cover image Frozen


Melissa de la Cruz and Michael Johnston. Putnam, $17.99 (336p) ISBN 978-0-399-25754-4

In this post-apocalyptic first book in the Heart of Dread series, the husband-and-wife team of de la Cruz and Johnston blur the lines between science fiction and fantasy. In a future in which much of the world is covered in ice—ice that has brought with it strange and powerful creatures—it’s business as usual in New Vegas for those with the funds and wherewithal to gamble. When 16-year-old blackjack dealer Nat Kestal gains possession of a map supposedly leading to the mythical, paradisiacal “Blue,” she looks for a way out of the totalitarian Remaining States of America. She gains passage with unpredictable Ryan “Wes” Wesson and his misfit band of mercenaries, only to develop feelings for him. With government troops on their heels, slavers on the prowl, and potential traitors in their crew, can Nat and Wes trust each other long enough to find the Blue, assuming it exists? Romance, magic, and excitement drive the pace of this genre-defying adventure, though some of the more fantastical elements can clash with the futuristic, dystopian atmosphere. Ages 12–up. Agent: Richard Abate, 3 Arts Entertainment. (Sept.)