By Melissa de la Cruz and Michael JohnstonBlurb: From New York Times bestselling author Melissa de la Cruz and Michael Johnston comes this remarkable first book in a spellbinding new series about the dawn of a new kind of magic.
Welcome to New Vegas, a city once covered in bling, now blanketed in ice. Like much of the destroyed planet, the place knows only one temperature—freezing. But some things never change. The diamond in the ice desert is still a 24-hour hedonistic playground and nothing keeps the crowds away from the casino floors, never mind the rumors about sinister sorcery in its shadows.
At the heart of this city is Natasha Kestal, a young blackjack dealer looking for a way out. Like many, she's heard of a mythical land simply called “the Blue.” They say it’s a paradise, where the sun still shines and the waters are turquoise. More importantly, it’s a place where Nat won’t be persecuted, even if her darkest secret comes to light.
But passage to the Blue is treacherous, if not impossible, and her only shot is to bet on a ragtag crew of mercenaries led by a cocky runner named Ryan Wesson to take her there. Danger and deceit await on every corner, even as Nat and Wes find themselves inexorably drawn to each other. But can true love survive the lies? Fiery hearts collide in this fantastic tale of the evil men do and the awesome power within us all.
Genres: Young Adult, Romance, Fantasy, Dystopian
Publication Date: September 17, 2013
Series: Heart of Dread (book 1)
My Rating: 3 stars
When I first saw that this was a Read Now on Netgalley, I freaked. First off, it had the newly designed cover, which looks a lot like the movie Frozen. And honestly, who doesn't love that movie?? Secondly, this would be my first experience with Melissa de la Cruz; and while she is a popular author, I had heard a plethora of opinions about her Blue Bloods series, both good and bad, so I was nervous. While I can't speak on her Blue Bloods series, I can say this about Frozen; I liked it. It didn't start out that way, but I ended up being won over by the end of the book. In fact, I were to judge the end alone, this would definitely be a four star book; however I had a rocky beginning with the book, mainly due to small annoyances.
These small annoyances included, first and foremost,info dumps scattered in the plot. REALLY obvious info dumps; the most unforgivable being a paragraph about Wes' Marine sergeant origins. It flat out tells readers his past; there is no showing" whatsoever. When there was no more info to dump on readers, this complaint went out the door, but in the beginning it was rather vexing.
Secondly, textlish. I'll admit, this is one problem that never went away. I mean, a language made from texting...that cannot be made to not sound ridiculous. Especially when it is compared to "Egyptian Hieroglyphics" (which, by the way, we learn through an info dump.)
Another thing that I found annoying was Juliet. Or rather, the lack of much information about Juliet, and the fact that Wes gets over her in about two seconds. We get this quote from him in the book. Keep in mind, he really hasn't known the main character, Nat, for that long at all.
"...his memory of Jules--of her thick, brown, almost russet colored hair and smoke-gray eyes--had faded a little. All he could think about was Nat.
Aside from those complaints, this book ended up being quite entertaining. First, the plot is actually pretty unique...which, to be honest, I was not expecting because this seems, from the blurb, like it takes some of the more predictable dystopian and fantasy plots and mixes them together. But the authors managed to make them their own, and I can say that for the most part, the storyline was 'new', not rehashed. This is apparent especially at the end.
Not only is the plot unique, it is also incredibly addicting. Being a person who is either in love or in hate with fantasy plots, it's always kind of a gamble when I read a fantasy book. In this case, the storyline was great. It was fast paced and interesting, with unpredictable twists.
Also, I liked a lot of the characters. Wes and Nat were okay MCs; I'd seen their type before, so they weren't really the characters I gravitated towards. Actually, I liked the secondary characters, especially Shakes and Illiana. Shakes was kind, sweet, and loyal, and I felt awful for him once I heard what had happened to him in his childhood. Illiana was very mysterious and ethereal; even when the book gave me more information about her, there was still a mysterious quality to her.
Frozen was a unique story that I loved. However, it was by no means perfect, and the beginning was a bit of a struggle to get through, if I am being honest. However, it was worth it in the end. I will be looking forward to reading more of this series.