July 1, 2011
But lately, things have been weird, even for Mythos. First, mean girl Jasmine Ashton was murdered in the Library of Antiquities. Then, someone stole the Bowl of Tears, a magical artifact that can be used to bring about the second Chaos War. You know, death, destruction and lots of other bad, bad things. Freaky stuff like this goes on all the time at Mythos, but I'm determined to find out who killed Jasmine and why—especially since I should have been the one who died. . .
"Review from Bridget" By The Romance Reviews 2 years ago
Jennifer Estep has been one of my Authors To Watch for some time now—her writing is sharp and wonderfully detailed, and I always am able to sympathize with her characters, even in all their snarky, cynical glory. Hence, it is my very great pleasure to announce that her debut into the young adult genre is a fast-paced, thoughtful and absorbing story, with a wonderfully detailed world that I didn't want to leave until the final page was turned.
Six months ago, Gwen Frost's life was turned upside down. Following her mother's tragic death, Gwen's Grandmother made the decision to transfer Gwen out of her old high school and enroll her in Mythos Academy. Now she spends her days surrounded by the children of myths—Spartans, Valkyries and Amazons—learning how to do battle against the coming Chaos Wars, when Loki will return in his attempt to overthrow the gods.
But Gwen is the only gypsy at the school, and while her ability to absorb the emotions and history of anything she touches has proved useful in the past, it is nothing compared to the powers of her fellow students. Thus, Gwen is nearly invisible at school—except for Logan Quinn, the most deadly and most attractive student at Mythos.
But she has little time to question his sudden attentions when one of the most popular girls at school is murdered in the library while Gwen is working there. And though Gwen never liked Jasmine while she was alive, she cannot turn her back after feeling the emotions she suffered. But with traitors inside Mythos and Loki's forces gaining strength, Gwen is going to need to find some help and find it fast—because she might very well be the killer's next target…
Gwen is a terrifically atypical heroine. Like many young adult novels, she's an outsider, new to the school and to her own powers. Unlike so many other characters, though, Gwen isn't ‘cool'. Her powers aren't all that spectacular, especially compared to those of the other students at Mythos. Still agonizing over the loss of her mother, Gwen is snarky and unimpressed by the majesty of Mythos Academy, not to mention the myths and legends that she is being told to accept as fact. For her, happiness is her comic books and the sweet treats her Grandmother bakes, not preparing for the coming Chaos War and defending mortals from the wrath of ancient gods. I liked that she was at once very vulnerable and a determined survivor. Even if her gifts are not as flashy as those of her fellow students, her heart is true and her resolve to discover the truth behind her classmate's murder is unshakeable.
Logan is one of those incredible characters who manages to fill up a scene even when he doesn't say a word. I wish we had seen a bit more of him, not only because I found him a complete and total heart-throb, but because there is obviously a great deal more going on under his unflappable exterior than he is willing to show, and an enormous amount of potential for him to become a truly complex and fascinating character. He and Gwen are certainly an interesting pair, and while there were a few moments when I was worried that she was affording him a little too much praise and power in their budding relationship, it seems as if Mr. Quinn is as wary of Gwen's powers as she is of his. The prospect of the secrets he is desperate to protect has me quite intrigued.
While I was able to figure out the mystery fairly early and had little trouble guessing how the plot was going to play out, I still enjoyed watching everything unfold. Gwen's terrifically snarky observations and her unflinching honesty made her an excellent narrator and I was more than happy to follow wherever her story led. I have to admit that it was nice to read a story about a character who wasn't inexplicably perfect, or excessively gifted. In fact, Gwen begins the story as perhaps the weakest student in terms of her magical abilities, and her schoolwork isn't faring that much better. Thus, it's that much more significant and exciting when she begins to get her bearings and take charge of the events that are swirling around Mythos Academy.
And speaking of Mythos, I thought the amount of imagination that went into creating the world of this book was phenomenal. The blending of myths and legends that really haven't been touched in other paranormal books to date is done very well, and the ominous atmosphere of the school, with its ever-watchful gargoyles and looming statues, is detailed to shiver-inducing satisfaction. While I can understand Gwen's reluctance to dive into the privilege and pomp of Mythos, I'd love a chance to ramble around the library where she works and have the chance to see the incredible artifacts that are stored there.
Most series openers feel slow to start as readers are introduced to the world of the book and its inhabitants. This book grabs you from page one and whisks you along for a fast-paced and fascinating read. There is a great deal of promise in this series and I have a feeling that the next book in the series is going to be even better.