Frozen by Melissa de la Cruz, Michael Johnston

Frozen (Heart of Dread, #1) by Melissa de la Cruz, Michael Johnston
Series: Heart of Dread #1
Published by Putnam Publishing Group on September 17, 2013
Pages: 325
Format: eBook
Source: NetGalley
Purchase on: Amazon// Barnes & Noble
Add to: Goodreads

I voluntarily reviewed a complimentary copy of this book. This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.


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.


So, I decided to pick this up on NetGalley because I was a fan of de la Cruz’s Blue Bloods series. Even though NetGalley has this book listed as being released October 2014, Frozen was actually published a year prior. Perhaps there were changes made between the two editions, but if there were, it made no difference. Frozen was a quick read because you spend the entire time just skimming to get to the point only to reach the end and realise there was none.

The world has undergone a series of catastrophic events resulting in massive air and water pollution. The sun is pretty much a non factor (because of the air pollution? because it blew up? who knows! the reader doesn’t) and everything has frozen over. With these extreme climate changes, you’d think there would be a surplus of scientists trying to solve the problem, right? WRONG! Scientists have disappeared, just like books and everything else. Music is stuck in the 90s/00s because no one really made any new music once the disasters started. Surprisingly, we don’t hear about an influx of religious zealots either. Normally, in apocalyptic situations such as these, you would think with science unable to help or explain, the religious fanatics of the world would rise to power to put forth their own agendas and reasoning behind recent afflictions. Instead, the world of Frozen is devoid of both and in their place is the internet. Now, we have no books or new music, so what do people do with the internet? Do they watch old movies and shows? Or are people still creating new things? If they are creating new things to watch, then why aren’t they creating new music? What made these entertainers draw the line? Do people only use the internet for news? It doesn’t seem like there’s much to report in this new future. Then there’s the new language that has replaced basic English — Textlish. Yes, the majority of folks use textlish to communicate. I don’t know if this is supposed to be a disparaging social commentary on the prevalence of shorthand used amongst the youth, which seems odd given that this book is targeted at the youth, just like the majority of de la Cruz’s books. Perhaps the authors thought this would just be something funny to show just how low civilisation has become, but it really just comes off as the curmudgeonly misgivings of someone out of touch.

Aside from the world building issues I listed above, the story was…. just okay. It was the typical special snowflake teenage girl falling in love with the rough and tumble soldier after less than a month together. Neither Nat nor Wes have any real substance behind their characters. They are both plain and flat cookie cutter tropes that don’t incite any emotion. I couldn’t care less if they became a couple or went their separate ways. The only hint of excitement came as the mysteriously missing sibling Wes has and the fact that Nat recognises him, but cannot remember from where. Obviously, the reader starts to wonder perhaps they’re siblings and that’s why the pull exists. But, that’s quashed and we’re back to the boring predictability between the two.

With everything I dislike, you might wonder why one and a half stars, and not zero or one. Well, I have to give the authors credit for have an interesting concept. Yes, they failed in the follow through, but it was a great idea. I wish they could go back to the drawing board and reconfigure the story, get deeper with the characters, and seriously think about the world they’re creating. This seems so completely rushed and just thrown together last minute that it does absolutely no justice to the concept. If you want to read a quick, light book, go with the Blue Bloods series instead of Frozen.


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