I don't usually read YA fiction, but I am a big fan of Jennifer Estep's Elemental Assassin books... and that is what led me to this first installment of her new Mythos Academy series.
The story centers on a teenage Gypsy named Gwen. She has the give of psychometry, which means she gets psychic impressions from the things she touches. Shortly after the death of her mom, Gwen's grandmother enrolled her in the Mythos Academy, a school for teenagers with special gifts. The halls are filled with Valkyrie, Amazons, Spartans, and other skilled warriors. But Gwen feels out-of-place. She's no warrior and she certainly doesn't come from the privileged background of her peers.
Things go from bad to worse for Gwen when she discovers the bloody body of the most popular girl in school in the library. In the aftermath, she is shocked to see that no one is mourning for the dead girl and no one wants to dig beneath the surface to solve her murder. So Gwen decides she will use her powers to figure out what really happened to Jasmine. The story follows her investigation and people who enter her life as a result.
This book has the same easy and relaxed writing style I've grown to love from Estep. Her books use simple and clear language which allows you to forget about the words and focus on the story. The concept of the series is pretty good, though not entirely groundbreaking. Gwen is a likeable heroine. And Estep does well to advance her story while still leaving the door open for much more in future books.
I liked the book, but I didn't love it. My biggest problem was in the repetition of thoughts we got from Gwen, especially in the first half of the book... her what-if's about her mom, her guilt, her angst, her same questions and reflections over and over. It did peter out before it drove me crazy, but I couldn't quite ignore it. Also, I didn't like how things played out with Logan, the love interest. I know Gwen was supposed to feel jerked around, but dammit, I felt jerked around by his hot-and-cold behavior. And while I know this is an ongoing story, I'm a stickler for an HEA, and I was annoyed by the resolution of this part of the storyline... or lack thereof.
I did enjoy watching Gwen begin her transition into something more than she was at the beginning of the story. I think over the course of the series, she is really going to blossom and that will be what makes the books shine. 4 stars.
*ARC Provided by author for review