In the world of Urban Fantasy I’ve come to acquire a sweet tooth for certain things. Vampires and werewolves, Valkyrie, unique takes on witches, fairies, well done (and I mean really well done) love triangles, demons, and most of all Greek Mythology are a guaranteed purchase. Jennifer Estep’s debut into the YA world of Urban Fantasy (or paranormal YA) instantly made my list with it’s promise of Greek Mythology and Valkyries!! Her Elemental Assassin series already made my must-purchase-at-all-costs list and I just new this author would dazzle me.
Gwen is an interesting change from the Assassin in Esteps adult series. She’s weak physically and has a clear moral compass that she lives by. While most people might run to safety after finding a dead body with its throat sliced open, Gwen would rather make sure that the victim really couldn’t be saved. While I had been hoping for a strong kick-booty heroine to add to my YA shelves, Gwen clearly has other strengths to admire. Not only does she have nerves of still, but she’s a nerd girl—with comic books, nerd references, and hoodies to go with—and I can’t say no to a fellow nerd.
After the death of her mother Gwen is pulled into Mythos Academy. Where Valkyries, Amazons, Spartans, and other mythological legends go to school to learn how become Patheons, who fight against the Chaos. Basically the the good (Patheons) Vs. evil. Gwen doesn’t know why she’s been pulled into Mythos, she’s not a warrior. She’s a decedent of Gypsies, all of her family members just have a magical quirk. Her grandmother can see the past and future, her mom could tell when someone was telling the truth, and her gift is . . . well a little more awkward. She can touch any object and get it’s whole live story, that includes people.
A lot of the book deals with Gwen's sadness over her mother passing, blaming herself for her mother’s death, and learning to be happy again. It also deals with her self-doubt about her place in the Academy, and her worth. The way she kept knocking herself down over the potential love interest was annoying. Considering that the only guy she kissed was fantasizing about another girl, it’s understandable.
It’s a nice addition to the realm of teen heroes. Gwen is gaining her footing, building up sidekicks—er, I mean friends. Catching the eye of the hot guy, and get this he’s a Spartan. (Yes, 300 is mentioned and joked about.) Big secrets (which are way too obvious to the reader) come out of the closet and Gwen is learning she has what it takes to be a true Champion of the Gods.
The book’s plot and “giant twist” was so obvious that I wanted to strangle, the author for thinking that her readers would be too stupid to see it. Estep’s dazzling writing, fantastic characters, cool world, and the allure of the “magical school” helped to appease me. This series has room to grow, places to explore. In the end this wasn’t what I was expecting from Jennifer Estep, yet it was just what I needed. With ancient gods choosing champions to battle it out and deceit at every corner, it spells wicked fun!Sexual Content
: Teens are getting it on and BJ are the norm. Gwen doesn’t participate in any of this, but the kids are definitely frisky critters.3/5- Adored it, just a few minor details held it back.Originally posted at Book Whispers.