Monday, September 16, 2013

Review: Frozen (Melissa de la Cruz & Michael Johnston)

Frozen (Heart of Dread, #1)
Title: Frozen
Series: Heart of Dread, Book 1
Author: Melissa de la Cruz & Michael Johnston
Publisher: Putnam Juvenile
Release Date: September 17, 2013
Genre: Young Adult Dystopian Fantasy
Told: Third Person Multiple, Past Tense
Content Rating: Older Teen (language, violence, sensuality)
Format Read: ARC
Find On: Goodreads

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.

*          *          *

Three Words: A fantastical mess.

WritingPoor storytelling, forced dialogue, painful grammar and punctuation, flat description, the worst action scenes I have ever encountered. It was a relatively easy read at first, but by the middle it felt like I would never get through it. I constantly craved description, but what little I did get felt flat. 

Setting: Should've been interesting but was instead extremely unbelievable from so many angles. The world was basically just frozen trash - everywhere. Too much was left up to the imagination, and with such little description, most action took place in white space.

Story: Brilliant premise, horrific execution. The story follows Nat's journey to the Blue, first on land as they make for water, and then on water as they try for the doorway. Both legs of the trip felt unbelievably long and aimless, and basically took place in a white space of trash heaps and black water. There was no Inciting Incident in the beginning - Nat just up and started her journey one random day for no particular reason. She'd been putting it off for a while (just how long we didn't learn until much later - I thought it was years, but it turned out to be weeks, totally skewing the book's overall timeline for me) and then suddenly up and goes. There had even been a perfectly good moment several days earlier, but it went completely to waste. Any action was stinted and underwhelming - a one-page car race, seriously? - and consisted of quick writing and a lot of confusing yelling. Scenes that could've actually lent some entertainment and interest were skipped over entirely, leaving me confused and feeling left out. The end was a grand affair that felt completely foreign to the rest of the book, and while it was certainly better than what we'd previously been offered in the action department, it did not fit at all.

Characters: I really don't know what to say about the two main characters, Nat and Ryan. I didn't dislike them, but I didn't particularly like them either - I guess I simply just didn't care about them. I never connected with either of them, and really cared less what happened to them. I never felt that either of them had a strong personality - they were whatever the story needed them to be, which made them a bit all over the place (and that is no way for a character to be). The secondary characters were much more memorable and sure-footed in their personalities, and I understood and even liked a few of them. Shakes was probably my favorite, if I have to have a favorite.

Romantic Relationship: The only good thing I can say is that it was dragged out, instead of them throwing themselves at each other right off the bat. This is not to say it wasn't insta-love, as they flirted from the get-go, but at least they fought against it at first.

Fantasy Aspect: Don't let the dystopian setting fool you - there are fantastical beings and creatures in this book. I went into Frozen expecting magic, but I got fantasy creatures instead, and needless to say it was extremely disappointing.

ConclusionA complete and utter mess that still has my head spinning. It had some very interesting ideas, but the bad writing and poor storytelling smothered the originality. And it turned out to be Dystopian FANTASY. It's a miracle I made it through the entire book, and I most definitely will not be continuing the series.

Scribble Rating
1 of 5 Scribbles


  1. I'm still wondering how this book got published? It seems like no one liked it. Like no one. Great honest review girl!

  2. Wow, thanks for the heads up because this was on my TBR pile.