Review: Frozen by Melissa de la Cruz & Michael Johnston

September 27, 2013 3.5 stars, Book Review 13 ★★★½


From New York Times bestselling author Melissa de la Cruz and Michael Johnston comes this remarkable first book in a spellbinding new series about the dawn of a new kind of magic.

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.


Frozen was an interesting mix of post apocalyptic future, military/government tyranny and magic. I found the idea of this future Las Vegas to be fascinating. I wish there could have been just a tad bit more time spent there so I’m a bit torn on that respect – but the journey gets even more engaging once the tale takes us outside of Las Vegas.

This was a story that was reaching for so many elements and because of that some of sort of fell by the wayside. In that way I think it both worked and didn’t work. Ultimately, I believe whether a reader will enjoy Frozen will really depend on how busy they like their reading to be. While I feel rather middle of the road on Frozen I do think it is a book that I would pick up and read again at a later time – AND likely enjoy more the second time around.  I’ve read a fair number of debut author titles the past two years and this one had a debut author feel to it. Slightly rough around the edges and in need of a tad bit more polish but still enjoyable. I think this is one that may get better with the next book.

I liked the main characters Nat and Wes and they had a blossoming relationship that was interesting to see develop. There was however, some undefinable element that left me wanting something more.  What that is I can’t explain and can only hope I see it in book 2. I do wonder if this wouldn’t have made a better adult series instead of a young adult one.

For those who are really loving YA post apocalyptic fiction and would like it with a dose of magical elements thrown in this would be a title to consider.


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• An advanced uncorrected copy was provided by the publisher for an honest review. Quotes come from an advanced uncorrected edition and are subject to change. All opinions expressed are my own. Please note that this post also contains affiliate links. To view our full Blog Policy, click here.

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Tabitha (Pabkins)

When I'm in the zone I can flip book pages faster than the eye can see - screaming "More Input!" I'm a book, yarn, & art supply hoarding goblin who loves to draw, make toys and craft all sorts of creepy cute things. My current habit is to listen to audio books while I'm arting it up!
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13 Responses to “Review: Frozen by Melissa de la Cruz & Michael Johnston”

  1. Anya

    “This was a story that was reaching for so many elements and because of that some of sort of fell by the wayside.” Very much agreed. I like all of the different elements it has, but didn’t feel like they fit together. I’m hopeful that the sequel might weave them together better? I’m just always hopeful about dragons >.>
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    • Tabitha the Pabkins

      Yeah it was a shame. It just really needed more polishing and just less stuff. I was sad it didn’t end up being fabulous cause the premise sure did sound like it was going to be. So yeah we’ll see. Have you ever read the Death Gate Cycle series by Margaret Weis and Tracy Hickman? If you haven’t oh jeez you need to. 7 books series, older but still my favorite fantasy series I’ve ever read!

        • Tabitha the Pabkins

          Oh then you will LOVE this series! You remember Fizban / Zifnab? Well he’s in the Death Gate Cycle books also. I think that he’s essentially their version of “God” perhaps? Who knows but I loved those Dragonlance books as well! Book one is called Dragon Wing. I think it’s time soon for me to reread it.

  2. Clever Girl

    This has been on my TBR list forever, after reading your review I’m even more excited about it.

  3. Jamie

    This book is my my TBR list but was never a high priority. Sounds like it should remain a lower priority. The mix it has has me intrigued but apprehensive at the same time.
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  4. Cali W.

    I love this author! I haven’t read this book yet, but I think your review makes me want to read it. 😉