Wednesday, October 1, 2014

Frozen (Heart of Dread) by Melissa de la Cruz and Michael Johnston

Source:  ARC
Genre:  YA- Sci Fi, Fantasy
Publisher:  Hachette Children's Books
Date Published:  October 2, 2014 (UK paperback version)
Number of Pages:  365
Book 1 in the Heart of Dread series
I received an ebook ARC of this book through NetGalley from the publisher in exchange for an honest review.  I was not compensated in any form for my opinions, or the review.

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.  (from Goodreads)

I just don't know what to think.  This book started out so good.  So so so so so good.  I was pulled in and held captive by the world.  It was so different and interesting, I just wanted to keep reading.  And then the last third of the book happened.  I just don't know what happened.  I'm sitting here completely confused.

Let's start at the beginning!  Fantastic!  I absolutely loved Nat and Wes and the differing perspectives.  I enjoyed the world building, and the explanations as to what things were.  I enjoyed the beginning plot and seeing it unfold.  I was so hopeful.  So hopeful.

The writing is wonderful, I won't even lie.  Both authors do a great job of keeping the story going and keeping it halfway interesting.  At least for the first half or so of the book.  The plot is ever changing, and the cast of characters are all so different that it was easy to keep them straight.

Character development was spot on, and all of the characters were expertly written.  I loved Shakes the best.  He was so caring, yet so in tune to his own needs that it made me smile.  They were all realistic characters who had their own voices and own very clear opinions.  

Where things got bad:  ladies and gentlemen, we have insta-love!!  Nat and Wes "denying" their connection and then 1 thing happens and they are instantly in love with each other.  Nope.  Sorry.  Not realistic at all.  Gigantic pass.  I knew it was coming, but still.  It felt forced, and kind of like they didn't really work well together in that way.  Their friendship was fantastic.

Also, the plot kind of turned to the "what the heck am I reading" about 2/3 of the way through.  And then around 100 pages out, it literally seemed like someone went "well it's time to wrap this up!" and just started throwing things out there to bring it all to an end.  The ending itself just made no sense to me.  This could have been a stand alone.  A fantastic stand alone.  But it was drawn out to be a series.  I don't know how I feel about that.

Don't get me wrong, I really don't want to write a bad review of this!  The writing is fantastic, and fast moving, and the world is absolutely wonderful.  I just...the ending plot...I just can't.  So much much not used.

                                                3 out of 5 Happy Clouds :)
                          I'll probably read the sequel, if the description is interesting.


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