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Monday, September 30, 2013

Casinos and Secrets and Magic, Oh My!

So, you may have noticed that I've been on quite the YA dystopian kick lately.  What can I say?  It's been one of my favorite genres ever since it became a thing.  Still, a lot of the time, reading post-apocalyptic novels is kind of like watching re-runs of a show you once liked.  The concept continues to appeal, but the delivery gets old pretty darn fast.  And yet, a few recent discoveries (The Hallowed Ones and The Outside by Laura Bickle; Not a Drop to Drink by Mindy McGinnis) give me hope that there's still some originality to be had in this very saturated genre.  We'll see.

In the meantime, here's one that looks promising to me:  Frozen by Melissa de la Cruz and Michael Johnston.  My ARC of the book hasn't arrived yet, so you're going to have to settle for a little teaser/spotlight thing.

If you haven't heard of Frozen, here's a quick synopsis:
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.  Most 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.  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.  

Okay, yeah, it sounds a wee bit like every other YA dystopian out there.  Except it's set in a Vegas that's frozen and dead, but still alive.  That's enough to grab my interest right there.  I also like the road trip aspect as well as the deep, dark secret element.  How about a little look-see at the trailer to pique your interest even more?  Here you go:

Cool, right?

Here's another fun fact:  Melissa de la Cruz—the best-selling author of the Blue Bloods series as well as lots of other books for teens—and Michael Johnston are married.  To each other.  They collaborate on all their books, from rough drafts to final edit.  Fun, huh?  To promote their newest venture, they've written a series of guest posts that will appear on a handful of blogs, one of which belongs to Yours Truly.  Here's what the authors have to say about creating characters for Frozen:

One of the pleasures of writing in the young adult genre is to create characters who are young in age but wise beyond their years. In the world of Frozen, because cancer is a matter not of 'if' but 'when', the life expectancy rate is in the thirties, which means that when you are fifteen, you are middle-aged. This was partly inspired by an article we had read about the former Soviet Union, where the life expectancy rates in 2000 for males was 58.  Compare that to the life expectancy in the U.S. which is 82. Twenty years shaved off your life just for living in a different country. It's mind-boggling.

It was fun to create Ryan 'Wes' Wesson, who at sixteen is a military veteran. He's only a boy, but he's seen so much of the world, survived wars, seen devastation and cruelty, but at heart, he's a softie. The brave new cold world expects its citizens to be tough, to be selfish, to be as cruel as their new environment, but Wes keeps his humanity intact. Mike and I fell in love with him from the first time he steps on stage in our book, when he turns down a mouth-watering steak because the price to eat it (giving up his soul) is too high. We love a good steak and we know how hard it was to turn it down! J

If you want to read more from Mel and Mike, you can check out their guest posts on these fantastic blogs:

So, what do you think?  Does Frozen sound like your kind of adventure?  I'm anxious to give it a go.  How about you?

(Book image from Barnes & Noble; synopsis and guest post provided by Penguin)

1 comment:

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