Thursday, 16 January 2014

GoodRead - Frozen

As you guys might be aware, I was on the Mystical Lit Lounge podcast, chatting about the World Premiere of The Hunger Games: Catching Fire (my episode is here if you fancy a listen or you're curious on what I sound like). So, because I love this podcast and both Kim and Shannon, I wanted to do one of the podcast's Book of the Month. And this month, the podcast was doing two books I really want to read: Frozen by Melissa de la Cruz and Michael Johnston and These Broken Stars by Amie Kaufman and Meagan Spooner. So, bought both audiobooks and I have finished Frozen, hence this review.

So, hopefully, the lovely ladies at MLL will have a spoiler-filled episode on this out by the time this review pops online (if so, the link will go here!). If not, oh well... Here's my (hopefully) spoiler-free review.

In a futurist world covered in ice, there is New Vegas. Its neon lights still shining bright. The gambling still 24/7. Nat is a young blackjack dealer in one of the casinos, but she is Marked and in hiding. For if you're Marked, you are treated with fear. Nat can hear a voice inside her head, ordering her to travel to the Blue. A place where the skies are blue, the water is drinkable and the sun shines. But the Blue doesn't exist... right?

But when she's finds a map that could take her there, she enlisted the help of Wes, a "runner" and a former Marine. Can he get her safety there? And what would the pair face as they cross the ice and the dangerous black waters?

Now, I'm in two minds over this. I like the audiobook and I like the idea of the story. But I have problems. Quite a few problems that can really be summed up into three points.

But let's start with the positives. I enjoyed listening to the story, and I think the main reasons for this was he two readers of the audiobooks: Phoebe Stroll and Dan Bittner. I liked how they read the characters of Wes and Nat. Even though one or two characters's voices grated on me a little bit, I enjoyed how they told the story.

And (all English teachers around the world would be furious that I started a sentence with that word) I liked the general idea of Frozen. I like the idea of there being a second ice age and the idea that there is a utopia somewhere on the planet. Plus, the story between Nat and Wes that slowly turned from client and hired help to friends to possible lovers was nice and slow. Not instant love. HURRAY!!!

But I have faults. Three real faults.

The first is age. By that, I mean both of the main characters and the target readership. Both Nat and Wes are sixteen. Yet, this feels unbelievable. As I stated before, Nat is a blackjack dealer so it kinda fits. If you don't think too much about the gambling laws at the present moment (which, by the looks of it, don't exist in this new icy world). But Wes is the problem. Wes is an ex-Marine sergeant, a mercenary and a "runner". Yet, we are told that Wes is sixteen years old. It doesn't feel plausible, and because of this, you begin to wonder if the authors change the characters's age by a few years to fit the YA age group. The reason I feel this is because, at times, I honestly felt that the characters should have been eighteen, nineteen, maybe even twenty and the story could have been more interesting but this would be classed as New Adult or fantasy.

My second problem is world building. I am using this as a very broad umbrella so please bear with me. The world building in this story was, to me, either vague or non-existent. If you want me to believe in this world, you have to give me something to believe in. For example, the world is in the grip of a second ice age but, to my knowledge, the authors didn't tell us what caused this ice age. Was it global warming? Was it a meteor, crashing into earth? Did the sun die? This was never explain so I always doubted it. Then we were introduced to fantastical creatures - sylphs, draus, drakons (aka dragons to you and I), thrillers (aka zombies), wailers and the Blue being a utopia that might have been Atlantis - and it's too much. We get confused and ask questions that don't get answered. You can't create a good world building by throwing magical creatures at the readers. It doesn't work.

My third and final point is predictability. Apart from one hour, maybe two hours at a push, I knew where the story was going. I could guess (and usually got right) what was going to happen in each chapter and saw how each chapter was going to end. And (that word again) because it was so predictable, I saw things and went "Oh, how convenient. Maybe... a little too convenient". Like I said, there was a nearly two hours of the story where I didn't know where it was going and there was one point I went "NO! Don't you dare do a Jace/Clary in City of Bones on me!" but, most of the time, I saw where it was going.

There is potential in this series. I'm hope that this potential could be hit upon in the second book. But the question is: will I go back to this series? Truthfully, I'm not certain. Maybe I will, just for the narrators. But the story... I'm not certain that I will rush out and buy it. Maybe I'll wait other reviewers reactions....


  1. Andrew, I never really thought about the age, complete oversight for me, but yeah, wow, that gives me something else to think about. I'm not a stickler for world building, its fiction, and therefore anything can happen and well, I love The Fey! :-)

    1. Not sure why the age thing bothered me. My brain kept going "Nope. That wouldn't happen! They're too young for that!"

      I need to warm up to Fey stories. Any good'uns out there (I have read the first 2 in the Iron Fey series, if that helps...)