Heart of Dread: Frozen by Melissa de la Cruz and Michael Johnston
|Heart of Dread: Frozen by Melissa de la Cruz and Michael Johnston|
|Reviewer: Jill Murphy|
|Summary: Great premise with a post-climate disaster setting and combining elements of paranormal and dystopian genres. Plus, of course, some romance. I enjoyed it but would say I hoped the interesting setting would deliver something a little more original and a little more focused.|
|Buy? No||Borrow? Yes|
|Pages: 368||Date: October 2014|
|External links: Author's website|
Earth has frozen over. Climate change has come home to roost and war has decimated the human population. Dragging out a mean existence as a blackjack dealer in the casinos of New Vegas, Nat is also hiding a secret. She is marked and the marked are hunted by the authorities. Like many, Nat has heard of a place called the Blue, where the sun still shines and grass can grow. She'd give anything to find it and the voice in her head is telling her that she must find it.
Her only chance is to throw in her lot with a rag tag bunch of junior mercenaries led by a charismatic and good-looking boy called Ryan Wesson. But Wes has secrets of his own...
I really wanted to love Frozen. A journey in search of a verdant promised land through a frozen post-apocalyptic world and an ocean littered - literally - with trashbergs: that's a great premise, right? And if Frozen had focused on this, I'm sure I would have loved it. But everything was so confused. Johnston and de la Cruz have thrown everything but the kitchen sink into this story - it's dystopian, it's paranormal, it's romantic, it's fantastical. I'm all for a bit of genre-busting but you really do have to be coherent about it. What is the central plank of Frozen? Is it the voice in Nat's head? Is it the journey to the Blue? Is it the love story? Is it anyone of half a dozen things? There's an attempt to bring all the book's threads together in the last couple of chapters but everything is so muddled by then that it lacks impact and the denouement is far from satisfying. Unhappily, this lack of focus also seeps into the prose, which is littered with run-on sentences and general wordiness.
Um... on the plus side, the romance between Nat and Wes is handled well. It's a sweet story of two damaged, standoffish kids learning to trust and entirely credible. And there are some great ideas - in particular, I loved the descriptions of the mutant sylphs and the idea of a cold, cold world in which heat credits are hard to come by.
Even so, I think you would need to be a die-hard fan of combining the dystopian and fantasy genres to enjoy Frozen. It's a great premise but it falls down on execution. Sorry.
If you like stories set in and around the sea and a dystopian premise, try Dark Life by Kat Falls. Older teens might enjoy Martin Martin's On The Other Side by Mark Wernham. You might enjoy Take Back the Skies by Lucy Saxon but we had our reservations about that book too.
You can read more book reviews or buy Heart of Dread: Frozen by Melissa de la Cruz and Michael Johnston at Amazon.co.uk Amazon currently charges £2.99 for standard delivery for orders under £20, over which delivery is free.
You can read more book reviews or buy Heart of Dread: Frozen by Melissa de la Cruz and Michael Johnston at Amazon.com.
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