Monday, August 19, 2013

Review: The Coldest Girl in Coldtown by Holly Black

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I received this book for free from Hachette Book Group in exchange for an honest review. This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.

Review: The Coldest Girl in Coldtown by Holly BlackThe Coldest Girl in Coldtown by Holly Black
Published by Little Brown BfYR on September 3rd 2013
Genres: Paranormal, YA
Source: Hachette Book Group
Buy on Amazon

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.

“What are they? Are they diseased or demonic? Are they citizens who have become ill, deserving hospitals and care, as some have argued? Or are they the bodies of our loved ones animated by some dark force that we ought to seek to destroy?”

And here I thought originality was gone from vampire stories! It takes none other than Holly Black to prove me wrong. Coldest Girl in Coldtown is not only unique, it’s a fun, exciting story full of horror and blood with a little flair of post apocalyptic.

Ever since a sudden outbreak of vampirism spread throughout the world, vampires are out and feared; even though they’re kept quarantined in gated cities, you’re never quite safe from the stray ones. Tana learns how true this is when she wakes up after a party to a house full of dead bodies. As far as book beginnings go this is not one I’ll forget any time soon. Tana’s tangible fear made this even more engaging. From page one I could tell she would be a protagonist with whom I would connect and enjoy the ride. I was right: Holly has fashioned a fresh and compelling narrative voice in her that persuades you to keep flipping the pages until you realize it’s 4am and you’re passing out against your will. Though if you’ve read anything by Holly, you’ll know she has a way of shaping characters into real, perfectly flawed, and down to earth individuals; Tana being no exception. She has cracks in her exterior that aren’t hidden from us; I love how she giggles in the most inappropriate times. This girl is scarred and broken, and she knows it, but she’s also selflessly determined. At the same time this makes us feel sympathy towards the situation she found herself in. A situation that sheer bad luck and a caring heart got her in.

The characters Tana meet throughout this story all shine with charisma, and the villains with atrocity. The latter are portrayed as sick, bloodthirsty bastards who are conniving and vengeful – exactly what true villains should be. And since the blurb kind of hints at one, I can safely say there is no love triangle in this book. In fact, there is not much romance at all – which I was really ok with. What romance there is is mainly introductory, so I’m thinking we’ll get more of it in the sequel (for those romantic at hearts). Either way, I trust Holly to balance it all flawlessly. We did meet the ex-boyfriend mentioned in the blurb who is really just that: an ex-boyfriend – if I even want to call him that; I still giggle at the kind of relationship they had. Gavriel is the one who steals the hearts in this book (probably even figuratively). I wasn’t sure of him at the beginning, but by the end I was won over!

After the thrilling first half, the story does slow its pace. I never found myself losing interest, however, as it let characterization and world building shine through. The story is told through Tana’s point of view, but we do get treated to a few glimpses of her sister’s as well which is great to get an idea of how the story is moving outside this Coldtown. Then we get few flashes from the past that tells the heartbreaking story of Tana’s childhood, as well as the history of vampires – simultaneously explaining the reason behind the “apocalypse”. I found this incredibly interesting. The vampire lore itself is awesomely unique and scary with their 80 days crazy inducing “infected” period. I was also fascinated – and terrified – by the Coldtowns. Think of them like uncontrolled dog pens. How Coldtowns are active online as a sort of popularity contest gives them an aura of mystery, awe, and power. Thus, people are drawn to them, not knowing they’re not nearly as glamorous as they seems from the outside. Poor, unsuspecting humans!

Also, the twist: Awesome!

Utterly original and completely badass, The Coldest Girl in Coldtown brings back classic vampires in this tale of revenge, love, and death.


4 Hot Espressos

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Canadian blogger, wife, mother, coffee lover, and sarcastic at heart! She has had a love for all things bookish since before Amazon and eReaders existed *le gasp*. You can also find her organizing tours and other fun things at Xpresso Book Tours.

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35 Responses to “Review: The Coldest Girl in Coldtown by Holly Black”

  1. Amy @ Book Loving Mom

    I only skimmed your review because I started this one last night. I have been so excited for this book though, so I hope I love it!! I most likely will if you gave it 4 hot espressos. I saw that Jenni rated it 1 last night right after I started reading it and was like “Uh oh!” Now I’m not nervous anymore though.

  2. Nick @ Nick's Book Blog

    I’m so excited for this one, Giselle.
    I like that the author has made an overused concept as vampires something unique. I especially like the sound of the villains. I love my villains to be completely evil and they seem to be exactly that in this book.
    It’s good to know that there isn’t really a love triangle in this one. I was a little worried, but you’ve definitely cleared that up for me.
    Fabulous review, Giselle! I’m looking forward to reading this book!

  3. Lizzy

    I’m so glad that this book lives up to the hype. I’ve been wanting yo read it without really knowing what it was about and now I really want to read it.

  4. Aylee

    Yesss, this is exactly what I wanted to hear!! Vampires are so overdone that’s it’s so difficult to find an original vampire story these days. And when you do – now, that’s impressive indeed. Should’ve known Holly Black could manage it just fine! And she does know how to write great, realistic characters, so that’s a bonus! Really great review, Giselle!

  5. Savannah

    So glad to read another awesome review of this book. I love Holly Back and I don’t think she could ever go wrong with vampires. Great review.

  6. P.E. @ The Sirenic Codex

    Sounds really great! I like that there isn’t too much romance and it seems to have a great plot with good writing. I actually do not mind vampires. I kind of miss them now that they’re not everywhere. 😛

  7. Wendy @ Escape Into Fiction

    Great review, Giselle! I’d grown tired of the vampire genre lately because it was missing the element that the vampires are truly supposed to be the villain…not some misunderstood, redefined, fully redeemable being. It sounds like Holly Black brought back the original scary villain and I love that! I’ll definitely have to check this book out when I get the chance.

  8. Kezia D

    AHH I am a fan of Holly Black! Seriously, that woman is totally creative her books are unique and original. I have no doubts in her. I might as well buy Coldtown in hardcover!

  9. Eileen @ ***Singing and Reading in the Rain***

    Yay I’m really happy that you really liked this one! The characters were definitely really fleshed out, and Tana was also really likable and realistic for the story. I’m glad you didn’t lose interest though as the plot slowed, since that could always be a problem.

    Fantastic review, Giselle! <33

  10. Vivian

    I am DYING to read this one as I’ve nothing but awesome things about it! I am a bit tired of vamps, so its good that this one is so original. Great review!

  11. Laureen

    I’ve been hearing nothing but good things for this book! I’m thrilled that it’s supposed to be an original take on vampires, though, which is really making me want to find a copy of this book to read! Thanks for sharing your review!

  12. Melissa's Eclectic Bookshelf

    Great review! This one sounds pretty awesome…I only read the 1st in her Curse Workers series…I liked it well enough but not enough to bump the others to the top of my TBR. I think I’d like this series even better.

  13. Mary @ BookSwarm

    Holy cow, I loved how original this one was. Every time I say I’m done with vamps, some fantastic author says, “Nuh-uh. Not if I have anything to say about it!” Yay, Holly Black! Plus, that cover is to-die-for. Loved the atmosphere, the characters and the plot — a definite win!

  14. Charlotte

    NOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOO! Huhuhu! Twice I requested this title on Edelweiss and twice I was rejected. And now your review makes me want to have it all the more and makes me want to lash out angrily at those publishers. >,<

    Maybe I'll just wait for the publication date. *sighs*

  15. Pili

    I’ve been quite intrigued by this book for a while and after reading some varied reviews, I’m still undecided! But I think I’ll give it a try!

  16. Molli

    FINALLY, a good review for this one! Gah, Giselle. The way you described Holly’s characters, plus the mention there is finally a YA book without a love triangle. *cheers* You have made this book sound FANTASTIC!


  17. Christina @ Christina Reads YA

    It’s interesting to note how much you and Jenni disagree about this one. The world enthralled you as did Tana’s character, but I don’t think either worked as well for Jenni. I’m a little sad that there’s not too much romance :P, but at least there’s some… and I did read about the slow pace too. I might have to go read the first eight chapter excerpt the pub was offering to decide whether or not I’m still interested in this one.

  18. Mia

    Well thank God Holly Black always manages to go directly against my expectations. I honestly wasn’t expecting much from this but it definitely has my interest now. I’m as tired as everyone else about vampires but I’m always willing to give anything remotely original a chance. Thanks very much for the wonderful review!

  19. Kim { Book Swoon }

    I’m so excited for Holly’s new book, it sounds like she’s revamps(ha-ha)the cliche vampire story that has been done a lot lately, and brings her own fresh take on it. I love her writing style, and can’t wait for it. Thanks for the great review Giselle

  20. Mel@thedailyprophecy

    Haha, I just read a negative review that says the complete opposite of your review. Now I don’t know what to do.. I really love the sound of this book, but I was starting to think to leave it unread – and now I want to read it. Hmmm. Thanks for your review, you might have persuaded me!