Friday, October 3, 2014

Review: Heart of Dread: Frozen by Melissa de la Cruz, Michael Johnston

A major new fantasy series from the New York Times bestselling author of Blue Bloods and The Witches of East End.
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 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 is a remarkable first book in a spellbinding new series about the dawn of a new kind of magic.

This is one of the best books I've read in the past few months.

In Heart of Dread: Frozen, Natasha wants to escape to "the Blue", a place wherein her kind, the marked, aren't persecuted. She hires Wes and his crew to help her across dangerous territory until she reaches New Crete and from there, she'll find her way to the Blue. The way is even harder to navigate as she thought, however, and Wes has his own secrets. Will Natasha ever make it to the Blue?

A chapter or so in, I had already written in my notes that I thought the book would make a great movie. After finishing the book, I thought it would make a good epic television series too, but the production costs would probably be astronomical so a movie would be more feasible.

The world-building happens gradually. As the characters move from place to place, that's when the place's history and descriptions are revealed so you aren't overwhelmed by too much detail at one time. The logic as to why things became the way they are seem probable so it's easier to believe and just focus on the story and the characters. For example, some of the characters mentioned in the book use txtlish or what we know now as text language. Not exactly a far-fetched idea. I also like the little shout-out to my country's language, which was mentioned as a forgotten language in the book.

The idea of marked people, or people with special abilities, isn't exactly new and the powers introduced in the book aren't new either, but it still makes for an interesting read because of the characters and the plot.

The characters and the plot reminded me a little bit of Eragon mixed with some Badass Wendy Darling and Grown-up Peter Pan and the Lost Boys. It has its dark moments too, so I advise that you don't get too attached to characters.

Thanks to NetGalley and Orchard Books for the e-ARC.


  1. The characters are interesting.
  2. The world they live in is a perfectly believable dystopian future for our world.
  3. This would make a great movie or television series. 


  1. There are some parts that may feel a little derivative. 

At a turo-turo (Nat knew it meant "point point" in a forgotten language), all a customer had to do was point at the food they wanted to eat since hardly anyone could read a menu. 

  1. You like books wherein some of the characters have special powers.
  2. You like Eragon.
  3. You like action-packed books with strong female heroines. 




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