Title: Frozen [Heart of Dread #1]
Author: Melissa De La Cruz and Michael Johnston
Publication Date: October 31, 2014
Genre: Young Adult Dystopian Romance
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.
I was not impressed by this book. Why? Let me count the reasons…
1. World Building
Yes, yes the world is covered in snow. It’s cold. There was a flood at some point. Everyone lives in Vegas and gambles even though they don’t have enough money to eat. Okay. Sure. But why? There’s little to no explanation as to how this world came to be. Was it global warming? An atomic war? The moon disappearing or getting to close? LIKE. I need something. Throw me a bone here. We are simply introduced to a world full of trash with these magical people who suddenly popped out of nowhere with powers and indomitable strength. We get no history, and I find myself unable to really fall straight into this world and travel with the characters. There’s also very little description of buildings or environment and when there was, it felt disjointed.
2. Plot Lines
Remember in 2nd grade when you had to do those little mountain drawings for plot lines, where you’d start off with the introduction, then move to a conflict, then the climax, and then the resolution? Yeah, this story was like that, but for every single chapter. It would be calm at the beginning, something would be seen, or something would jump out of nowhere, everyone would freak out and the story would suddenly start speeding along for all of two pages, and then the thing would be dead or they’d realize their mistake, and everything would just fix itself in second, and tada, end of chapter. Due to this, the story had very little fluidity and felt like a jerky car ride.
3. Character Development
There was a little bit of this, but the story never explains the intricacies of all the characters’ stories, they just have snapshots here and there that don’t really explain how the sixteen year old became a general, or how the powerful girl gets a job in a casino, or what one earth brought all the people together, prior to Nat. I also feel like that characters showed little connection to each other and little growth in general. People would often just pop out with new skills, powers, stories, etc. There was no practice, no honing of skills and it just didn’t flow.
4. Lack of Explanation
There was no explanation for a lot of things: the world building, the character’s abilities and origins. It made it hard for me to follow and it really gave little to no connection to characters and the whole dystopian scene. Honestly, it was like the authors thought, let’s make it dystopian -sticks in winter scene with trashbergs- okay, okay, now we’ll give the MC powers -throws the randomest powers to Nat- I don’t know what the difference between any of the powerful people were because there was so little information on any of them. And that last part. My goodness. Just when I thought the book couldn’t get more incredulously idiotic they came up with THAT. THAT is, simply, the most random insertion of something ever in any novel I’ve ever read. I just. NOPE.
Overall, this series just didn’t agree with me. As with most books that aren’t that great, this had some potential, but it fell so short of expectations that I can’t even say I want to read the sequel. Getting through this book was like a chore and I really don’t think reading should ever be this much of a struggle.
World Building: 1/5
eBook obtained via Hachette Children’s Books via NetGalley in exchange for an honest review