Early Review: Frozen (Heart of Dread #1) by Melissa de la Cruz, Michael Johnston

September 13, 2013 Review 1 ★★

Early Review: Frozen (Heart of Dread #1) by Melissa de la Cruz, Michael JohnstonFrozen by Melissa de la Cruz, Michael Johnston
Series: Heart of Dread #1
Genres: Dystopia, Romantic, Science Fiction, Young Adult
Published by Putnam Juvenile on September 17, 2013
Pages: 336
Format: Hardcover
Source: Publisher
Reviewed by: Abigail
2 Stars
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.

When I hear about husband and wife writing duos I automatically expect an authentic, emotional romance.  In FROZEN, the first book in the new Heart of Dread paranormal/post-apocalyptic YA series from Melissa de la Cruz and husband Michael Johnston, the romance is just one of the many things that failed to live up to my expectations.

What's a really bad way to start a book?  How about five chapters of nearly solid info dumps.  The unfortunate part is that all these concepts including Marked children with special abilities, the harsh world that has been created by the frosty future, and the mythological Blue that offers the only warm escape are really fun ideas.  In a better book, they could have been fantastic.

Then there's Nat and Wes.  Think about your favorite YA book couple; maybe it was the romantic or exciting way they met, the thrilling awareness and interest that grew, the tension leading up to that toe curling first kiss.  You won't find any of that in FROZEN.  Everything about them was dull and underwhelming, the angsty Nat more so than adventure seeking Wes.  It didn't help that the dialog was wooden and generic throughout.

Having not read de la Cruz's Blue Blood series, I can't say whether or not the shortcomings in FROZEN are atypical of her writing or not.  I will say that the potential of this magical, post apocalyptic adventure fell apart pretty quickly and never fully recovered.

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One Response to “Early Review: Frozen (Heart of Dread #1) by Melissa de la Cruz, Michael Johnston”

  1. Kt.

    This one is on my review list. It just got pushed way down the stack after reading your review. :(