Reading Level: Young Adult
Size: 336 pages
Publisher: Putnam Juvenile
Release Date: September 17, 2013
Stand Alone or Series: 1st book oin the Heart of Dread series
Source: From Publisher for Review
Rating: 4.5/5 stars
I got a copy of this book from the publisher in exchange for an honest review. To be honest I haven’t enjoyed De La Cruz’s more recent endeavors (I thought the last few Blue Bloods novels were awful and didn’t like her Witches of East End series that much either), so I was reluctant to read this book. Imagine my surprise when I absolutely loved it. The world is incredibly creative and imaginative, the characters likable and engaging, and the story absolutely gripping.
Nat is one of the Marked. Despite this she has been able to hide her Marked status and is making a living as a blackjack dealer in New Vegas. Even with all the world under a layer of ice, New Vegas is very much the city of chance and sin it’s always been. But Nat has a voice that won’t leave her alone and this voice is telling her to leave New Vegas in search of the Blue. The Blue is a supposed paradise that many go seeking but few find. When Nat finds Wes and his ragtag group of runners they seem like the perfect people for the job of helping her make the trip…at least that is what Nat hopes.
I absolutely loved the idea behind this ice laden future Earth and the magical creatures that inhabit it. This book is equal parts fantasy/adventure/post-apocalyptic/dystopia.
The Marked are people who have strange powers, but they are also people who are touched by Fey blood or Fey themselves. I love that for some reason the advent of plummeting temperatures on Earth has somehow awakened the Fey and drew them back to humanity. It makes for some interesting background story and for some interesting and unexpected encounters as far as creative creatures and races go.
Nat is an excellent heroine. She has such a mysterious past and is fairly savvy. She is an interesting blend of innocence (because she can’t remember a lot of her past actions) and deadliness (because of her Marked powers). She’s not naive but she wants to trust people. It makes her an fun character to read about.
Wes is the main male lead. He is noble to the point I wanted to smack him at times. Still, it makes for an interesting dynamic. He lives in a world that is so cut-throat, yet he is constantly trying to see the best in people. Still, there were a number of times he made very poor decisions as a leader that put the rest of the group in horrible danger. Let’s just say he keeps things interesting.
The world here is incredibly creative and we are just starting to learn the complex background behind it. Everything is set up here and small bits of the complex world are discovered but there is so much more here for us to learn about as readers.
The plot is well done but this is definitely just the start of a much larger series. You have one small plot point tied up in this book, but there are many more questions than answers. So, just know that this book doesn’t really resolve much at all.
I only have one complaint about this book and that is that there are two parts where Nat makes these mental leaps that totally don’t make sense. Normally this wouldn’t be a big deal, but they are realizations that really drive the story line and they pretty much come out of the blue. I felt the authors could have lead up to this a bit better or at least foreshadowed a bit. As the book is written I have no idea why Nat makes the huge conclusions she makes from what she has experienced.
Overall a fantastic read. It is a post-apocalyptic book but this book also has a ton of adventure and fantasy in it. I really enjoyed the complex world, the fantastic types of races we meet, and the interesting characters. It is just a really unique read that blends interesting elements in a way I have never read before. Recommended to those who enjoy post-apocalyptic fantasy with a heavy does of traditional fantasy and adventure in it.
This book goes towards the following reading challenges: