Latest Read: Frozen

Here are the basics ...
Frozen (Heart of Dread #1) by Melissa de la Cruz and Michael Johnston
Publication date: Sept. 17, 2013
Publisher: Putnam Juvenile
Category: Young Adult - Dystopian/Paranormal
Source: Received ARC at BEA (Thanks!)

Summary: Welcome to New Vegas, a city blanketed in ice like much of the destroyed planet and 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. Natasha Kestal, a young blackjack dealer, is looking for a way out and like many, she's heard of the myth called “the Blue" - a paradise where the sun still shines and the waters are turquoise. More importantly, it’s a place where Nat won’t be persecuted for what she is. But passage to the Blue is treacherous and her only shot is to bet on a crew of mercenaries led by a cocky runner named Ryan Wesson to take her there. Danger and deceit awaits on every corner, even as Nat and Wes find themselves inexorably drawn to each other. (Adapted
My thoughts…
The good: Frozen takes place in post-apocalyptic world where everything is covered in ice. The temperature is constantly freezing so natural food can't be grown and the only people truly surviving are those with money or those who specialize in gambling, piracy, stealing and other not-so-pleasant talents. But the world's other fear - aside from the ice - are Marked people. People who have special powers (like telepathy). Most of whom are either in hiding or taken into custody by the government. The story starts off in New Vegas (better known as Las Vegas pre-apocalypse) where Natasha Kestal, a blackjack dealer and Marked, decides to search for "the Blue". The Blue is a mythical place that's still warm with clear, blue waters. She hires a runner named Ryan Wesson and his crew to help her get there and as you can imagine, a long perilous journey ensues.

Clearly, there is a lot going on here. A lot of information, characters and world-building and while I stumbled a bit through some of the concepts, it wasn't hard to eventually put it together and just dive in. The two main characters, Natasha and Ryan (he goes by Wes) are simultaneously likable and mysterious. Both have secret pasts and different goals (she wants to find the Blue and he just wants enough money to keep himself and his crew alive) but they're both good people struggling to do the right thing. The chemistry between them is written really well for most of the book and there were moments where I wanted to yell at them to kiss already (which I consider a good reaction; I was invested!).

(Major) reservations: Even though I followed the authors ideas' and their world-building, sometimes it was hard to visualize and I wish more had been explained. Like why did the world suddenly get covered in ice? And how quickly did their world deteriorate? Was it overnight? And then throwing in the whole paranormal / "special" powers / fantasy aspect didn't work for me as much as I wanted it to. I kind of wish it had been strictly sci-fi or at least have the fantasy part better integrated.

Also, during the last third of the book, the plot seemed to lose its stride. Revelations about the story and from the characters started to come out of nowhere or in random scenes. I mean they were important things to know but again, could've been better integrated with the storyline. Then after wanting Natasha and Wes to get together for 90% of the book, their relationship fell flat and rushed towards the end.

Do I recommend?: It's hard to say. I think I'd have to read more of the series to really know because while I do like the concept, the execution left much to be desired. I would hold off for now.

Happy reading!


with love,