Wednesday, February 19, 2014


by Melissa De La Cruz and Michael Johnston
Heart of Dread, book one

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. 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 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?
(description from

The world-building in this book is so interesting! This is a real genre-blender, with strong fantasy elements and a dystopian setting.  I loved imagining the city of New Vegas functioning in such a seedy way amongst such a barren, unlivable landscape.  I thought that De La Cruz and Johnston did a great job revealing tidbits about the world and its past little by little, keeping me on the edge of my toes (so to speak) chapter by chapter.  

As a fantasy reader, I really loved discovering the variety of supernatural creatures in this newly imagined world and seeing how they acclimated to living among, or at least near, the humans.  I'm very intrigued to see if the second book follows Nat again in her home, or if it goes back to New Vegas with Wes... maybe both! Either way, I'm definitely curious to see things further develop. 

For me, this was a real page-turner.  There was danger lurking at every turn and characters that I really enjoyed.  I think most fantasy fans will enjoy this one! 

Full Disclosure: eARC received from Netgalley

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