Author: Melissa de la Cruz & Michael Johnston
Series: Heart of Dread #2
Rating: 2.5 / 5 stars
It's been a while since I read Frozen, and I'll have to admit that the story and the characters did not really come back to me as I made my way through Stolen. It's never a good sign when series fail to leave a lasting impression, and having finished Stolen, I know it will be the same for the second novel in this series as well.
There is nothing seemingly wrong with Stolen. Much like Frozen, it dives into this very unique futuristic, fantasy world that also has touches of medieval fantasy with the inclusion of dragons. Yet, the characters, the prose, and the plot all fail to make much of an impact. The story is rather bland, and the fact that Nat and Wes spend the entire novel pining over each other did not help maintain interest much.
The revelation at the end of this novel (which revolves around Wes's sister, which I don't see as too much of a spoiler as the first tagline of the story synopsis is 'Who is Eliza Wesson?') seems awfully coincidental regardless of how thinned out the population may be. De la Cruz and Johnston, of course, explain this by chalking it up to fate/destiny.
While the world of the Heart of Dread series continued to expand itself in its uniqueness, the faults in the characters and the overall plot were not enough to really keep the story going. So while I was able to finish the novel, I never really invested myself in it. The two main characters are driven by two goals throughout the novel - Wes to find out what happened to his twin sister he hasn't seen since they were seven or eight and Nat to try to help protect the marked - they also have the goal of finding each other once more. It's such an elaborate world to build for what basically boils down to another teen romance, and though the fantasy plays a significant role in this novel as Nat learns about the control of Ether, it isn't developed overall well enough to really make a lasting impression. Based on what little I've read of de la Cruz's other novels, however, if you are a fan of her writing and her style, Stolen will still continue to entertain you.