Reviewed by Tori
Favorite Quote: The first day of school is always the worst.
School just started and Rory Forseti already knows it going to be a bad one. A spartan at the Mythos Academy in Colorado, she becomes persona non grata when it’s revealed her parents were famous Reaper assassins. Even her heroics in helping to defeat Loki and his minions last years doesn’t gain her any respect from the student body. But she doesn’t have time to dwell on that because something weird happening at school. She meets a surly Viking, is asked out by the hottest guy in school, discovers the library has some strange new artifacts and oh yeah, there are chimeras running around trying to kill her.
She might not be the most popular girl in school…but she may be the only one who can save it.
Fans of Jennifer Estep’s original Mythos Academy starring Gwen Frost will remember meeting Rory when Gwen travels to the Colorado school and learns they are cousins. Rory is noticeably antagonistic but that is because she just learned her parents were not the heroes she thought but Reapers. Rory and Gwen soon sort things out and become friends despite the distance. This spin-off of the original series deal focuses on Rory and her journey of personal discovery as she gets her own adventure while she attempts to reconcile the mom and dad she loved with the fact there were deadly killers. I do recommend reading the original series if just to understand the world and long-running story arc.
Spartan Frost opens to Rory acknowledging her anger at her parents’ deception and hoping but not expecting her fellow students to forgive her. An emotionally charged day follows Rory into the library where she is forced to try and save a fellow student and herself when a series of mythological monsters appear to kill them. This leads to her meeting and being invited to join a secret group of students who are working with the Protectorate to uncover the new Reaper leader, his plans, and recover the stolen artifacts. As Rory gets to know her new friends and ferret out the secrets of her fellow students, she is given an opportunity to prove her loyalty to everyone around her and learns a few truths herself.
Estep is known for her adventurous female strong fantasy laced stories that promise and deliver plenty of action, suspense, intrigue, and humor. Her YAs are especially popular as the age-appropriate narrative easily connects readers with its high school character base. Plausible world building and slow, very slow, burning romances guarantee a good time will be had. While I am happy to back in his world, the setup, plotlines, characterization-even the romance -gave me some pause as I felt I had already been down this road. Both girls are orphans, a bff who is a Valkyrie, a love interest is a secretive boy, conflict scenes take place in a library, a party, and a dance. And most telling of all, they are each offered a chance to champion for a goddess with the help of a talking sword.
Despite the deja vu feeling, Estep strives to make this story it’s own with its new plot lines, an appealing characterization of Rory, and a goddess whose own feelings of betrayal and redemption mirror Rory’s. Rory’s gift is that of a spartan-she is a female Logan Quinn. :) She doesn’t need to learn how to fight like Gwen did. As Estep used that to build and propel the romance in the first series, I’m curious what will be the catalyst here.
An ambitious cast of secondary characters awaits introduction, though in my opinion, Rory the only unique one who seems to offer readers a new outlook in the world. Lance, Drake, Ian, Takada, Zoe…they are all subdued copies of their originals in the Frost series. A couple of cameos will delight fans though I can’t help but feel this may become the unintentional force that drives people towards the series.
The main conflict is certainly energetic and I wasn’t surprised to see who Estep makes the new Reaper’s leader. Estep adds to twists and turns to keep readers on their toes while offering up clues as to what happens next. While I definitely had issues with this spin-off, my curiosity is peaked just enough for me to try book two, tentatively titled Hard Frost (I have a feeling this will change) and set to release in 2018.