Monday, September 2, 2013

Review: The Coldest Girl in Coldtown


Title: The Coldest Girl in Coldtown
Author: Holly Black
Publisher: Little, Brown Books for Young Readers
Publication Date: September 3, 2013


Tana lives in a world where walled cities called Coldtowns exist. In them, quarantined monsters and humans mingle in a decadently bloody mix of predator and prey. The only problem is, once you pass through Coldtown’s gates, you can never leave.

One morning, after a perfectly ordinary party, Tana wakes up surrounded by corpses. The only other survivors of this massacre are her exasperatingly endearing ex-boyfriend, infected and on the edge, and a mysterious boy burdened with a terrible secret. Shaken and determined, Tana enters a race against the clock to save the three of them the only way she knows how: by going straight to the wicked, opulent heart of Coldtown itself.

The Coldest Girl in Coldtown is a wholly original story of rage and revenge, of guilt and horror, and of love and loathing from bestselling and acclaimed author Holly Black.

Holly Black became one of my favourite authors when I was a teen with her Tithe series. There's something beautiful and dark about her writing that makes me want to read and read and not have to stop and go back to the real world. Her books really pull you out of your regular life and thrust you into this darker version of the world that you secretly almost wish was real. But enough fangirling for now...

The Coldest Girl in Coldtown has a really interesting spin on vampire lore, which I enjoyed. There's so many versions of vampires these days, from the traditional can't-go-out-in-the-sun, garlic and stakes version to the sparkley-stalkery version and everywhere inbetween, that it's a bit hard to break in with something original. This is where Holly Black succeeds. Her version of vampireism includes an intermediary condition called being "Cold." I won't bore you with the small details, but basically after being bitten, a person is still human and super bloodthirsty until they bite someone or until 88 days have passed. It's a really interesting concept and, while I can tend to be a traditionalist, I enjoyed this version of vampires.

Our main character Tana is pretty tough, but she will do whatever she believes is right, no matter the cost. I really appreciated this about her, although it also led her to make some dumb decisions. Especially one that really came out of the blue for me and left me making this face. Overall though, she was a pretty good character and I genuinely did want her to succeed. I was also a fan of Gavriel from the start. Holly Black has such a great way of writing dark, dangerous boys that I love and Gavriel was a great example of this. He was so broken, yet so sincere and sweet to Tana.

I think the idea of the Coldtowns and the celebrity status some vampires have achieved was really timely and socially accurate. Our society loves to watch "real" people and is also fascinated by the dark side of human nature. I'm thinking of shows like Big Brother, but perhaps even more so, shows like Nancy Grace that turn accused killers into a weird kind of celebrity.

The Coldest Girl in Coldtown is a great addition to the long list of vampire novels and Holly Black's beautifully dark writing sets it apart from the pack. He ability to make me come close enough to feeling the call of blood that an infect person has is disconcerting and amazing.

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  1. I like the sound of her vampires, it's always fun to see a more original approach :) I've heard mixed things about this book, but I still might give it a try. Great review!


  2. I really do need a new spin on the vampires

  3. I'm so torn on this one ... I've read so many mixed reviews that I'm not sure if I'd like it! I sometimes like new spins on vampires, but for the most part I like my vampires old school. I guess I'll see if my library is getting a copy. No harm in trying it out that way!

  4. I really enjoyed the originality this one brought to the genre! Like all Holly Black books, really. I loved the celebrity status stuff too and I could see this be real if this situation would come about. So glad you enjoyed it, too!

  5. Oh I hadn't seen the trailer before, so thanks for sharing! I'm glad that you enjoyed this book overall. It didn't quite work for me, but I think that's mostly because it wasn't entirely what I was expecting it to be. Lovely review. :)

  6. I'm glad there's an ORIGINAL vampire story out there again. I'm getting a bit tired of the whole sparkly-sparkly 'good' vampires.

    Awesome review :)

  7. I haven't read a Holly Black book in ages but this one sounds pretty good and I like the idea of an original take on an old subject. :-)

  8. "there's so many versions of vampires these days, from the traditional can't-go-out-in-the-sun, garlic and stakes version to the sparkley-stalkery version and everywhere inbetween" <--bahahaa, love this line! It pleases me that you thought this was a pretty original vampire story because they're hard to come by! I knew if anyone was able to bring originality to vampires again, it would be Holly Black. Really great review!!