In this series opener, Estep adapts Greek and Norse mythology to encompass contemporary teenage warriors training to duke out ancient rivalries.
Gwen Frost’s psychometry leaves her little in common with magically gifted Valkyrie, Spartan and Amazon students at Mythos Academy. When she survives a crime that renders a classmate dead in a pool of blood, she resolves to uncover the murderer, whom administrators readily conclude is an enemy serving an evil god seeking world domination. On a hunt for clues, Gwen demonstrates an aptitude for breaking and entering, blackmail and espionage, and leverages her gift of touch to descry secrets. Despite ingenious worldbuilding, Estep follows many common conventions: Gwen’s mother has recently died, and Gwen is the poor girl among rich kids at a new school where she hides in corners. Her blanching at nude statues or using overly childish aphorisms feels incongruous, given Gwen's casual attitude about the sex lives and illicit party habits of her peers; however, Gwen earns teen cred when she befriends a popular girl and asks out her crush. Fortune wildly favors her in some close calls with undecipherable foes, and, again following a popular paradigm, Gwen conveniently learns of her unique legacy at the very moment when she bravely steps into the big shoes her predecessors have left her.
Fast-paced, edgy and imaginative enough. (Urban fantasy. 12 & up)