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Review: Frozen: Heart of Dread #1 (Melissa de la Cruz)

The Deets: 

Audience: YA
Pages: 336
Publisher: September 17th 2013 by Putnam Juvenile
Genre: fantasy, dystopian-ish, magic
Source: eARC from Netgalley

Frozen (Heart of Dread, #1)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.

I'll be honest, the name "Melissa De La Cruz" and the golden dragon grabbed my attention. I thought the cover was pretty stunning, and I'm a complete cover snob. I do judge a book by its cover.  

Frozen is a bit tricky to categorize. It has sci-fi elements, but magic is certainly at the heart of this story. Nat has magic, and she lives in a world with mysterious magical creatures. They may not be out in the open, but they are there.  I thought there was great potential in this story, but it fell flat for me. 

A lot of time went in to developing the setting. It was different, but it never clicked with me. It was obvious that this new world is not kind to those with magic, but I never got a clear sense of the danger they were in until the end. Even then it was a little cloudy. 

Nat and Wes are okay. Honestly, the way they are written and the way they interact with one another (and others) made me think they were much older. I was shocked to discover (towards the end) how young they were. That really messed this book up for me. All the talk about love and whatever crap you can throw into a book to make teenage girls get all swoony really lost its value when I discovered these characters are barely legal driving age. 

Then there is the ending. Bah. That's all I'm going to say. I know it will be a series; the ending left that wide open. But I can promise you I won't be reading it.


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Review: The Search for Delicious

The Search for Delicious Natalie Babbitt
Product Details

Reading level: Young Adult
Paperback: 192 pages
Publisher: Square Fish (August 21, 2007)
ISBN-10: 9780312369828
Source: My personal book

Summary from Amazon: Gaylen, the King’s messenger, a skinny boy of twelve, is off to poll the kingdom, traveling from town to farmstead to town on his horse, Marrow. At first it is merely a question of disagreement at the royal castle over which food should stand for Delicious in the new dictionary. But soon it seems that the search for Delicious had better succeed if civil war is to be avoided.

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