Wednesday, March 19, 2014

Review: Frozen by Melissa de la Cruz and Michael Johnston

 photo Frozen_zps485aed08.jpg
Title: Frozen
Authors: Melissa de la Cruz and Michael Johnston
Narrators: Phoebe Strole and Dan Bittner
Publisher: Dreamscape Media
Publication Date: September 17, 2013
Source: library
Format: WMA
Length: 7hrs and 51mins
 photo goodreads-badge-add-plus-d700d4d3e3c0b346066731ac07b7fe47_zpsa5d19327.png
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.

This is my very first audio book! I might be a little hooked. I will never give up reading but there is more merit in listening to an audio book than I ever thought there was. It’s like Bluetooth, you really don’t know how much easier it makes your life until you get one. Then you are like, dude this rocks!! I got to do my crafts, laundry, or even just lay down when my head hurt and still get some “reading” done. Plus I have found that I really enjoy listening the way the narrators portray different characters. They are acting really, doing their best to be every character in the book and capture everyone’s emotions just through the tone of their voice. That takes some serious skill! 

Speaking of narration, I really loved both of the narrators of this book. They were able to capture the tone of each character, even with the duel points of view. The male narrator’s female voice was a little weird but that didn’t take away from the story, it just made me giggle a little whenever he spoke as the female MC.

Since Frozen is told from the point of view of both Nate and Ryan, you really get to know both characters very well. I really enjoyed seeing how they each reacted to each obstacle in their strenuous journey and how that brought them closer together as time went on.

When our story begins Nat and Ryan associate with each other at all. They are both just trying to live and survive in the harsh world of New Vegas. They world is polluted and frozen with harsh government restrictions ruling the citizens life unless you have the money the pay for basic necessities such as real food and pure water. Both Nat and Ryan do what they can to stay alive in this cruel world. Nat works in a casino and has a secret that can get her killed, Ryan heads a hodgepodge group of ex- military boys who are counting on him to get them work so they can make enough money to eat.

When Nat suddenly finds a map to “The Blue”, a mystical island where the sun still shines and natural resources are still alive, she hires Ryan and his crew to get her there. She keeps the fact that she has the map to herself afraid to trust the rag tag crew or its captain with her secrets for fear they might dump her and take the map for themselves, even if she feels a strange connection to Ryan.

Ryan is an ex-soldier with a heart. He takes his role as captain very seriously and tries to do right by his crew and their passenger, Nat. No matter what he feels towards her, his first priority is his men and he has to choose how far to take this mysterious girl before he can no longer risk the safety of his crew.
The more obstacles they come across the closer Nat and Ryan become, no matter how hard they fight it, they start to get to know each other and want to help each other. And boy do they face a ton of obstacles! At every turn it seems like things can’t get any more difficult for the group but then things do.
That was one of my favorite things about this story, you really cannot predict what is going to happen next. It’s wonderfully excited and really draws you into the adventure and doesn’t let you go!
Every character plays their own important part in this journey and each challenge the group faces gives you a little more information about the world, the characters and this epic adventure they find themselves on.

I really one have two criticisms about the book. Nat is entirely to self-deprecating and a lot of times I found that her negative thoughts didn’t go with her heroic actions. Sometimes I could follow the train of thought to how she changed her mind and decided to stand up and fight for what she wanted. Other times I had no clue when she’d gone from “I totally suck” to “I totally got this”, it was a little confusing. The only other thing that made it sort of hard to get through this book what how long it took to get to the good stuff vs. how long the book was. Things start of slow, as series do, in order to give you the back story needed to paint a picture of the world your characters are in. Then they kind of trot along, sort of dragging but still moving at a decent clip. Then the last part of the story is like this huge cataclysm of events with a little draggy part in the middle. I guess I just felt like it could have been edited down a bit to keep up the pacing.

All in all I really enjoyed Frozen! The ending left me with my mouth hanging open and wanting to continue the journey with these wonderful characters. I would recommend this book to anyone who likes dystopian adventure with a little romance thrown in! 

Melissa de la Cruz is the New York Times and USA Today best-selling author of many critically acclaimed and award-winning novels for teens including The Au Pairs series, the Blue Bloods series, the Ashleys series, the Angels on Sunset Boulevard series and the semi-autobiographical novel Fresh off the Boat.

Her books for adults include the novel Cat’s Meow, the anthology Girls Who Like Boys Who Like Boys and the tongue-in-chic handbooks How to Become Famous in Two Weeks or Less and The Fashionista Files: Adventures in Four-inch heels and Faux-Pas.

She has worked as a fashion and beauty editor and has written for many publications including The New York Times, Marie Claire, Harper’s Bazaar, Glamour, Cosmopolitan, Allure, The San Francisco Chronicle, McSweeney’s, Teen Vogue, CosmoGirl! and Seventeen. She has also appeared as an expert on fashion, trends and fame for CNN, E! and FoxNews.

Melissa grew up in Manila and moved to San Francisco with her family, where she graduated high school salutatorian from The Convent of the Sacred Heart. She majored in art history and English at Columbia University (and minored in nightclubs and shopping!).

She now divides her time between New York and Los Angeles, where she lives in the Hollywood Hills with her husband and daughter.

Check out this Q&A on PublishersWeekly.ciom to get some insight on this writing duo (hint: they are married!)
Connect with Melissa