Tuesday, September 17, 2013

Frozen by Melissa De La Cruz and Michael Johnston

Frozen by Melissa De La Cruz and Michael Johnston
Release Date - September 17, 2013
Publisher Website -  Penguin
Publisher Social Media -  Twitter
Pages -  336 pages
My Rating - 2/5
**obtained for review from publisher via BEA**

Here is the Goodreads synopsis

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.

An ice covered world, a New Vegas that is still an enticing place, and a hint of magic. Frozen seemed to have all the elements that would make me immediately want to read it. Sadly, this novel turned out to be not a book for me.

The writing felt disjointed. I am not sure if it's the result of two writers with very different styles trying to mesh together, or something else I can't put my finger on. It felt stilted and not fleshed out. It felt like a draft that needed more information added in to connect everything properly together.

I found myself lacking a connection with the characters. I've mentioned many times that I am a very character driven reader. I need to be invested in some way. I need to understand their motivations. I don't have to like them, but I certainly have to feel SOMETHING for them. I found myself disconnected, and often pushed away by them.

There are female characters who are not confident. They tend to have problem fathoming why the cute love interest would be interested in them. They consider themselves plain, and not noticeable. These types of characters are often given grief for this by readers. The flip side are the characters who are aware of how attractive they are, and their effect on the love interest. This character is also given grief but for different reasons. This character is Nat. She makes a comment referencing the fact that half the guys on the ship probably have a crush on her. We are to take that she is teasing the person she is saying this to. She may not believe it fully, but she has the confidence in herself to say it. I found this to be a nice change from the 'plain but actually gorgeous' YA trend. It's one of the few character traits that I found refreshing.

The entire plot, and the characters themselves felt very formulaic. It read, to me, like the characters were created by giving them characteristics that they would be expected to have, rather than because it was pertinent to the character. The twists and turns the story took also felt expected, rather than the natural course for the story.

A few inconsistencies were found throughout the novel. As I was reading a unfinished copy, they might be corrected in the final version. The biggest seemed to be a character who supposedly unable to read does just that a little later on the book. I tend to let these slide in uncorrected proofs, and hope that any of them would be corrected in the final draft.

There are some promising plot elements. I enjoyed the magic aspect, and the hunt for 'the Blue' had some exciting moments. Overall though, these were not enough to turn the novel around for me. I ended up unsure if I will continue with the series.A premise with a lot of promise, but for me, failed to meet that promise. A book that, sadly, was just not meant for me as a reader. I do hope you check out some more positive reviews before deciding to read it. Goodreads has some 4 and 5 star ones that will offer a different perspective.

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