Frozen by Melissa de la Cruz & Michael Johnston

Frozen (Heart of Dread, #1)Frozen by Melissa de la Cruz

My rating: 3 of 5 stars

Are smallmen leprechauns? At first, I thought they were just little people and found it kind of weird that they were presented another magical creature. Like the marked people, they are persecuted, killed, and sold into slavery because they’re small.

…as for Frozen, I actually liked most of the book even though there were a lot of issues here. The world building is horrible, so don’t expect to understand the world or creatures that the authors created. Normally, this would be annoying, especially since a lot of magical creatures get thrown around for no real purpose other than being magical. But I still liked it. The writing was smooth and since this is the first book in a series, I’m willing to forgive it for not telling me everything.

There was one thing they mentioned that I found weird. People need to go and register their names if they want to have sex with someone. To get a hotel room is a long process and everything is checked meticulously. This seems weird. I think it was the authors ways of not having sex in the book and provide a reason why this can’t happen, but I don’t think people would go through with this if they really wanted it.

It doesn’t really make sense, but a lot of things don’t so…

The characters were okay. I didn’t really have any feelings for them. They were there and that’s pretty much it. The character I was most interesting in learning about was the voice in Nat’s head, but for some reason she shows up in the beginning and then doesn’t come back. Nat does mention that the moment she went on the journey the voice stopped talking to her, but I still wanted her to show up here and there. For someone who has been bugging Nat all of her life, you can’t just stop like that.

Like the magical animals that popped out here and there, the voice did seem like a wasted plot point that was quickly discarded once it served its purpose.

As for the romance, it is insta-love, lust? Seems more like lust instead of love, but whatever. Nat and Ryan both feel like the other is different and can’t stop thinking about them. Ryan wants to protect Nat and Nat wants to jump Ryan’s bones. They flirt, they talk, and they think about the other person. Even though they think about each other a lot, the romance is played down here. In that sense I am thankful.

Overall: This should be a book that I don’t like, but I did enjoy it. I’m hoping the world is explained more in the next book though. Since this is a series, I was a lot more forgiving here because of the potential it has to be a fun story.

The writing, even with the occasional mistake here and there, was smooth and easy to get through. And even though I don’t really understand this world, I still want to know more about it.

This is definitely not a book for everyone, but I enjoyed my time reading it.

But seriously though, are smallmen leprechauns though? What other small human-like magical creature are there? Hobgoblins? Brownies?

Frozen was provided by netgalley

Other reviews!
  • Review: Frozen (Heart of Dread #1) – Quote: “It’s kind of hard to recommend this book, because I loved it and then I didn’t. I think it’s worth reading, just so you can see if you like the ending more than me.”
  • Frozen: Heart of Dread Review – Rating: 1.5 stars
  • Review: Frozen – Quote: “So, all in all, it was enjoyable. There were things I liked, and things I didn’t like, which is the way with most stories.”
  • Frozen: Heart of Dread – Quote: “Basically, I will not be continuing this series, and my overall feeling about it was…meh”

 

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H2O by Virginia Bergin

H2OH2O by Virginia Bergin

My rating: 3 of 5 stars

H20 is a funny little novel. The main character isn’t likeable, she doesn’t really grow as a person, and she makes stupid mistakes that almost kill her multiple times. At first, I actually liked her and her voice was great. The chapters were heavy on the sarcasm and she had this air around her that viewed things in a cynical nature.

As you continue to read, you slowly begin to get annoyed by her tone and realize that instead of being cynical but awesome, she’s just a spoiled brat. And that’s what H20 is. It isn’t your typical post-apocalyptic YA novel. Instead, it’s a novel where an unlikeable character has to deal with a horrible and pretty terrifying situation.

In some ways this worked, because it’s kind of refreshing to see such an entitled spoiled brat deal with bigger things than boy drama and frenemies. Yet In other ways, it was annoying to see such an entitled spoiled brat be an entitled spoiled brat and not realize the situation that she’s in. She complained that she doesn’t have her cell phone, when the entire water supply kills you. Take a shower – dead. Wash the dishes – dead. Drink water – dead. Go singing in the rain – dead. Anything to do with water – dead. And yet, she’s more worried about her cell phone.

Kids these days.

In terms of the setting and plot, I thought it was pretty good. Once upon a time an asteroid was zooming down to earth, so the world decided to go all Bruce Willis on its ass and blow it up. The world was saved and everyone was happy. I imagine Aerosmith played in the background as all the couples embraced each other, as they knew that they’d live another day.

“Don’t want to close my eyes
I don’t want to fall asleep
‘Cause I’d miss you baby
And I don’t want to miss a thing”

If I got the song in your head, then I’ve done my job. Ruby doesn’t really care about this history though, because it’s so boring and she’s over it. Her step-father doesn’t understand why she wouldn’t feel some sort of rational emotion after learning this, but she replies with “You’re not my real dad.” And fighting ensues.

That doesn’t really matter though, because even though the asteroid was destroyed and humanity was saved, they really weren’t. In turns out that the blowing up of the space rock brought some weird bacteria that invaded the water supply.

It may not have been able to blow everything up, but it did get to still kill people. And boy did it kill people. The book takes place in England, so I don’t know how the rest of the world fared, but London seems to be having a hard time. Especially Ruby, because the hottest guy in her school who actually made out with her, got rained on and might be dead. Her family is dead and her friends are too. Ruby is all alone, except her biological father is still out there so she decides to search for him.

If you do like romance, there’s none of that here. Sorry. Ruby does get some action from the hot guy, but like I said he got rained on pretty quickly in the novel. There is another guy, but after a brief make out section, Ruby realizes that he’s icky because he was a loser at school while she’s hot stuff. It doesn’t matter that he saved her and that he’s a pretty decent guy. He’s simply not someone she would have associated with under normal circumstances so that relationship doesn’t last long.

Kids these days.

It’s a scene like this that makes me hate, but like the novel. Ruby should be more understanding and look beyond social standing. Things are much bigger than that at the moment, but our little Ruby doesn’t really care and drops him pretty fast due to this. Now, I’m not saying that she should jump his bones because it is slim pickings right now, but she should at least realize that how you were at school doesn’t matter right now.

But this also is a good point, because despite the situation Ruby still remains Ruby. It’s kind of nice to see a character that was somewhat popular not fall for the school nerd because a crisis happened. This happens a lot in stories, so I liked that it didn’t happen here. She’s still seems unfazed by the world around her, which I didn’t like, but still kind of liked.

Overall: When I was done with the novel, I was relieved that there was no more. This does seem to be a series though, but I’m not sure where else the author can take us. But after taking some time to think about it, I think Bergin did take some risks here. Some of it did pay off and some didn’t, but that’s the fun reality of taking chances when it comes to anything really. I think most people will either like this book or hate it. They’ll love the world that Bergin created, but hate Ruby. They’ll like the gruesome deaths some of the characters get, but hate that all the curse words are replaced by a butterfly icon. This is done because the book is written with Ruby’s mother in mind and her mom hates swearing.

But I do appreciate the risk that Bergin made. I may not like Ruby and wanted her to die a few times, but I still made it to the end.

H20 was provided by netgalley.

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Of Monsters and Madness by Jessica Verday

Of Monsters and MadnessOf Monsters and Madness by Jessica Verday

My rating: 2 of 5 stars

I think the writing here was top notch, the only problem is that the story was very bland and boring. It didn’t feel like a Gothic tale, nor did it give off an Edgar Allan Poe type feeling. I’m not even sure why he was the inspiration for this story, when it was very much a Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde tale.

And even then, it’s fairly obvious to anyone who is reading Of Monsters and Madness that this is the route the story is taking. We meet Allan Poe and then Edgar Poe, who is the cousin of Allan but only appears whenever Allan isn’t around…get it. Edgar Allan Poe. Allan Poe. Edgar Poe.

……

The plot is fairly simplistic, which isn’t a bad thing, but there wasn’t that spark to make me really like this. I did finish this in one sitting, which is why I’m a fan of the writing, but I kept waiting for a proper payoff that never came.

In Of Monsters and Madness, Annabel Lee travels to Philadelphia to live with her father. Her mother has passed away back in Siam and now Annabel has to live with a man who she didn’t know existed. There, she meets one of her father’s assistants, Allan Poe, and immediately falls for him.

A series of murders are happening in town and the more Annabel learns of them, the more she starts suspecting her father and his ghastly assistant Edgar Poe. Other stuff happens and then the mystery is solved.

When I read the synopsis and saw the cover, I was really excited for this. I love Edgar Allan Poe’s works and I love retellings, but I don’t think I got a good representation of either of these things. Poe’s works felt heavy handed, instead of seamless. And this isn’t a retelling of Annabel Lee, it’s Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde.

I know a lot of people complained about how Annabel seems to care more about her father’s opinion of her and how society might view her, instead of being more driven about her dreams. But to be honest, this sort of character trait made sense. She doesn’t know her father and is from a place that places emphasis on elders. She also wants to fit in, because her father is all that she has left.

She’s the same person who keeps saying, “Mother this.” And “Mother that.” So her behaving in that manner never bothered me.

I did have a bit of an issue with her old home though. Siam seems like it’s present day Thailand, but it has a mishmash of other Asian cultures as well. For example, Annabel has a kimono from there, even though kimonos are from Japan. Her father also remarks that she bows like a man, but bowing in Thailand is a bit different than say Korea or Japan. You bow, but you place your hands together. You also don’t bend down so much; just a dip of your head with your hands in the praying position is enough.

Overall: The writing is the best thing about the novel, but sadly nothing else really works here. The characters don’t really come alive and the retelling is seriously lacking on all fronts. This isn’t a retelling of Annabel Lee, it’s Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde. I know this is the third time I’m mentioning it, but I can’t stress that enough. If something is billed as a retelling of Edgar Allan Poe, then it needs to include some of its original flavour. I feel like if I this was marketed properly, I wouldn’t have a problem with it. I’d probably give it a better rating too. Unfortunately, that isn’t the case here.

The mystery can be seen a mile away and even though Edgar Allan Poe is here, he never feels like the same Poe that we know and love.

The ending made it seem like this was the start of a series. I don’t think I’ll be reading it, but it will be interesting to see if another classic story is “retold.”

Despite my complaints, the writing is good so I might check out the Hollow books. Just nothing from this series though.

Of Monsters and Madness was provided by netgalley

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