Frozen (Heart of Dread, Book One)
By Melissa De La Cruz and Michael Johnston
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 some men do and the awesome power within us all. (Taken from book jacket)
Why I picked it up: I was initially drawn in by the interesting premise and since I rarely read fantasy I figured I’d give this a try. Setting off on an adventure with a “young blackjack dealer” and a “ragtag crew of mercenaries” sounded promising.
Why I finished it: I enjoyed Melissa De La Cruz’s previous work (Witches of East End), but this was way out of my range. I understand a government that drugs it’s citizens so they remain obedient, and I welcome the idea of indigo children (a.k.a enchanters and the marked ones), but with zombies (a.k.a thrillers), pirates, and dragons (a.k.a drakons) added to the mix I don’t know where I stand. While at times I felt like chucking Frozen across the room out of pure rage, like I said fantasy is not my thing, I was compelled to read on. I had to make sense of the world that Melissa and Michael had created; this was a world I didn’t want to give up on. It’s not the adventure that I found issues with, because the idea of a Blue haven in a bleak and frozen world sounded amazing. But somewhere along the road we veered off into something else. My issue with Frozen was that it was crowded with other details like people who rot from the inside out, smallmen, pirates and a dragon. To be honest, the only reason why I finished this book was because of the chemistry between Nat and Wes. I wanted to see where things would go between the two of them, even if it lead me straight to a place that made me want to jump ship. But I stuck it out, ’cause I’m a sucker for love.
I’d give it to: This was not the book for me, but hopefully post-apocalyptic fantasy lovers will take joy in a world that has it all.
Star rating: 2.5 stars
Reviewed by Milen (Harrington Library)