Frozen by Melissa de la Cruz & Michael Johnston

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Title: Frozen

Series: Heart of Dread #1

Authors: Melissa de la Cruz & Michael Johnston

Genre: YA fantasy, dystopian

Rating: ★☆☆☆☆

In short: No. Just no. Warning, much ranting ahead.

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.

You know, I so badly wanted to give this book a high rating. I love the Blue Bloods series and the small bits of Witches of East End that I’ve read, but this? This was so much of a letdown that I’m not even sure it’s the same Melissa de la Cruz.

Frozen is desperately stuck trying to decide whether it’s fantasy or dystopian, and therein lies my first problem with it. The book just couldn’t strike a balance between the two. The dialogue is typically dystopian, informal, but then the inner monologue and descriptions (especially from Nat’s POV) are far heavier. It was so confusing, almost like I was reading two different books. The style was—for lack of a better descriptor—just bad. Bad form, especially since I know how beautifully the author (at least one of them) can write. Both of her series combine the arcane with the modern, but Frozen just didn’t cut it.

The magic is so sadly underdeveloped, second of all. It’s interesting, the whole idea—if a bit cliche—but Nat was so busy keeping secrets that the reader hardly understands any of it. Like, what the heck is a drau? I’ve read the entire book, and you know, the only thing I know about these people/creatures is that they have a particular hairstyle that rich people imitate sometimes. And that itself is vague.

And then there’s the insta-love. Honestly speaking, I don’t always mind it. YA is filled with it, and more often than not I have no problem with swooning at first sight. But Nat and Wes seemed ridiculously far-fetched to me. I don’t know. And that feeling was just multiplied by the dorky descriptions. I rolled my eyes and groaned like, a million times.

I felt no connection to the characters either. They were interesting and funny, but not in the way that I’d want to hear more about them. Even their ‘secrets’, like Eliza and Texas and Jules, didn’t really matter to me.

And how is it that at the end of the book, Nat suddenly feels ‘connected’ to something that terrified her for so long? Okay, I understand that they’re joined in soul or whatever. But there was not a single tug of longing or anything except horror until she pieces everything together. She’s literally like, I’m meant to be with it wow yes this is my calling never mind that she spent 90% of her life thinking it was a monster.

I’m just so deeply disappointed. I will go find my Witches of East End now and comfort myself.

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