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.


Review: Stitching Snow (R.C. Lewis)

Deets:

Audience: YA
Pages: 338
Publisher: October 14th 2014 by Disney-Hyperion

Genre: fairytale retelling, sci-fi
Source: eARC from Netgalley



Stitching SnowPrincess Snow is missing.

Her home planet is filled with violence and corruption at the hands of King Matthias and his wife as they attempt to punish her captors. The king will stop at nothing to get his beloved daughter back—but that’s assuming she wants to return at all.

Essie has grown used to being cold. Temperatures on the planet Thanda are always sub-zero, and she fills her days with coding and repairs for the seven loyal drones that run the local mines.

When a mysterious young man named Dane crash-lands near her home, Essie agrees to help the pilot repair his ship. But soon she realizes that Dane’s arrival was far from accidental, and she’s pulled into the heart of a war she’s risked everything to avoid. With the galaxy’s future—and her own—in jeopardy, Essie must choose who to trust in a fiery fight for survival.






















I love a good retelling of a fairytale. In fact, this is one of my genres of choice. I wasn't overly thrilled with the idea of a sci-fi twist on a fairytale, but I figured I would give it a try. After all, I loved A Long, Long Sleep and Cinder is super popular.  

Unfortunately, that's where my excitement ends. I really couldn't get into Stitching Snow. It was just lacking something, and I can't put my finger on it. The book starts with Essie (Snow) kicking some major butt in a cage fight. It's obvious she is a strong female character. She's clever, hard working, tough as nails, and completely self-sufficient. That should have been enough for me to like her, but we never connected. Dane wasn't much better. I had a few more surprises and glimpses into his complicated past, but not enough for me to grab a t-shirt and declare "Team Dane". I didn't think the interactions between these two were much better. There were clever moments of witty dialogue that kept me reading, but I never bought the slowly building romance. 

I guess the biggest plus for Stitching Snow is that the setting is unique; it takes place on several planets in a new solar system. That's pretty cool if you like that sort of thing. I don't. It was also a pleasant twist that Snow's father is a tyrant. Not your typical dead father that was worth his weight in gold story. 

To be very honest, I stopped reading this book at about 70%. It just wasn't for me. I do love the cover though. I think it was perfect for the type of character Snow/Essie is, and the title clicked once I figured out what stitching was. 


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