Monday, February 24, 2014

Frozen (Heart of Dread #1)

Author: Melissa de la Cruz and Michael Johnston
Goodreads rating: 3.68
Pages: 336
Format: ARC from BEA13
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.

 This was by far the best book I've read this year so far :) It had lots of action, romance, and an odd dystopian/fantasy element that I really enjoyed.

The book takes place in a dystopian future of the USA, where the world has turned into a polluted, frozen wasteland. In this wasteland, there are those who are marked and have magical abilities and these people are feared and seen as lesser citizens. Those who are found to be marked are cast out or killed by the government. So they are trying to find this mystical oasis called the Blue.

This book was a book I simply could not put down no matter how hard I tried. There are two things I love about good books and it's a good plot and characters who I can love and adore. I loved the dystopian/fantasy mix :) something new I haven't seen before and this book totally made me love it. The authors really created a great world with a brand new culture (and not just the culture of the marked). The concept of the marked plus the concept of the rot took me a little bit to understand but after I got it, it was awesome :) Reading about Nat's escape, her life and her escape again and journey to the Blue was very adventurous. This combined with the romance element between Nat and Wes, which wasn't overpowering and didn't draw attention away from the original plot. This really made this book a great and well-rounded book that will suit all kinds of tastes.

The characters were fantastic as well. I loved Wes and Nat's individual personalities and how they play off one another. They both have gone through a lot and are SO YOUNG! I couldn't get over the fact that they were both about 16 years old, and had to keep reminding myself of that. Wes is a great, cocky but noble ex-soldier who does anything for his friends and Nat is used to being alone but gives back every snarky and flirty comment she gets from Wes with zingers of her own.

My last little comment about this book was how Wes/crew and Nat started off with a mutual distrust and plans to play one another, and that slowly turned into a mutual friendship and for Wes and Nat, something more :) The ending blew my mind and made me super excited for the next book!

This book gets a solid 5/5 stars from me for great characters, a unique genre cross between dystopian and fantasy, and a well-rounded plot that will suit a wide range of YA readers from romance to action-seekers.

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