HERE). I had mixed feelings about the first one. This one, on the other hand, left me feeling pleasantly surprised.
In Kiss of Frost, Gwen is convinced that a Reaper is out to kill her because of the events of the first novel (which is all I can say, and still try to be spoiler free here). Gwen is still relatively unskilled when it comes to weapons and self-defense, but she does have a talent for investigation. Thus, wanting to prove herself and uncover her would-be killer, Gwen uses her psycometry powers to sift through her classmates' secrets.
I liked the winter setting and themes. I fully expected this book to be set entirely at the academy, which would have been fine. Instead, most of the story takes place at a ski resort where the Academy hosts a Winter Carnival. The change of scenery makes the story seem fresh.
As I said in my first review, the characters are quite interesting and thoughtfully written. In this book Gwen has finally started to come out of her shell socially, but she's still a fairly geeky and introverted character. I love Daphne, Gwen's best friend, who is the perfect blend of cheerleader and warrior princess, with a dash of computer nerd on top. Logan, the obvious love interest, is still hot and intriguing, and his character is finally beginning to show some depth. I also liked how the background characters were handled; Oliver, Carson, Preston, and so forth. The author manages to give them distinct and interesting personalities in very few pages.
As an aside, yes, there is actual kissing in Kiss of Frost. But I'm not telling you who kisses whom, because that would be a spoiler.
The overarching plot of the series seems to be headed in an interesting direction. This story by itself is pretty small and not overly exciting, but it does feel like it's building to something epic.
Gwen makes some questionable judgement calls. There are times when she seems to be willfully refusing to see obvious facts. This is frustrating for the reader, but I will acknowledge that Gwen is new to her role in the Mythos world, so a few mistakes may be excusable.
The only other complaint I have is that these books have a lot of untapped potential. The author has taken the time to build a world where all gods and goddesses and mythological creatures from all cultures exist, but she doesn't do much with them. Instead we get mortals fighting other mortals, with a little help from a giant killer wolf. There is so much more that could be done with this kind of world building, and as much as I enjoyed the story a part of me is disappointed at the wasted opportunity.
In the end, my expectations for this book were met and I dare say exceeded slightly. In the world of YA fantasy novels, these aren't anything special or ground-breaking, but they are enjoyable. I recommend them. 4 stars.