Frozen (Heart of Dread, Book 1)
By: Melissa de la Cruz
and Michael Johnston
Published: September 17th, 2013
Acquisition: Net Galley
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.
The story Frozen, by Melissa de la Cruz and Michael Johnston, is a tale about a girl with powers who lives in a world unlike our own. In post-apocalyptic New Vegas, Nat finds the one object that might allow her to escape the frozen landscape. The map to help her find the Blue, a promised land untainted by the cold and destruction her world knows. A place that maybe she can live a good life and not spend each day fearful that she will be discovered.
For an established YA writer, this book is surprisingly wrought with errors and would make an English major cringe. It was a poorly written novel with a multitude of punctuation, grammar, and spelling errors. Those completely detracted from the book and made it difficult to read the novel fluidly. There was an overuse of commas, “For days upon days she had been left in the room, alone, in total silence, with little food and water, the weight of solitude becoming ever more oppressive, the silence a heaviness that she could not shake, punishment for refusing to do as she was told, punishment for being what she was.” I ran out of breath just reading that incredibly long, run-on sentence. It also illustrates another example, the banal repetitiveness. Some examples would be, “She walked down the road, the road that was smooth.” Or “The fire that raged within her. The fire that destroyed and consumed. The fire that would destroy and consume her…” How many times does one need to write the fire? Many of the sentences are just reworded versions of the one that came before it. Unnecessarily repetitive and it makes the book sound like a novice writer threw it together in a slap-dash manner with no editor to speak of.
It also cannot decide what genre it wishes to fall under. The magical elements and new species lend itself to a label of fantasy, like books about faeries or nymphs. Paranormal romance perhaps, for the love story that blossoms over the course of the novel? Or the more recently popular zombie novels, with their diseases and alterations of the human DNA, like Forest of Teeth and Bones? Perhaps it’s a post-apocalyptic or dystopian style novel, akin to Divergent or the Hunger Games – with its frozen world, scarce resources, and tyrannical governments. Whatever it is, the fact that it cannot decide makes the book quite confusing. It does not flow well as a result of the colliding and conflicting worlds. There also is no world-building, which is incredibly important to me in a book. And character building, or even character personalities? Almost non-existent.
I would recommend this book to young teen readers, but not anyone who finds themselves frequently noticing errors in novels (even minor ones) as this will drive you crazy. I almost didn’t finish the first chapter because the book was so poorly written, but I wanted to see if it would improve.
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