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Frozen: Heart of Dread, Book One Hardcover – September 17, 2013

3.6 out of 5 stars 127 customer reviews
Book 1 of 2 in the Heart of Dread Series

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Editorial Reviews

From School Library Journal

Gr 9 Up-Natasha Kestral is a blackjack dealer in New Vegas. She is also one of the "Marked," a group of oft-feared power wielders. They are sometimes telekinetic, self-healing, or telepathic, but always discernible by their brightly colored eyes. With the United States almost destroyed and the world engulfed in a new ice age, most people have lost all hope. Having escaped from the institution in which she was being held against her will, Nat has reinvented herself with a new identity. But a voice in her head is forcing her to go to a rumored paradise called The Blue. To get there, she hires Ryan Wesson and his band of ragtag underage pirates to book a passage over the frozen ocean. Upon meeting, Wes feels an instant connection with Nat. As the two teens begin to trust each other, Nat begins to understand her true destiny. Can she reach The Blue in time? While some plot elements are a little hard to swallow, such as Wes being a military veteran at only 16 years old, there is a concentrated effort to build a glacially complex dystopian setting that is unrecognizable from the world we know. The romance seems a little forced, but the well-developed supporting characters among the crew help to provide a well-rounded ensemble. The plot flows steadily while providing glimpses into familiar science-fiction concepts that the story uses as its foundation. Fans of The Hunger Games will no doubt enjoy sinking their teeth into this exciting book.-Ryan P. Donovan, New York Public Libraryα(c) Copyright 2013. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.

From Booklist

De la Cruz (Blue Bloods, 2013) and her husband, Johnston, begin a new dystopian-future series that focuses on environmental catastrophes—specifically, a new Ice Age. Their imaginative vision of the Remaining States of America (RSA) includes polluted oceans that have swallowed entire coasts, ruthless mercenaries, rigid class systems, and magic. It’s a world where potable water is a rare commodity only the rich can afford, and the population is young simply because no one lasts very long in such social and physical conditions. Nat is a 17-year-old blackjack dealer in New Vegas, where casinos and corruption reign. She seeks a mythical land called the Blue, a paradise where the sun still shines and magic is accepted, and she hires a dashing young mercenary, Ryan Wesson, to take her there. Ryan’s ragtag team guides Nat on a journey that is essentially one long chase scene filled with gangsters, unethical government officials, and danger from every possible source. Predictable romance and writing will not deter de la Cruz’s many fans or those hungry for yet another postapocalyptic future. The abrupt ending suggests there’s much more to come. Grades 7-12. --Debbie Carton
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Product Details

  • Age Range: 12 and up
  • Grade Level: 7 and up
  • Lexile Measure: 770L (What's this?)
  • Series: Heart of Dread (Book 1)
  • Hardcover: 320 pages
  • Publisher: G.P. Putnam's Sons Books for Young Readers; First Edition edition (September 17, 2013)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0399257543
  • ISBN-13: 978-0399257544
  • Product Dimensions: 5.8 x 1.1 x 8.6 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 3.6 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (127 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #136,934 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

More About the Author

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, Angels on Sunset Boulevard, Girl Stays in the Picture, 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, and the Witches of East End series.

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 lives in Los Angeles and Palm Springs with her husband and daughter.

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

Format: Hardcover
In a world covered in ice where resources are limited, society is severely controlled, and the magically marked are hunted down like animals, just surviving each day is a great accomplishment. Nat knows this more than most as she is one of the marked. After escaping from a facility built to use her and others like herself, she'll do just about anything to find a way out, including paying a rough and tough crew of Mercs to get her out of the city. She's searching for the Blue, something the captain of the Merc crew knows has cost many lives in the pursuit. But there's something about Nat that he can't turn down, and the two become quickly drawn to one another. In a hard world and secrets abound, can they over come the obstacles between them?

I'll admit that the world building left me scratching my head at times, but that could largely be due to there being so much going on at once. You have a post-apocalyptic setting, with a dystopian government in power, along with magically marked people reminiscent of the fae, and a mythical world that is supposed to border alongside ours. Don't get me wrong, all of these elements definitely kept things interesting, but I still felt like things weren't fully developed to their potential. The entire time I was reading, I just wanted to know more about the story, but answers were very slow coming, and many things weren't revealed at all. Granted this is a series and you want some mystery there, but I really think a little more depth spent on some things would have gone a long way.

I really really wanted to get into the romance in FROZEN, but no matter how hard I tried it just wasn't working. Everything between Nat and Wes felt rather stilted and I just couldn't get swooped up into their interactions.
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Format: Hardcover
In this post-apocalyptic YA tale the Earth is covered with ice, the RSA (Remaining States of America) military rule with an iron hand terrorizing citizens and hunting the "marked"-- citizens with strange and magical powers. The marked are sent to a military treatment center whose official front is to help these afflicted citizens, but when in fact, the military uses them for nefarious purposes. Nat Kestal is one of few who has ever escaped the treatment center. She makes her way to New Vegas where she hires an ex-mercenary Ryan Wesson to take her across the ocean to the mystical land of the Blue. Ryan has heard the rumors about the land of Blue where the land is lush and green, but he doubts its existence. Nat has money to pay for the expedition and Ryan whose crew is slowly starving reluctantly takes the job. What happens next will keep you on your toes.

The authors do a fantastic job of pulling the reader in with the opening pages of the voice inside Nat's mind. Their world building skills paint a vivid picture of a dying ice-covered Earth filled with polluted oceans that have swallowed continents whole and boast piles of trash as big as icebergs. Dangerous slavers and pirates roam the seas preying on pilgrims trying to reach the Blue. Everything has a price and the authors throw one riveting heart-pounding scene after another in this fast-paced adventure. The connection between Wes and Nat adds a touch of romance to the story, but doesn't overshadow the action. The major story arc is resolved, but there is much more story to tell. Can't wait to see what happens in the next book!

I received this book in exchange for a fair and honest review.
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Format: Kindle Edition
4.5 With great trepidation I started another series. I am suffering from series drag. Several of my series have just gone past their shelf life and muddled into the dull zone. I blame these authors that drag a good thing till it's nothing but trash. When this came up for early review i declined it. Then is came to the library and I just wanted to read a few pages. Still I held it for a week before I picked it up. Holy frozen world, I wish I had given it a shot earlier. The blurb on the book was terrible compared to the book.
The book started with a Vegas card dealer, Nat. She is looking to escape this world frozen under ice to a mystical utopia called The Blue. Her world is filled with starvation, cold, fear and death. She hides her true identity, she is one of the marked. The marked have special abilities, and are taken out of society and used or killed. The propaganda of the government has humans fearing them. One day a beautiful boy steps up to her table and tries to con her but ends up changing her life.
Wes is an ex military, survivalist, con man and hired gun. He has a crew of men he is trying to keep alive. The dealer at the casino, saw his con and ended up coning him. He is intrigued when she wants to hire his crew to The Blue. This girl attracts him, there is something about her. She is money which is survival, he take the job.
The world is frozen, the greenery is gone, life is held in sealed pockets for the wealthy to enjoy. Pirates, Smugglers, Slavers, and Flesh sellers run the outskirts. The inner cities are run by a totalitarian militant government. The Seas are black poisons, with floating islands or trash. Food and clean water are rare.
The journey is dangerous, deadly and bleak. The crew faces death and themselves.
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