2013, Putnam Juvenile
Series: Book 1 of Heart of Dread
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?
The Good: The writing itself is good and the characters have some sass to them, making them a little more likeable, so the book isn't a total loss.
The Bad: If you've ever read any of my reviews, you know how much I dislike "on the run" novels. Usually these are middle of a trilogy books. Frozen, the first in a new series, is a journey book almost entirely (except for the first 15% of the book or so, in which the characters are introduced pre-travels). You may also know how much I really dislike the mixing of sciencey-dystopia with paranormal elements. It takes some really unique world building to pull something like that off and Frozen just doesn't have it at all. It's about the world frozen over. How does that lead to magically inclined people? If this were sent in a frozen over fantasy world (as opposed to a post-apocalyptic United States), then sure it could work, but I also would have known up front that this was not a book I would have ever even considered reading.