5 star rating
Heart of Dread, Book #1
By Melissa De La Cruz & Michael Johnston
ISBN# 9780399257544
Melissa’s Website:

Brought to you by OBS reviewer Dawn

*Beware of Spoilers*


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 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. (


I had no idea, until recently, Melissa De LA Cruz was working on a new series. I have greatly enjoyed the Blue Bloods Series. When OBS was contacted to review the book, I jumped at the chance. Although I do not normally read science fiction or dystopia, I felt good about wandering into this genre with Melissa and her husband Michael. I can say with all honesty, they are the perfect balance.

Frozen sets the tone for the series with extremely detailed descriptions of the world they live in. First came the black flood; the waters are toxic. Trash is everywhere, mounds of it. On top of that is ice. There is no wildlife. The sky is a disgusting gray color. If you make it out of the city, it gets worse. Once you hit water there is a multitude of floating junk piles; obstacles everywhere. Most of our science has been lost due to the weather. We raped the earth and she flipped us off. They live in a world where it is every man for himself.

New Vegas is much like our current Vegas. This is where we are first introduced to Nat. She works at a casino there but she is dying to get out, to find the “blue”. Nat takes advantage of a unique situation. At this point, she needs to find a mercenary to guide her to the “blue”. In comes Ryan Wesson, mercenary with a crew.

Ryan is a con-artist with a heart. He feels responsible for his crew; they are his family. He and Natalie both have underhanded motives. It is damn funny but also sad because it is how they have to be to survive.

They should feel hopeless; their world is horrific to live in. There is a deep divide between the wealthy and the poor much like it is currently. The government controls everything and everyone; no privacy! Does that remind you of anything????

Once Nat, Ryan and his crew get out of New Vegas they head for the water. Along the way we meet some weird but interesting characters. We get to know the crew and quickly realize a couple of them do not like Nat because she is different. Darran and Zedric are asshole pigs; utterly disgusting. During this time, the crew has to watch out for slavers.

Out there, on the water, the dangers are too real. They have many difficulties with the boat, with acquiring food. At one point they come across a stranded vessel and take on their passengers. Liannon is one of them. Finally, Nat has someone to help her understand who she is.

There is a gay male couple, Brendan and Rourke. Including this couple in the story calls attention to current events. While I am sick to death of hateful, judgmental people I think it is courageous to show acceptance, tolerance and love. It is important to take a stand on issues such as this.

Frozen deals with issues we face every single day – global climate change, racism, bigotry, prejudices. But even so, Ryan, Nat, and most of the crew find reasons to have hope. I don’t know how, but they do. In doing so, they rise above it.

My only complaint is that I had to wait too long for some kissing between Nat and Ryan lol!

I think Frozen appeals across the board to men, women and young adults.