Review: Frozen by Melissa de la Cruz and Michael Johnston

Frozen by Melissa de la Cruz and Michael Johnston

Title: Frozen (Heart of Dread, #1)
Authors: Melissa de la Cruz and Michael Johnston
Genre: Dystopian, Fantasy, Young Adult
Publisher: Orchard Books (2nd October 2014)
Blurb:

WELCOME TO NEW VEGAS.

A city once covered in bling, now blanketed in ice. At the heart of it, Natasha Kestal is looking for a way out. Like many, she’s heard of a mythical land where the sun still shines and the waters flow. A place where she won’t be hunted by those who know her darkest secret.

Until Nat gets to the Blue, she will never be safe. Not even from the boy entrusted with her life – and heart.

The thrilling first instalment in a spellbinding new series about the dawn of a new kind of magic.

Rating: *** (3 stars)
Review:

FROZEN is the first book in a new series from wife and husband team Melissa de la Cruz and Michael Johnston. It follows the story of Natasha Kestal who wants to leave New Vegas and head to a place called the Blue. Unfortunately, leaving New Vegas isn’t an easy task – it costs a lot to get the help needed to get past government security – and you have to be careful that the people you hire to get you out aren’t going to sell you.

I was really excited to get my hands on a copy of this book at YALC. I had heard from a number of sources that FROZEN was an interesting book. I’ve read Melissa de la Cruz’s BLUE BLOODS series and enjoyed it, so I was curious to see what a book would be like that she co-authored. I was also intrigued because I heard rumours that there might be dragons involved in the book. FROZEN is both what I was expecting from a Cruz book, and something different. The world Cruz and Johnston creates is a really interesting and complex one, and to be honest having finished the book I’m not entirely sure what is going on – in a lot of ways, to me, FROZEN felt like just the first half of a book rather than a complete one.

The narrative of FROZEN is split into two alternating voices for the first section of the book, before the narrative focuses mainly on Natasha and her story. The basic plot of the book is fairly typical of dystopian fiction; the world presented in the book is a fairly familiar one, something has obviously happened to freeze the world although we are not told what. The fact that things seem vaguely familiar gives the novel an almost eerie quality. However, although there is a strong dystopian note to the novel there are also strong fantasy notes threaded into the narrative. The weaving of these genres together creates a really interesting world, one I am looking forward to reading in future books.

The characters in this book were not quite what I was expecting. In a lot of ways, to me, the characters read almost as if they were either part of a mob, or had connections to one. It seemed kind of out of place, but at the same time I really quite enjoyed this element. Natasha was a fascinating main character, and whilst I found her story an interesting one I found it really quite difficult to relate to her or to empathise with her. In a lot of ways she seemed very remote and calculating, as did her possible love interest.

FROZEN is an interesting start to a new series, and I am interested to see where Cruz and Johnston are going to take it. The series has a lot of potential, and I’m looking forward to seeing a bit more of the world and those that inhabit it. If you are a fan of Cruz’s BLUE BLOODS and like dystopian novels then I recommend this book to you, and even if you are just one of the two then you might want to give the book a try as it’s fairly unique.

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