Review: Frozen by Melissa de la Cruz and Michael Johnston

Review: Frozen by Melissa de la Cruz and  Michael Johnston Frozen by Melissa de la CruzMichael Johnston
Published by Penguin on September 17th 2013
Pages: 352
Source:Copy provided by publisher for review, via Netgalley

A major new fantasy series from the New York Times bestselling author of Blue Bloods and The Witches of East End.

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 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 a remarkable first book in a spellbinding new series about the dawn of a new kind of magic.

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True story, I could probably leave you with that and call it a day. I won’t, of course, but I could and you probably would be fine. I should have listened to Cait @ Notebook Sisters like I usually do. I should have listened to Kirsty @ Studio Reads like I usually do. I trust their recommendations, and generally don’t fall too far from the same opinion. But, it sounded interesting, the cover is gorgeous, and it was on Netgalley. So I did the only logical thing: Ignored reason and read it anyway.

Sigh. I tried to get into it, because 1) Vegas and 2) Frozen world. I’d read about 15% and I was calling it quits, for the time being. I had no idea what was going on, and I kind of didn’t care. Plus, the copy I had looked more like a ransom note than an ebook (look, I get having an unfinished proof, but goodness, this was too much!) and it was incredibly hard to read, when names and places weren’t capitalized, font sizes were all over the place, etc.  But then I DNFed another review book. It was my first ever DNF, and I just couldn’t do it twice in one week. So I picked this bad boy back up. that-is-stupid

The weird thing was, I actually started to like it after awhile! I had gotten a bit used to the world and the characters, and even though the text was gibberish, my eyes were starting to compute. I liked Nat and Wes, and really was started to get interested in what was happening to them. A good chunk of the book ended up taking place in a sea of frozen garbage… or something. Basically, Wes and his crew were being paid by Nat to take her to “the Blue” (which, incidentally, I feel like I have read before), and so it was a sea-trip of sorts, with all kinds of people trying to stop them on their illegal journey. That part was okay for awhile, I was even kind of getting into it, but then weird stuff that didn’t make sense started happening. Someone ended up overboard,  and everyone was like “okay, cool, see you never”. And then all kinds of magical junk started showing up, and it made absolutely no sense, certainly not in the context of this book. I couldn’t keep track of who had powers, who didn’t, and (importantly to me) why. Then there were so many random groups of “bad guys”, they were just showing up all over the place. I don’t want to say too much of course, but suffice it to say that the ending was completely ridiculous, made zero sense, and basically made me just scream in frustration. I guess it was supposed to set up the next book but um, nope. It just confused me and made me angrier.

The world building… I needed more of it. Maybe some of these random powers and such would have worked if there was more of a context for them to work in. But as it stood, there were just so, so many unanswered questions for me that I couldn’t get any visual of the setting. I was just getting “cold, dead stuff, ocean-like body of water, magic”. And a kid eating his jacket, because that happened.

The other issue I had was that the characters felt like they could have worked. The bones were there, and maybe they’ll be developed more in future books that I won’t be reading, but they were kind of shells. I kept waiting for the character development to come, because it felt kind of close, but it never did. I feel like this book could have been a lot better had it been in first person dual POVs, but the third person dual POVs made me feel quite detached from both characters.

I guess the bottom line is that the whole book could have worked. The premise was pretty fantastic, and the characters had potential (hence the star and a half that I ended up giving it), but it never delivered, and then just got weird, complicated, confusing, and downright annoying. 1hstar

Clearly, this was not a win for me. What is the last book that frustrated you so much you wanted to (or did) scream at it? Don’t worry, I definitely screamed at this one. 

Posted November 6, 2014 by Shannon @ It Starts at Midnight in Review / 11 Comments

11 responses to “Review: Frozen by Melissa de la Cruz and Michael Johnston

  1. You see where I get confused with this book is the fact that it first came out last year! I know it did because I meet the authors and got a signed advanced copy, and then suddenly it’s on Netgalley and re-releasing? I guess it’s because no one knew it came out the first time!?!

    Anyways, I’ve said it before, on basically every review I’ve read of it, but I remember actually liking this book. I think it’s a bad sign that I don’t remember what I liked about it, or why I liked it, nor do I have any pressing need to pick up the next one. But I distinctly remember liking it. Of course, this was before I started reviewing a lot… I don’t know. Basically, I really want to re-read it to see if I still love it and to remember why I loved it.

    Okay, I seem to be in the mood for leaving long comments tonight…moving on. Great review and I’m sorry you didn’t like this one, but mad props for sticking with it! I had to go to goodreads to find the last book that frustrated me this much, but I would have to say it was Following Zippy, which was a review book that I wound up DNF-ing.

    • Yeah, I was confused too! Like is this new or old? Maybe it is being released somewhere else for the first time, like UK or Australia or something and they wanted buzz? I think the paperback was released recently.

      I have seen that you liked this one, and I really kind of want you to reread it too! Maybe there is something I am missing? Granted, your copy probably didn’t look like a child put it together either. That has to help 😉

      Totally looking up Zippy now… Okay. Everyone agrees that Zippy needs some help. It’s kind of sad, I wanted to like it based on the title alone. Maybe the author can revamp it or something? (Why am I attached to Zippy suddenly? Weird.)

  2. Wait wait, someone eats their jacket? Okay, that’s the most hilarious thing I’ve ever heard. And disturbing. But seriously, I mean, come on it’s just stupid. Someone ended up overboard, and everyone was like “okay, cool, see you never” Well, that cheered me up, haha. Now I’m really glad I didn’t finish it, and yeah the format was crap, so it doesn’t help either. And totally, third person just didn’t work for this, I always find it hard to find a connection with third person anyway, but there are ones that get it right (for me the Goddess War series by Kendare Blake, and there are a lot of characters involved and I love them all.)

    Ha! The last one I wanted to scream at(and throw out the window- but it was on my kindle, so that wasn’t going to happen) A Thousand Pieces of You by Claudia Gray (still- haven’t come across one I’ve hated so much since) never have I wanted to slap so many characters in one book.

    • YES! I mean, I don’t want to spoil (ha!) stuff for others, but Wes actually eats part of his damn coat when he gets hungry. I can’t. Be SO glad you didn’t finish. The last ten percent, oh my goodness. It was so, so bad. I thought someone was seriously messing with me, because nothing made sense! Like this book was put on NG as some kind of blogger psychology test to see if we would take it seriously. They might still be laughing at us.

      I am SO sad that you hated A Thousand Pieces of You. Like, seriously super sad. That was definitely going to be my next book. I’m scared! THIS book is what happened the last time I didn’t heed your advice 😉

      • I really can’t believe that, so so so glad I didn’t finish it, I honestly didn’t think the rest would be that bad. Ha though, imagine if it was, evil people.

        I do think it’s just me on that, everyone seems to be loving it, could’ve been my mood too, because the main thing that really made me mad was something that’s been in two series I was watching at the same time, so I could’ve been sensitive, I don’t know.

  3. I don’t think I’ve ever seen a 1 1/2 star rating from you! Sounds like you really tried to like this book, but there was little TO like. I scream at books that are both really good and really bad. (and cliffhangers) I’m having trouble with my current book, but the potential is there so I of course can’t give up. Something has to eventually happen, right?

    • Nope! I don’t think I have rated a book so low in a long, long time. I would have rated a few books lower: Any of the Fifty Shades books (yuck) and Dead Ever After (the last Sookie Stackhouse book). But yeah.. other than a DNF, this is probably as bad as it gets for me!

      That is why I didn’t give up on this one- potential! But alas, I was out of luck 😉

  4. Ah boooo. I actually did not request this book just because it had the same title of Frozen the Disney movie, and I knew I would just end up comparing the two. I’m glad I never did request it though, because I see that you did not enjoy it much hahahah! I’m sorry about that! I hope you have a better read next time Shannon!

  5. Have you read De la Cruz’s Blue Blood series? I loved the first three in the series but than I gradually found myself losing interest in the series as it progressed.

    I started this last year and reached back 55 before I found another book more interesting. I havent come back to it since. Based on your review I probably wont. I still have Vampires of Manhattan to read.

    As always, Great review!

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