PJV Quickie: I always have high hopes for Melissa de la Cruz’s titles and this one was no different. FROZEN seemed to be a great addition to the dystopian genre and the writing was spectacular, yet the further I got into the story the more convoluted the plot became and I found myself confused at points until the final culmination at the end when everything just went insane. Interesting read and I would be wrong to say it wasn’t surprising, but the chaos at the end left me feeling rushed as if the authors just wrapped things up, quickly with no thought as to the pacing. Then cut it off with a quick goodbye and a completely rearranged plot…giving the impressions of two books glued together.

Review: The dystopian setting is a frozen wasteland. The town is what was once Las Vegas. The casinos are still in existence along with the party lifestyle. It is a good way to blend in and earn money. The entire planet has been destroyed,  but rumors of a paradise, called The Blue run rampant in the culture. A blackjack dealer, named Natasha Kestal has heard the rumors and thinks she knows how to get to The Blue. Nat is gifted with magic, evident in the color of her eyes and an odd tattoo that glows on her skin. She has to hide her abilities behind contacts and clothing, if she were ever found out, she would be locked up, exiled or killed. To get to The Blue, Nat has to hire a mercenary group to take her across the tundra to the polluted sea and then through the dangerous waters to the island where The Blue is said to exist. Ryan Wesson is the Captain of the crew she hires. Wes is introduced as an enigmatic bad-boy character that you don’t know whether to trust or swoon over.

The plot sounds good right? It sounded interesting to me, the reason I read it. And again, you can’t fault the writing style. It was in the implementation. I felt like an uniformed reader. The book was hurried, with little explanation of details that left me confused at a lot of points. Not to mention, it changed course once the characters hit the water, feeling like two books entirely. I felt as if I was reading a half-formed book at times, with scenes missing and exposition not finished.

I knew that Nat had been in some sort of government facility at the beginning of the novel and they hint at what she did there, they even make these big scenes which keep Nat and Wes a part from each other because of past wrong-doings within this government facility, but there is NO explanation of what happened there, no flash-backs, nothing. I felt as if I was an uniformed observer. Stuck in present-tense when most of what was needed to understand was in the past.

Secondly, the characters were teens and children, yet with the high death rate and the fact that you were elderly by the time you were 30, at 16 you were middle aged in this novel. Yet, still the characters acted as if they were modern-day teens, instead of abused teenagers, that should have had the maturity of adults. They spoke in immature tones, worried about immature topics, all wrapped with in a young adult tone – which diminished their presence within the novel. Giving them a two-dimensional out-put that was severely lacking. This can be done too, look how the characters of The Hunger Games still maintained their young age and inexperience with life, but also invoked a maturity that only children of hardship could convey. These were no such characters. They were card-board cut-outs of stereotypical young adult characters placed within a different world. The same problem I had with Melissa de la Cruz’s last novel, leading me to believe that this might be my last one from her.

Finally, the plot. There was so much going on, yet very little explanation. You had zombies that weren’t zombies, magic people that were killed — yet existed in these towns that didn’t exist — yet had government patrols at check-points right outside of them. There was water that was like sludge, with floating barges of garbage that would be impossible to get away from, except of course the bad guys could maneuver easily through it. There was a character that had magic powers that knew how to use them at points, but not at others. Bad guys that had honor with some things, but none at other points. And then finally at the end – sudden understanding by the main character of how to fix things. Even though she had a voice in her head the whole time – that conveniently shut-up the moment she got in real trouble at the climax to elude to the hopelessness of the situation – that of course dragged on a little too long.

This book was a hot mess, that actually seemed interesting when I was reading it, until I inexplicably came to the sudden understanding that most of it was a hat trick and the end didn’t have any satisfaction. I got caught up in de la Cruz’s pretty writing and didn’t realize until the final output that what I had just read made no sense. Again I find myself at odds with the majority opinion, so obviously a lot of people are enjoying this book, but frankly I can’t give praise to this book. Call it bending genre tropes, but frankly it was a stereotypical representation of a young adult read that I will call SciFi Fantasy Fusion and bid adieu. I will not be reading on in the series, or probably any other series from this author.

Recommendations: I am not recommending this book, but if you are a fan of Melissa de la Cruz you might enjoy it. There is violence in these novels and some sexual interaction. Recommended for teens 14+.