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review 2017-07-24 20:03
Soleri / Michael Johnston
Soleri - Michael Johnston

I am a big fan of anything Ancient Egyptian and of King Lear, so when I heard this book described as inspired by both of those things, I knew I had to give it a try. The environment and the architecture were definitely reminiscent of Ancient Egypt, as were the names and some of the religious observances, but the author definitely gave his world its own traditions and quirks.

I didn’t really see the King Lear comparison—unlike Shakespearean tragedy, there were survivors! I guess the Harkan king, Arko Hark-Wadi could have been somewhat equivalent to Lear, but he is not nearly passionate enough to truly do justice to that monarch. However, that does not mean that it was a disappointing book.

All the members of Arko’s family, in fact, seem rather cold and calculating, even when they are supposedly in love with someone. There are manipulations and misunderstandings galore! If you enjoy back-stabbing and elaborate plots to sabotage rivals, this is the book for you.

I suspect there will be a sequel—there were enough loose ends left hanging to justify one. Probably sales of this volume will determine whether the sequel sees the light of day. I, for one, like messy endings, so I am okay with Soleri’s final pages, but if you need things wrapped up neatly, you may find it frustrating.

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review 2015-03-02 00:00
Frozen
Frozen - 'Melissa de la Cruz', 'Michael Johnston' This started off well, interesting dystopian frozen world. But too many inconsistencies (seriously, everyone is incredibly poor but our heroes have all the gas in the world to drive around both a car and a boat?) and every time a conversation was started it would end abruptly as some weirdness would occur - stuck tires, something in the road, big game hunters, thrillers (roll my eyes on this one), military etc etc.
The story stopped and started, jerking me along with it.
There was the occasional ick factor when I remembered how old everyone was - sixteen year old bride? - I know the groom is also young but it still bothered me.
The story twisted and turned, it was one thing, then it was another, more and more magical groups were loaded on - rather like gasoline thrown onto a fire - boom, boom, I was hit, for a while I was prepared to go with the flow, hoping the story would unfold/explain itself eventually, but sorry, hit the weird chick on the boat, the big monster in the water and the invisible something with claws and calling this book officially dnf and I don't care.
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review 2014-12-20 08:25
Frozen
Frozen - 'Melissa de la Cruz', 'Michael Johnston'

Let it go!

 

It's probably best if you just let this book go. While parts of the story seemed promising (in advance) it's really just quite a mess. I'll try to explain it to some extend, but I'm not sure it's possible.

 

The world is frozen (Let it go!) for some reason and almost everything is gone except for Las Vegas, now called New Vegas (but basically exactly the same as the old Vegas). If you live to the ripe old age of 30 without having cancer, it's considered a medical miracle. Why?! This is mentioned once as an explanation as to why there are almost no adults in the entire book. But it's not enough for me. What causes all this cancer? Am I to believe it's because of the snow? Really?

It must also be the only place covered in snow with a drinking water problem...

 

There is one mythical land that apparently has sees that are not poisonous and lands that are not frozen (Let it go!) and possible even unicorns. It would fit in with the rest of the world as there are dragons, "smallmen", zombies called "Thrillers" *insert Michael Jackson* and lots of other creatures that aren't explained properly. The map to this land, called "The Blue", is a gemstone (how does that even work?) and came out of the blue *BA DUM TSS* into the possession of Nat, the MC. It gets worse, because the main character is Markes, which means she has weird or possibly just blue/grey (Ice!) eyes and a very confusing (and convenient) set of powers.

 

She enlists Wes and his cronies (a band of teenage mercenaries) to take her to this Blue. And this is where the annoying instalove comes in. The message of this book was that True Love (or True Instalove) is stronger than magic or whatever problem you may encounter. Do I need to say more?

 

I won't bother with the second book...

 

Frozen is the first book in the Heart of Dread series, the second instalment Stolen is also available.

 

Thanks to the publisher and Netgalley for providing me with a free copy of this book in exchange for an honest review!

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review 2014-11-14 06:14
A big book of Meh
Frozen - Melissa de la Cruz,Michael Johnston

This book is sad. Not because it's actually a sad book but because it has the potential to be so much more. I felt sorely disappointed by this book because I found it to be lacking. The premises was so intriguing yet we didn't get what we had been promised.

 

The book is set in a world where the people are stuck in an ice age of sorts and you can kind of imagine the kind of trouble that would cause. The poor tend to suffer from frostblight since they cannot get warm enough and the rich hoard heat credits. Sounds interesting? Yeah. And over time, the population has forgotten how to read and text speech is now what is being used to communicate with the population. Sounds scary? HECK YEAH! Unfortunately all these things that could have been further developed to make the world more solid and definite were only mentioned. Plus, the mythology fan in me was severely disappointed when the aspect of Atlantis was only mentioned. The entire book is based on them finding it yet we got nothing about it besides how awesome it was. More than a little saddening.

 

That isn't all though. The characters themselves weren't as well developed as they could have been. I don't know a lot about them and what I know kind of makes me shake my head. The two main characters, Wes and Nat, were just not that smart. When you get ready to plan some sort of adventure across a polluted ocean and you have the money to buy provisions, BUY THEM. Buy them so you don't resort to eating twigs and fishing a polluted ocean for fish that may or may not be poisonous. Think things through.

 

They are also supposed to be super smart. The weird thing about Wes is that in spite of all his experiences he doesn't seem to be the hardened solider one might expect. In fact he is pretty soft, he admits it himself! He is also a horrible leader, that he also admits. He's got the lives of his own crew to protect yet he is willing to take on extra passengers even if they have nothing to eat and taking on said passengers could lower all of their survival rates. Way to call the shots and make tough decisions.

 

These little things bothered me but what also bothered me was the fact that two fell into a serious case of insta-love. It seemed like insta-love was the norm in this book. I don't understand how they could have fallen in love so quickly, with so little to go on and so many secrets between them. I am sure love happens but at the same time, there wasn't enough development afterwards to make the insta-love believable.

 

The plot was okay. Okay is a sad word to use but really that's what it was. A bunch of random things happened and were not really elaborated on and the we never really got a lot of the answers. Of course, the author may be saving the answers for the sequels. I just feel like I wanted more out of this book than I got.

 

A lot of the plot seems to fly by and in a bad way. They don't face as many challenges as one might expect and on top of that, the major obstacle goes by in a matter of pages, not even a chapter, pages! It happens and then THE END.

 

I never really noticed them using the map all that much either which made me wonder how they got to their location in the first place. In fact, I would have imagined that having the map would have been useful but with the way things turned out for them, they didn't seem to have needed it.

 

All these little inconsistencies with the plot bothered me but I never really hated the book.

 

It's not a bad read, it's just it's not quality reading material either. The pages might fly by for you and you might love this book to pieces but that was just not the case for me.

 

If you're looking for a quick mindless read and are intrigued by this one, I'd say go for it, just don't expect miracles.

 

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review 2014-11-01 03:30
Frozen - Melissa de la Cruz,Michael Johnston

I received a copy of this book from the publisher via NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.  Thank you for the opportunity to read this book!

Frozen was a really, really weird book. It has really (intentionally) odd punctuation, and capitalization, and in the end, I just couldn't really get past that. I loved the idea of the world and I wanted to know a lot more about it, but I couldn't get into the characters.

I really tried to get past the capitalization and stuff, but I had a REALLY hard time with it. It really annoyed me that I couldn't seem to find a pattern or reason to it, and that kind of preoccupied me for a lot of the book. So while I tried not to let it affect my rating, it did in the end. I found it so distracting that I had a hard time focusing on the story.

I did enjoy the story (what I could focus on), and the world, as I mentioned before, but didn't care for the characters much, and I'm a person who generally needs to care about characters to enjoy the story, so that was a pretty major problem for me, but I did enjoy what was there enough to want to continue the series in the future. Overall, I enjoyed where the story took me, though I was MAJORLY disappointed about one thing toward the end, something I thought could have been a really interesting twist, but then I was let down... a lot. :(

Another issue I had was that I kept forgetting the book was intended for a YA audience, not because of the writing or anything like that, but because I kept forgetting that the characters are supposed to be 15-17 years old, for the most part. I... did not buy that, at all. They act like teenagers at times, but most of the time, I didn't feel like the characters were teens at all. Maybe that's part of the point, that the world being the way it is forced them to grow up, but every time that was brought up I was kind of thrown for a loop. Definitely could have done without that, lol.

I wanted a bit more background on Nat and Wes, and how the world came to be the way it is in the book, but hopefully we'll get more of that in future installments in the series.

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