December 1, 2011
"Review from Bridget" By The Romance Reviews 2 years ago
It isn't often that a second book in a series has the same drive and energy as the first, but KISS OF FROST is a rare exception—in fact, it might even be better. With characters so real they get under your skin and stay in your memories and a plot that has moments of real emotional power, this is a series that is not to be missed.
On one hand, life has definitely improved for Gwen Frost, Gypsy, empath, and second-year student at Mythos Academy, since we last saw her. She has a best friend in Daphne, a Valkyrie with a passion for pink, and since being named the Champion of the Goddess Nike, she has begun training with Logan Quinn, the enigmatic Spartan who has already saved her live (twice) and thoroughly captured her heart.
But at the same time, Gwen is struggling to master the skills of a warrior—skills her classmates have honed from birth—at a desperate pace, knowing that it is only a matter of time until the Reapers that want her dead return. And though Logan has admitted that he cares for her, he refuses to trust her with his secrets, sure that whatever it is he is hiding will change Gwen's perception of him irrevocably. Not to mention that he's still dating someone who isn't Gwen, and no matter where she turns, Gwen seems to see them together.
As the semester draws to a close, the only thing on any Mythos student's mind is the Winter Carnival, to be held at a ski lodge in the mountains near the school. Though the proposed keg parties and mayhem of the weekend is hardly Gwen's idea of a good time, she agrees to go, if only to take her mind off Logan and to find some peace from the constant threat of Reaper attacks.
It seems at first that her plan is working—a heartbreakingly handsome student from New York seems fascinated with Gwen, and his attention promises to make the weekend quite memorable. That is, until Gwen realizes there is no escaping a Reaper hell-bent on revenge, or the Fenrir wolf, the Reaper's huge and supposedly vicious animal servant who watches her from the woods. And when her enemy is finally revealed, Gwen realizes that no amount of training can protect her, and no lessons will ever prepare her for the true evil that is mounting against the forces at Mythos.
I love Gwen and her development through this series. She is strong, determined, and genuine in everything she does, and a charmingly snarky narrator. Like the best of heroines, she never allows her man to fight her battles for her, and always finds a way to overcome the obstacles in her path, not with outside assistances or sheer luck, but through her own concentration and powers (and the aide of Vic, her beautifully curmudgeonly talking sword). No longer a complete loner, Gwen's friendship with Daphne is as firm and true as it might be unlikely—they are the ultimate Odd Couple, and all better for it. Her growing camaraderie with her Spartan trainers Oliver and Kenzie was also genuinely surprising, and I'm really eager to see how their story will be developed.
And then, as always, there is Logan. While I would have liked to have seen more of his everyday interactions with Gwen or more details about their morning training, there is no doubt that some of the most emotional moments in the book come when these two are together. Because Gwen cannot touch anything without feeling the emotions or memories embedded in them, people included, her interactions with Logan are that much more tense—and intense—as she battles the desire to know him better and the fear of how that knowledge will affect their future. We are indeed learning some fascinating details about Logan's history and I have no doubt that while he and Gwen will have a lot of work ahead of them, this is a relationship that will be worth the work and the wait.
While I wasn't too surprised by the eventual villain or their motivation, the aftermath of Gwen's mountaintop adventures left me stunned. Not only is there some sinister foreshadowing of the coming Chaos War, but the revelations about Gwen and her family are unforgettably intense. I was enormously proud of how Gwen dealt with the burden of her gifts and her duty, as it was just further proof that she is more than worthy of both of them. This is a series that doesn't pull punches, and isn't afraid to deal in the world of gray that exists between right and wrong, or between the definition of hero and villain. There are no easy answers for Gwen, but she is more than strong enough to handle the tough choices and the heartache that come with being a teenager and a Champion.
As before, the world-building element in this book are wonderful, complete with atmospheric settings, eerily fascinating statues that watch from the shadows, and detailed stories of Loki and the gods and goddess that the students of Mythos serve. Even more compelling, however, are the fascinating and complex characters that inhabit this world. This was a terrific addition to a series that is fast becoming something of an addiction for me, and I'm eagerly waiting for the next installment.