Series: Heart of Dread #1Genres: Dystopia, Adventure, Young Adult
Release Date: October 2nd, 2014 (UK Edition)
Publisher: Orchard Books
Source: eARC from Netgalley
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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.This book is sad. Not because it's actually a sad book but because it has the potential to be so much more. I felt sorely disappointed by this book because I found it to be lacking. The premises was so intriguing yet we didn't get what we had been promised.
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.
The book is set in a world where the people are stuck in an ice age of sorts and you can kind of imagine the kind of trouble that would cause. The poor tend to suffer from frostblight since they cannot get warm enough and the rich hoard heat credits. Sounds interesting? Yeah. And over time, the population has forgotten how to read and text speech is now what is being used to communicate with the population. Sounds scary? HECK YEAH! Unfortunately all these things that could have been further developed to make the world more solid and definite were only mentioned. Plus, the mythology fan in me was severely disappointed when the aspect of Atlantis was only mentioned. The entire book is based on them finding it yet we got nothing about it besides how awesome it was. More than a little saddening.
That isn't all though. The characters themselves weren't as well developed as they could have been. I don't know a lot about them and what I know kind of makes me shake my head. The two main characters, Wes and Nat, were just not that smart. When you get ready to plan some sort of adventure across a polluted ocean and you have the money to buy provisions, BUY THEM. Buy them so you don't resort to eating twigs and fishing a polluted ocean for fish that may or may not be poisonous. Think things through.
They are also supposed to be super smart. The weird thing about Wes is that in spite of all his experiences he doesn't seem to be the hardened solider one might expect. In fact he is pretty soft, he admits it himself! He is also a horrible leader, that he also admits. He's got the lives of his own crew to protect yet he is willing to take on extra passengers even if they have nothing to eat and taking on said passengers could lower all of their survival rates. Way to call the shots and make tough decisions.
These little things bothered me but what also bothered me was the fact that two fell into a serious case of insta-love. It seemed like insta-love was the norm in this book. I don't understand how they could have fallen in love so quickly, with so little to go on and so many secrets between them. I am sure love happens but at the same time, there wasn't enough development afterwards to make the insta-love believable.
The plot was okay. Okay is a sad word to use but really that's what it was. A bunch of random things happened and were not really elaborated on and the we never really got a lot of the answers. Of course, the author may be saving the answers for the sequels. I just feel like I wanted more out of this book than I got.
A lot of the plot seems to fly by and in a bad way. They don't face as many challenges as one might expect and on top of that, the major obstacle goes by in a matter of pages, not even a chapter, pages! It happens and then THE END.
I never really noticed them using the map all that much either which made me wonder how they got to their location in the first place. In fact, I would have imagined that having the map would have been useful but with the way things turned out for them, they didn't seem to have needed it.
All these little inconsistencies with the plot bothered me but I never really hated the book.
It's not a bad read, it's just it's not quality reading material either. The pages might fly by for you and you might love this book to pieces but that was just not the case for me.
If you're looking for a quick mindless read and are intrigued by this one, I'd say go for it, just don't expect miracles.