July 19, 2013

REVIEW: Midnight Frost (Mythos Academy #5)

Midnight Frost (Mythos Academy #5), by Jennifer Estep
To Be Published July 30, 2013
Publisher:  K-Teen
Format: ARC - received from publisher
Genre:  YA, mythology, urban fantasy
To Buy:  Amazon * Barnes & Noble

Rating:  4.5 STARS

(From Goodreads) Here we go again …

Just when it seems life at Mythos Academy can’t get any more dangerous, the Reapers of Chaos manage to prove me wrong. It was just a typical night at the Library of Antiquities — until a Reaper tried to poison me. The good news is I’m still alive and kicking. The bad news is the Reaper poisoned someone else instead.

As Nike’s Champion, everyone expects me to lead the charge against the Reapers, even though I’m still hurting over what happened with Spartan warrior Logan Quinn. I’ve got to get my hands on the antidote fast — otherwise, an innocent person will die. But the only known cure is hidden in some creepy ruins — and the Reapers are sure to be waiting for me there.

The Mythos Academy series is a perfect study in character evolution. There are so many series where the main character is very static, and the only things that change from book to book are his or her interactions with the supporting characters and the situations in which they find themselves. That's all well and good for awhile, but not very fulfilling. As a reader, I get so much more enjoyment and satisfaction when I see the characters I love grow up literally before my eyes.

In Midnight Frost, Gwen is trying to get by after the horrible events in Crimson Frost (Mythos Academy #4). Nothing has changed with the Reapers; they are still actively trying to kill her. And, after an attempt on her life ends up critically endangering someone Gwen cares about, she and her friends (sans Logan, of course, who is still off trying to get his head together) set off on a dangerous quest to try and set things right again. 

This is the most action-packed book in the series with plenty of sword fights in lots of cool settings like the library (of course!), a train and an ancient goddess' ruins. There's also plenty of opportunities for Gwen to use her powers, and not just her touch magic. We see her use her ability to communicate with animals, which is my personal favorite part of her magic. And, Gwen uses it in a big way in Midnight Frost.

But, above all, I absolutely love seeing how much Gwen has grown over the course of the Mythos series. I almost felt like a proud parent reading about her kicking ass in Midnight Frost. I remember back in Touch of Frost (Mythos Academy #1), Gwen was shy, reserved, and a little angry. She didn't know a broadsword from a fencing foil. She was enemies with Daphne, wary of Logan and afraid of her own shadow.

But now? The best part of Midnight Frost is hearing Gwen's ruminations as she thinks on all her life has become over the past year. Her thoughts and actions have matured beyond measure, and that is all born out of hardship and experience and love.

Never fear all you Logan Freaking Quinn fans (of which I am one), he does make an appearance in Midnight Frost. The Spartan's conscience is still not wiped clean, but he is a man of honor, so he feels the need to help his friends in their near suicide mission. You gotta love that about him.

And, although the individual quest in this book is wrapped up, the over-arching goals that Nike has put on Gwen's shoulders remain. The set-up is good for Killer Frost (Mythos Academy #6). I can't wait to see what happens next.

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