Saturday, September 21, 2013

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

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.

Frozen by Melissa De La Cruz and Michael Johnston was a fun book with elements of science fiction, fantasy, action and adventure. Natasha, the strong and mysteriously gifted female protagonist, is the catalyst for a dangerous journey to the Blue, the mythical land of peace, freedom and real, clean water.   Ryan Wesson is the leader of a rugged band of veteran soldiers.  The adventure leads the reader from the seedy and dystopian New Vegas, which global warming and war have left in broken and iced-over hedonism, to the treacherously polluted open seas.   

Natasha just barely gets by, while suffering from disjointed dreams and painful memories of her past life.  Wess struggles to support his ragtag band of brothers, keeping just one step ahead of starvation.   A terrorist attack pushes Natasha to put her dreams in motion: she hires Wess and his crew to guide her to the Blue, with the help of a mystical map that all the world’s citizens seem to want – as either the key to freedom or material wealth.   

The adventure is terrifying filled with narrow escapes from slave ships and pirates, as well as heart-rending choices between loyalty and survival.  Along the way, Nat and Wess encounter magical and whimsical beings also seeking the promise of “the Blue”.  Together, they help each other take a tentative step on the promise land of “the Blue”, and set the stage for more adventures to come.  I enjoyed the Frozen’s fast pace, the strong female characters, abundance of adventure, and even the traces of a cautionary tale.  I, too, look toward “the Blue”, while looking forward to the next installment of this new series.

*I received a copy of this book in exchange for an honest review. Malaika

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The old grey donkey, Eeyore stood by himself in a thistly corner of the Forest, his front feet well apart, his head on one side, and thought about things. Sometimes he thought sadly to himself, "Why?" and sometimes he thought, "Wherefore?" and sometimes he thought, "Inasmuch as which?" and sometimes he didn't quite know what he was thinking about.

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