In her last book in the fast-moving, fun fantasy “Mythos Academy” series, Jennifer Estep gives readers a finale that will satisfy. She keeps the story going with enough suspense and a few surprising twists so that it’s difficult to put the book down. But when it’s all read and digested, like a fine meal, it’s a series to savor.
Estep created a school, Mythos Academy, for the scions of ancient warriors such as Amazons, Spartans, Valkyries, and others with special talents. The protagonist, Gwen Frost, did not know she was one of them until her mother died and her grandmother sent her to Mythos Academy.
Gwen is not physically talented -- she needs to work hard at protecting herself and fighting. And those are talents she really needs throughout the series. Many of the other students don't think much of Gwen's abilities because of her lack of strength, but Gwen is tough. Gwen’s talent is the ability to touch an object and know who it belonged to and what was done to it. She also learns about the person who held the object.
Gwen discovers that the goddess Nike has chosen her as Nike's "champion," or defender.
The crux of the series is that Loki, the evil god who had been imprisoned by the other gods, has escaped from his prison and, with his followers, the Reapers, is threatening to ruin the world (more or less). And it’s Gwen’s fault that he escaped, so besides being Nike's champion, she really feels that she needs to be the one to destroy him.
Gwen is stubborn and refuses to listen to authority -- just like many teens (who will be able to identify with her in that respect). She is also brave and loyal and clever. And her best trait -- kindheartedness -- repays her often.
Estep cleverly allows all the gods and goddesses of many, many cultures to exist in the pantheon of gods at Mythos Academy. There are not only Greek and Roman gods; there are the African trickster gods, Norse gods, and others.
The series is fantastic and fun. It’s not full of deep imagery or thematic elements. It is full of delightful characters, a quick-moving plot, believable dialogue, and lots of fighting and fantasy. The romance is not the basis of the conflict (good versus evil), while still serving to heighten the tension in several of the books.
Yes, it's predictable. But also, YES, it's a great, quick read. After Estep has managed to keep all the books in the series interesting -- a very difficult task -- don't you want to find out how it all ends? Like "Harry Potter," the last book must be read.
So sit down, open the first book, “Touch of Frost,” and enjoy. Then move on to “Kiss of Frost” and “Dark Frost.” Book four is “Crimson Frost” and book five is “Midnight Frost.” There are also several ebooks (novellas) about some of the characters in the series.
Please note: This review is based on the advance reader's copy provided by the author for review purposes.
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