Golden is the third book in the Heart of Dread series by Melissa de la Cruz and Michael Johnston. The series originally seemed to be about a future where the earth has been devastated and is covered with ice. There are garbage islands floating in the ocean and no food. In the second book we learn that the environment has less to do with global warming and more to do with magic. Magic, with sorcerers and dragons, secret grey tower rooms that hold the key to bringing back or rediscovering other worlds. It’s a different way of looking at current issues, but it removes the substance from these books and sugar coats what is actually happening with our environment.
The second book ends with our heroes in the middle of a losing battle and that’s exactly where we pick up in Golden. Eliza, Wes’s sister, steals Kat’s dragon and then leaves them with no way to fight. They’re left on a boat, sitting ducks, as she goes off to the grey tower (Empire State Building) in the Dead City (New York City). The romance heats up for Nat and Wes. Although their relationship can be seen as a positive, Nat just keeps doubting herself and the relationship. It got to be such an annoyance that I actually counted ten separate occasions of her lamenting the danger she poses to everyone she loves and how she will be the cause of Wes’ death, then deciding to push Wes away–even after they find out that the queen who told her she would bring death was a liar and had ulterior motives.
This fast-paced final book in the Heart of Dread series is chock full of action, with lots of battles, losses and suspense as our heroes rush to rescue their friends and to save the world. I would describe this book as an urban-fantasy/dystopia, but there was a feeling of inconsistent writing that made the story choppy. What seemed to begin as a cautionary tale about the environment ends as pure fantasy with all the usual tropes. As a side mention there is a sex scene in this book. It is very tastefully done and not explicit, but I’m not sure as a parent how I would feel about my 12 year old reading this. If you’re looking for a book full of action and suspense and rather light on substance, this is the series for you. Golden rounds out this series nicely.