Dec 17 2012 2:30pm

First Look: Jennifer Estep’s Crimson Frost (December 24, 2012)

Jennifer Estep
Crimson Frost
Kensington / $9.95 print, $8.99 digital / December 24, 2012

For a moment, a face flashed before my eyes—the most hideous face I'd ever seen. No matter how hard I tried to forget what had happened, I saw him everywhere I went. It was Loki—the evil god that I'd helped set free against my will.

I should have known that my first official date with Logan Quinn was destined to end in disaster. If we'd gotten into a swordfight, or been ambushed by Reapers, I'd have been more prepared. But getting arrested mid-sip at the local coffee hangout? I didn't see that one coming. I've been accused of purposely helping the Reapers free Loki from his prison—and the person leading the charge against me is Linus Quinn, Logan's dad. The worst part is that pretty much everyone at Mythos Academy thinks I'm guilty. If I'm going to get out of this mess alive, I'll have to do it myself...

Poor Gwen Frost might have been hand-picked by the Greek goddess Nike to be her champion, but her life is far from blessed. Ever since she arrived at Mythos Academy, she's been in love with the sexy Spartan Logan Quinn, but her gift of psychometry has been a serious impediment to their developing relationship. When she touches him, she can see all his deep, dark secrets. Given Logan's traumatic past, being vulnerable terrified him, but now, in Jennifer Estep's Crimson Frost, he has finally opened up to Gwen, and they're able to go on a real date to a coffee shop like two normal teenagers.

I sighed and put my head on his shoulder. Logan hugged me to his chest. He didn't say anything, but he didn't need to. Just being close to him was enough for me, after all these months we'd spent dancing around each other.

But of course, they're not normal teenagers, and nothing goes as planned. Logan's dad Linus, who is the head of the Protectorate—the mythological police force—shows up at the coffee shop and accuses Gwen of conspiring with Reapers in order to free Loki, the evil Norse trickster god. Gwen is innocent, but her fellow students are quick to judge her.

Shocked gasps rippled through the coffee shop, and everyone looked at me. After a few seconds, the surprised stares shifted to horrified looks that quickly melted into harsh, accusing, angry glares.

Readers will empathize with Gwen's frustration over being falsely accused. Reapers killed her mother, after all, and the idea that she would be working with them is horrifying. Logan never questions his lady love's goodness. He tries to defend her to his dad, but Linus is like a character out of a Dickens novel. He's nasty, narrow-minded, and cruel. In one scene, he drags Gwen to the middle of the school ampitheater and announces to all the assembled students that Gwen is being accused of freeing Loki.

In seconds, everyone was on their feet screaming for my blood. A wave of collective rage and hate surged off the crowd, slamming into my stomach like a red-hot sword. Every angry shout, every enraged scream, every bitter word twisted the invisible blade in that much deeper, making me want to vomit from the phantom pain.

To make matters worse, Linus blithely informs Gwen that if she's convicted, she could be put to death! She justifiably freaks out, but Logan consoles her and, like a true hero, promises her that he'll defend her no matter what.

Logan and Gwen's relationship is further tested, however, by the arrival of his stepmother Agrona, who's also a member of the Protectorate. She seems nice enough, and Logan likes her, but Gwen suspects she might be evil. Logan's not open to Gwen's theories about Agrona—at all.

With all the family drama transpiring in Crimson Frost, readers will wonder if Logan and Gwen are ever going to get their happy ending. But first Gwen will have to beat the false charges against her and escape from the Reapers who are always trying to kill her. Talk about drama! There's never a dull moment when the stakes are literally life or death.

Brittany is a freelance writer, aspiring novelist and small business owner who hopes that heaven will be like a bookstore with an endless supply of free books, free coffee and super comfy chairs.

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Jamie Brenner
1. jamieloganbrenner
My daughter LOVES this series. Thanks -- you just reminded me to pre-order this one.
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