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Crimson Frost by Jennifer Estep

Crimson Frost by Jennifer Estep

Crimson Frost (Mythos Academy 4)

By: Jennifer Estep

Release Date: December 24, 2012

Rating: 4 Stars

Summary:For a moment, a face flashed before my eyes—the most hideous face I’d ever seen. No matter how hard I tried to forget what had happened, I saw him everywhere I went. It was Loki—the evil god that I’d helped set free against my will.I should have known that my first official date with Logan Quinn was destined to end in disaster. If we’d gotten into a swordfight, or been ambushed by Reapers, I’d have been more prepared. But getting arrested mid-sip at the local coffee hangout? I didn’t see that one coming.I’ve been accused of purposely helping the Reapers free Loki from his prison—and the person leading the charge against me is Linus Quinn, Logan’s dad. The worst part is that pretty much everyone at Mythos Academy thinks I’m guilty. If I’m going to get out of this mess alive, I’ll have to do it myself…

It’s been awhile since I read the last book, Dark Frost, and even longer still since I read the first two at the frenetic insistence of a super fan (you know who you are), but, for a couple of reasons, I’ve always thought of the Mythos Academy series as dumb fun, not great but not unenjoyable either. Crimson Frost though, I think this series has finally found its stride – this is the first book that hasn’t gotten just a lukewarm reaction from me, because, let’s face it, the best book in the series so far deserves way more than just that.

Why? Because now with Loki on the loose and the fate of the world at stake, Jennifer Estep has really upped the ante – and it shows. The first book was really just a murder mystery, granted a murder mystery at a super special boarding school, but still a murder mystery, and the following books, while building up new stories on top of that, really didn’t start off by immediately putting Gwen in a tough situation like she gets into within the first chapter of Crimson Frost. This is a book that really forces Gwen to be on her toes the entire time – from the second she’s arrested and accused of helping Loki, she has to focus on proving her innocence and then stopping Loki, and I really appreciate that focus not only because it gives her way less time to neurose over the social ins and outs of Mythos Academy, the kind of stuff that dragged in the other books, but also because it really helped improve the overall flow of the story with far fewer interruptions. (Don’t worry, she still has plenty of scenes with Logan though, although he still apparently wears blue, weirdly enough.)

I’ve said before one of the unique things about this series is the supporting characters, particularly Daphne, because Gwen and Daphne are such different characters it’s really cool to see two friends like that. Sure, there’s a huge focus on Gwen because of the nature of the plot so there’s not as much focus on Daphne and Gwen’s other friends as I’d like, but even though I’m not sure how believable it is that almost the entire student body turns on Gwen the moment she’s accused of being a Reaper (sure, she hasn’t been popular to begin with, but that is some major hate) or that an accused Reaper would be allowed to wander around the campus like Gwen is, Daphne and Gwen’s other friends show up more than enough that their response to the accusations only makes the whole group seem even more awesome. And not just Daphne or Oliver or Carson or Vic who’s still the coolest weapon around, but even longtime characters like Morgan McDougall, Estep sure has a way of surprising me through even the most seemingly minor characters, she really stepped it up from the earlier books.

I wasn’t surprised by the overall plot – with Vivian Holler, Loki’s Champion still out there and up to no good, it’s easy to guess who’s behind Gwen’s troubles, but Estep adds enough twists and turns that’s it’s not immediately obvious what Vivian’s and Loki’s game is exactly, so part of Gwen being on her toes is actually showing off her street smarts by figuring out their exact scheme. It goes without saying Gwen’s not the same kind of clueless investigator she’s been in the past, she’s able to connect the dots as well as anybody given what she knows, and then pass it to a group she trusts, so even though it feels like things are only getting started, it also feels like everything’s really coming together, especially the ending. (Oh, and unlike the previous books, remember not to skip the bonus materials at the end, let’s just say there’s a very important letter in there.)

That doesn’t mean my criticisms of Dark Frost have all gone away though; something about Gwen’s tendency for long internal monologues with the same descriptions, rehashy explanations of old plots, and shallow and pretty generic explanations of the mythology for the fourth book in a row still bothers me and gives me the impression that the books are kind of ‘dumbed down’ with the story being told (by Gwen) instead of really being shown. But I think I can finally see why the Mythos Academy books have been so well received in certain quarters, I might criticize but I have to admit Jennifer Estep’s writing is also what makes these books so accessible. Maybe I’m just now getting used to it, but I think I’m finally appreciating that these are the elements that make these books one of the easiest paranormal fantasy series to dive into (or dive into again, in my case), everything’s explained right there. And for once, besides Gwen’s introductions of the myth setting that’s probably the same word for word book to book, I did see some pretty unique research too, a few well placed explanations on placards and name drops from Maat and Apate that, bottom line, helps the mythology fit into the story way better than it has in the past.

So. Best book so far? I definitely think so. Especially since I’m gonna have to take back a lot of what I’ve said about the previous books. What the hell, 4 stars.

Go to Mitch’s review on Goodreads.

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  1. April 6, 2013 at 3:50 pm

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