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?
Fiery hearts collide in this fantastic tale of the evil men do and the awesome power within us all. This is a remarkable first book in a spellbinding new series about the dawn of a new kind of magic.
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.