Excellent! Vaughn gives the reader well-written, engaging characters, great pacing and humor. The story arc ties together several subplots that are inExcellent! Vaughn gives the reader well-written, engaging characters, great pacing and humor. The story arc ties together several subplots that are interesting in their own right. Loved it....more
Outstanding: great world building, well-drawn characters, and a plot that is compelling and well-paced. High quality writing style, too. One of the beOutstanding: great world building, well-drawn characters, and a plot that is compelling and well-paced. High quality writing style, too. One of the best urban fantasy series I've come across. ...more
YA urban fantasy titles find their way into my reading on a regular basis because something about the formula fundamentally appeals to me. Estep pullsYA urban fantasy titles find their way into my reading on a regular basis because something about the formula fundamentally appeals to me. Estep pulls together elements found in a number of successful JFIC/YA series.
Our main character, Gwen, is a loner who feels the pinch of not having a lot of money compared to the rich snobs all around. She is a super-special snowflake in terms of her abilities. (Frost? Snowflake? Ha!) She struggles to keep up with better equipped classmates since she's clueless about the existence of this paranormal community. But what do you know? Kazam! She's the chosen one of the lead god for the forces of good, and it'll be down to her and her friends to keep evil from making a comeback.
Meanwhile, bullies push the insecure kids around, then get their comeuppance. Gwen crushes on boy, who crushes on her; each one is struggling with their own secret issues, which keep them from acting on their mutual attraction they like the formula. This is Estep's first YA book, and hopefully future books in the series will develop away from existing devices into something that stands out on its own.
Similar to the JFic Percy Jackson series, young people are being trained as champions of the gods to keep the Big Bad from making a comeback; their bloodlines give them certain heroic powers, but they're still vulnerable to their emotions, in teenage overdrive, and their mortal bodies. The physical aspects of becoming an adult receive a lot of attention, namely, fascination with sex as a new experience.
The location: boarding school. Mythos Academy has a challenging peer group since the boarding school concept has been used in the wildly successful Vampire Academy novels as well as Evernight, Hex Hall, etc. I understand why the campus setting is a useful plot device since it gets those pesky parents out of the way, and giving students the chance to sneak in and out of each others' dorms. We're told that students are sent to the prep school to get into prestigious universities... but the student body age range is from 16 to 21. In both the UK and US, students are graduating from university by the time they are 21. It's a handy age bracket for Estep's emphasis from the outset on teenage sex and drinking (substance abuse is a problem at boarding schools, according to friends of mine who have attended them), but the fixation of sex could have used a lighter touch.
Estep has the experience to make the plot really fun with the action goes down. I really like the way she gives a positive alternative to the mean girls dynamic. Non-romantic relationships can be as complex and interesting as the angst of falling in love. I hope this aspect deepens as the series continues. ...more