Wednesday, March 6, 2013

REVIEW: Crimson Frost by Jennifer Estep

Crimson Frost (Mythos Academy, #4) Crimson Frost by Jennifer Estep
My rating: 3 of 5 stars

In my review of book 3, I declared that the series officially sucked. Crimson Frost is book 4, and I expected that suckiness to continue. And it did for the first half of the book, and then OMG... it actually turned — sssh, careful I don’t want to scare away this feeling — *whisper* it actually turned things around and got GOOD! You read that right, good. G-O-O-D! Say it loud, say it proud. Goooood!

The first half of the book

The last book was so bad it crushed my motivation, despite my friend’s encouragement, to read the next book, Crimson Frost. I would pick up Crimson Frost, read a page, immediately put it down, and read another book. It was only because I was really bored and resolved to clear my NetGalley reviews queue that I finally scrounged up some ugly clump of motivation to read Crimson Frost.

OMFG was the first half of the book aggravating. It was bad enough that Gwen was a pathetic excuse of a heroine, but when the Protectorate, the magical government, finally deigned to show up they turned out to be a pathetic excuse of a law organization. Where the fuck were these people in book 1? I could forgive their absence in about book 1 because nobody knew how bad things were going to go. But then what about book 2? And book fucking 3? Where. Were. They? End-of-the-world terrorists have hit the school and tried to kill a bunch of students, particularly Gwen, especially Gwen, Multiple fucking Times and you don’t even send at least an investigator?

When they finally show up in book 4, they arrested Gwen and announced to the entire school that she was a suspected Reaper. They openly and loudly accused her of belonging to those end-of-the-world terrorists who have been terrorizing the students and their families since forever. You know, those people who murdered their loved ones, sometimes right in front of their faces, making for some traumatic memories and shit. What the ever lovely fucking hell? Let me break it down by the number of how WRONG what happened there:

+ 5 reasons to rage

1) Gwen was already an outcast at the school. The Protectorate just effectively cemented her social status. What is with Young Adult fictions’ irrational and perpetual desire to ostracize their protagonist? For fuck’s sake, Gwen was already a special snowflake. Making her out to be like Jesus is over the top.

2) Gwen is a minor. Shouldn’t there be some laws protecting minor’s identity in an on-going investigation? Not to mention the preclusion of a death sentence if she is found guilty. Do the Protectorate simply not give a shit if the accused is a child or an adult? So many ethical issues there that I was shocked to stupor.

3) How is announcing Gwen is a suspected Reaper to the entire school going to help the investigation? What fucked up law enforcement protocols were the Protectorate following? Is suffering your peers’ homicidal rage part of the punishment for being accused? Do the Protectorate believe guilty until proven innocent? Was the Protectorate so primitive in the science of law enforcement that they have no idea that a secret investigation would make the process go faster, smoother, and more productive? How the hell have these people managed to conceal the magical world from the humans all this time?

4) Recall that Gwen is a special snowflake, particularly that she is Nike’s Champion. Nike is the Greek goddess of Victory, and out of all the deities across the world she is the only one who defeated Loki. Yeah, I’m pretty sure a Champion wouldn’t be a Reaper, especially not a Nike’s Champion. By pretty sure, I mean absolutely sure if the sarcasm was too subtle there. If being Nike’s Champion is not a sign of innocence, that Gwen is the chosen one to defeat Loki once and for all, I don’t know what is. Admittedly, I could understand why the Protectorate would need proof but the fact that Vic the talking sword, which only a Nike’s Champion can wield, is in Gwen’s possession should have been all the proof that they needed.

5) Speaking of Nike, helloooooo! Your Champion is in fucking trouble. Some serious fucking trouble. What the hell are you currently doing that you can’t make an appearance for a few seconds and tell it straight to the Protectorate that Gwen is innocent? I get the trial by fire, adversity builds strength and character, blah blah blah, but this was unnecessary. Nike is not doing herself a favor by having someone she picked as Champion die by the hands of people that are supposed to be on her side. You do not endear your followers by treating them like diapers; you’re supposed to be the good guys. Honestly, I’m beginning to become racist against the deities and think Loki is not the only one who needs to be done away with once and for all.

In sum, for the first half of the book, Gwen sucked. The Protectorate sucked. Last but not least, Logan should quit calling Gwen “Gypsy girl” because it’s not endearing; it’s aggravating. Use her fucking name, Logan. Her name is Gwen; use her fucking name.

The last half of the book

I did not expect the last half to be good, but it was. Shy of great as a matter of fact. I loved that Gwen took action of her own initiative to rescue herself, that she was not going to let herself become a Joan of Arc repeat. She investigated. She acted with caution unlike the last book where she did not whatsoever and ended up being like one of those characters from a teenage horror movie who you yell at for being a dumbass and give little pity when they inevitably die due to their dumbassness. Though there were moments when she wanted to pull a Lone Hero act, she thankfully did not and trusted her friends to help her investigate, provide backup in battles, etc.

There was teamwork. There was fucking teamwork. Hallelujah! You don’t know how rare it is for a YA protagonist to work in teams out of their own free will, who depend on their friends, who don’t wait till the end when things are desperate and bad to finally accept some goddamn help when the protagonist realizes that their special snowflake status ain’t gonna save the day. Gwen was actually honest and cooperative with her friends from the start of troubles.

Moreover, Gwen was finally kicking some ass. Okay, I admit it was illogical how she suddenly turned from an amateur warrior to a competent one who was on equal footings with the Reapers who have been warriors their entire lives. She hasn’t mastered her powers whereas the other Reapers have yet she was able to kick their asses. However, at this point I’ll take what I can get. Gwen had her ass kicked book 1 through 3; it’s wearisome and pathetic. The heroine’s fighting skills were based on cracked logic in book 4, but at this point I’ll accept it, embrace it even, if it meant not having the heroine be the bad guys’ favorite punching bag.

+ my favorite scene

I actually have a favorite scene in the series now, I kid you not. It is the scene when Gwen and Logan were battling to death at the end. Gwen have been through a couple of near-death events now, but this one I finally felt all the feelings. I finally felt enough to be wowed.

In Conclusion

I rate Crimson Frost 3-stars for I liked it. Series, you have achieved redemption. Don’t fuck it up.

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