Publisher: Orchard Books
Released: October 2nd 2014
My Rating: 3 stars out of 5
Find it on Goodreads
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. (from Goodreads)
There was dual POV between the characters Nat and Wes. They were both kind of strange. Nat was Marked, which meant she had unique coloured eyes that marked her as someone who had a certain power (though she wore contact lenses to hide this from everyone). She also had a voice in her head, which she just assumed was somehow associated with being Marked, but she didn't know for sure and I was kind of confused why she didn't try to find out more about it and ask questions. She couldn't tell anyone about it because of the way Marked people were treated but she could have at least done more than what she did. It was always telling her what to do and she never really questioned it. I know it wouldn't serve the plot to find out what the voice was right from the beginning, but I found it unrealistic that she would undertake this dangerous journey without knowing why. It was also really convenient that Joe just happened to have some weird map jewel thing (I don't even get it how it worked) that led to the exact place Nat needed to go, and that he just handed it over to her when she asked! And that he then got arrested/killed (?) for possessing it the very next day, even though he'd had it for weeks - why would they come after him for the stone that day when he'd had it for ages before that? Too coincidental and convenient.
Wes was an ex-General (at sixteen?!) and was very flirty but half the time I found it kind of awkward. He trusted people he really should not have trusted at all and the thing about his sister was so obvious, the reveal at the end really had no impact at all. Plus his relationship with Nat... I'm starting to think I'm the problem here. Maybe I'm just too cynical for this "I love you" crap, but I found the romance once again a bit insta-lovey and cheesy. I mean, they had gone through a lot together but I just thought it was too soon for the whole "I'll do anything for you" stuff and eh, it felt a bit sappy at times. I preferred the beginning when they weren't too sure of each other yet to the end where it was a bit cheesy. One positive, though, was that his voice was pretty different from Nat's so it was easy to distinguish between POVs.
Plot-wise...ehh. I did like some things, like the fact that Wes and Nat met quite early on so we didn't get dragged out scenes from their points of view. I don't like it when there are multiple POVs but the characters don't meet until 3/4 of the way through the book, so this was a nice change. But there were a lot of problems too. I mean there was so much potential but the world-building was a bit shaky. Like, why were some people Marked and why did they rot if they were away from the Blue? (Also, the Blue so reminded me of All Blue from One Piece.) How did the protection spell work? And if they were living in some frozen land why was there a water shortage? Why was salt such a valuable commodity when you can artificially synthesise it? People were willing to pay that much for a slight difference in taste? There were a lot of unanswered questions. In addition to that, some things just weren't believable. The whole needing to get a "day pass" marriage licence thingy just so you could kiss/sleep with someone was so weird. Why would that happen? Did society go back to some weird "no sex before marriage ah but it's okay even if it's only for one day" mentality? And like anyone could really enforce it, which was evidenced by the fact that Nat and Wes did stuff with no problems. Concerning Nat's power, how did she just know exactly how to do what was necessary without any training? After years of never being able to control it, she just knew what to do! Plus the twist at the end to do with Nat's power just came out of nowhere and while it was kind of cool, I was just left thinking "...what." Plus, I felt the Blue was a bit of a letdown, though maybe it will be explored more in the next book. One of the most ridiculous things though was "textlish". The language used in text messages (which no-one actually uses because seriously I swear most people just type out everything properly these days and most phones have predictive text) became the standard language for written signs and stuff (because there were no books anymore?) except some people actually SPOKE it too and it was so stupid. Why would "textlish" become the standard language? It made no sense! And then there was this weird scene where you thought Wes maybe never learnt to read but then later he read something out loud and I was so confused as to why the first scene was included.
Overall, Frozen was interesting enough to make me want to finish it and see what happened, but it had a lot of problems that are difficult to overlook. I might give the next book a go however as I am still quite intrigued to see where the story is heading.