Authors: Melissa de la Cruz & Michael Johnston
Publisher: Putnam Juvenile
Publish Date: September 17, 2013
Genre: YA, Dystopian, Fantasy
Source: Personal Copy
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 spent a long time contemplating whether I should actually review Frozen because, while it is the type of book that should work for me, I really actually struggled with it from the start. I'm a big fan of post-apocalyptic dystopians that take the time to set up proper world-building and give us a an actual baseline for the story to follow. However, this book throws us into a world of melee and dysfunction without a true glimpse as to why the world is so broken, as well as why society is so plagued by the demons it faces today. Without any exaggeration, Frozen gives readers nymphs, darkens, polar bears, zombies and more - all in a barren icy wasteland in which, somehow, some of our characters seem to bear enough wealth to drive luxury vehicles and own boats.
My issue with these contradictions, as well as the overabundance of fantasy elements in what could have been a plausible dystopian definitely weighed heavily on me from the start. While I was already struggling with the plot elements, we're thrust further into a novel that is plagued with excessive run-on sentences that made it really hard for me to actually get invested in the story. I understand stylistic writing, however, this actually made the novel quite difficult to read. It actually managed to throw off the pacing of the novel, which might have otherwise worked well for me.
While I can certainly appreciate the lengths to which the authors went to make an original dystopian novel and cross it with fantasy, I really struggled to feel any sort of emotion or connection with the characters, and I honestly felt as though there was just too much happening to ever garner an inkling of a connection with Nat and, by association, Nat and Wes's romance. I think that, had we been given a few less fantasy elements and a few more moments of sincere character-building, I might have ended up liking this one, but I honestly felt too overwhelmed by the haphazard nature of the world of Frozen to feel any real emotion towards it in the end.
Overall, Frozen was, unfortunately, just not the book for me. Now, I've seen the reviews, and I see that a lot of readers actually enjoyed the book, so maybe I'm missing something here. I'd love to hear what others read in it that I missed because I really did want to enjoy it. I give it a 2 out of 5, and I recommend it to fans of YA, especially those who enjoy dystopian and post-apocalyptic fantasy.