book as the series continues!
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