More YA – Heart of Dread: Frozen by Melissa de la Cruz, Michael Johnston

October is turning into a good month for YA novels. Maybe it’s the shorter days, or the bleak skies, or the knowledge of the winter to come, but something always makes me turn back to my childhood favorites to cheer me up (rereading Diana Wynne Jones’s entire collection of written work, anyone?) But I think it’s good to also branch out and see what the Youth of Today are reading (or at least could potentially be reading.)

I already reviewed the comically terrible series The 100 earlier this month, and followed that up with a pretty-good-if-slightly-preachy coming-of-age novel with a gay main character. (Yay for gays!) Now it’s time to review our third YA novel of the month, this one called Heart of Dread: Frozen. Now, I couldn’t help but think of that one really popular Disney movie that came out not so long ago, especially considering the cover art, but thankfully this book has little to do with princesses that control ice while singing.

I am going to be honest here and say that this book was not the greatest book I have ever read. The plot is zingy – a girl with Mysterious Powers and Cool Eyes lives in a frozen future-dystopia land of trash and ice, and has a map to a Magical Land of goodness and warmth and everything nice, so she hires some Rakish Young Ruffians to help her get there. Along the way she Falls in Love, learns the true potential of her powers, and must make the Ultimate Sacrifice for Love.

Ok, so the plot holds up well because it’s fairly well-written, but it also relies very heavily on common tropes and I rolled my eyes enough during reading this that somewhere my grandma’s probably still telling me they’ll get stuck that way. However, I liked the world-building, as it was a fairly creative and interesting take on the future consequences of mankind’s unbridled consumerism, and the fantasy element wasn’t terrible.

And sure, the book is full of tropes, but I’m going to go out on a limb and say that for younger readers, the plot and writing will be enough to keep them reading, and the tropes won’t be as distracting as they were to me. The more I read the more it takes to impress me, and just because I found some of the plot points tired and predictable here doesn’t mean that a younger reader will.  In fact, I’m even going to step back on my criticism here and say that I think a younger me would have enjoyed this story very much.  And for that reason I’m going to give it three stars out of five, whatever that means since it’s a thing I literally just started doing and may not do again ever, but there you go.

So in conclusion, I can’t make up my mind about anything and also this book is pretty good, but not great, and maybe if overdone and obvious tropes bother you then don’t read it, but if they don’t or if you think the plot seems interesting then do read it, and also don’t listen to me – it’s your own life. You do you, friend. Frozen was published on October 2nd, 2014 through Hachette and I obtained this copy as a free galley.

Alright kids, see you soon for a new feature entitled “Nicole stares aimlessly into the fridge for forty-five minutes because she can’t decide what to eat and in the end she remains hungry because all decisions, even insignificant ones, elude her.” Bye.

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