Since I have not read any of the other books in the series, I had to figure out the “world” that Estep created. While not without its challenges, I was able to piece it together. There is this god, Loki, who is pretty much the personification of chaos. His minions, called Reapers, are able to possess people pretty much at will. (I am unclear as to whether or not people must consent to this act.) In a previous book, Gwen’s boyfriend Logan stabbed her and became a Reaper, at least for a time. She is brokenhearted when he leaves and basically tells her not to look for him.
While she is at the Mythos Academy working on her training, she is working at the Library of Antiquities. Nickamedes, the head librarian, is supervising Gwen’s activities as she shelves books, reads, and tries to stay out of trouble. An attempt to poison Gwen goes awry, and Nicamedes is poisoned instead. Gwen and her friends must go on a quest to find the plant that will save Nicamedes’ life—all the while dodging Reaper attacks and other dangers.
This book is very populated—oh, so many characters. I cannot fault Estep for this because it would have been easier to keep them all straight had I read the other books in the series. Gwen’s posse includes a Valkerie, a talking sword, a dog, a coach, a friend’s boyfriend, a bodyguard, and random friends. (And a partridge in a pear tree…just kidding!) In addition to those characters that I am assuming have been around for most of the series, Gwen meets her cousin, Rory, for the first time, and both of them have some struggles understanding their parents and their decisions.
Predictably, as Gwen and the posse thought, the Reapers show up to try to prevent them from getting the exotic plant that they need to help Nicamedes. What is more surprising is that Logan shows up and Gwen has to decide if they can move forward in their relationship.
I will give Estep points. She has created a comprehensible world and I had no trouble understanding the back-story. Included in the back of this book are “cheat sheets” about the students, the adults, the gods and monsters, and the Mythos Academy. Thank you!! I wish that every author that wrote series books did this. It was invaluable for me to keep up with the action.
The Reaper attacks seemed predictable and I had no doubt at all that our crew would be able to take them. I would have liked to see a bit more nuance in the bad guys. You know—make me doubt that all will turn out well. In addition, I did not doubt at all the mission would succeed. Gwen’s kindness gets her some advantages that save the day, and I thought that was a nice message.
Other than a few random mild examples of profanity, Midnight Frost has nothing that would prevent me from recommending it to the young adult readers I know. I think they would like it. It is bit of a step up from middle reader fiction about mythology and I can see them enjoying the fast plot and the battle scenes.
*I received a copy of this book in exchange for an honest review. Regina