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