ARC Review: The Coldest Girl in Coldtown by Holly Black
I received this book for free from the mentioned source in exchange for an honest review. This does not affect my opinion of the book nor the content of my review.
The Coldest Girl In Coldtown by Holly Black
Published by: Little Brown Books for Young Readers on September 3, 2013
Genres: Paranormal, Vampires, YA
View on: Goodreads
Grab it: Buy on Amazon
About the Book:
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 has created a unique take on vampires in society with her novel, The Coldest Girl in Coldtown. The book is unlike any other vampire novels I have read before, it is not an epic romance between a human girl and the immortal vampire boy, it is a novel in which vampires are still fascinating, yes, but also dangerous.
In the novel, the vampire infection has spread to the point where vampires, and those infected (those who have gone Cold) are quarantined from the rest of society in Coldtowns, at least in the United States. The Coldtowns are also filled with humans whose greatest wish in life is to earn a place among the immortal. One of the things I loved about this novel is that it takes the way we idolize vampires today and takes that idea to an extreme. There are cameras inside of Coldtown which film a live feed that can be viewed on the internet. One of the vampires, Lucien Moreau, is the most popular vampire in Coldtown, both inside and outside the city walls. On the flip side, there are also popular television shows such as Hemlock, a reality show about a bounty hunter whose targets are vampires. While vampires are glamorized, it is also made very clear that they are dangerous.
Our main character is Tana, a girl who wakes up in a friend’s barn after a party to find that she was apparently the only survivor of a massacre. Soon after she finds Aidan, her ex-boyfriend, tied to a bed, apparently infected. She also discovers Gavriel, a vampire who is being hunted by his own kind, in chains. Tana’s decision to save both Aiden and Gavriel propels the rest of the novel.
Tana is a great protagonist. She is far from perfect, but she tries her best to make the best decisions. Her thoughts are haunted by her past and the knowledge of what could happen if someone who is infected attempts to self quarantine. She manages to keep her head, but she also giggles at completely inappropriate moments of high stress, something I found very realistic.
Our two supporting characters, Aidan and Gavriel, I found equally likeable. One of the things that I loved about the novel was that it had every opportunity to be a traditional love triangle that seems to be so popular in YA literature (not saying it’s a bad thing, just saying it’s a common trope) and that’s not the direction that Black took it. Romance is far from being the main plot point, which I thought was really refreshing because it’s extremely rare to find that these days. Aiden, the infected ex-boyfriend, was entertaining simply because he was very much the pretty boy charmer, who used to charm girls into getting what he wants (and to be honest, he still does). Gavriel is the more mysterious character, a vampire that neither Tana nor Aidan have heard of before, and who seems very quiet about his past. Gavriel often teeters on the edge of sane and insane, which also keeps Tana on her toes, because while Gavriel is an attractive vampire whom she saved, he is also a creature capable of being a killing machine. It was nice to see a healthy dose of distrust on Tana’s part, again, something I haven’t seen in a while in a vampire novel.
The chapters of the story alternate between the present day and the past, which I really enjoyed because it gave you a way of discovering how things got to be the way they are without constantly interrupting the story line in the middle of something. The chapters about the past allow you to learn about Tana, Gavriel, and how the vampire infection managed to spread so far in general.
Overall, I give The Coldest Girl in Coldtown 5 out of 5 controllers. I honestly cannot think of a complaint against this novel. I enjoyed the view of vampires that Black took, and the view of how our obsession with vampires has transferred and been warped into a society where we watch glamorous vampire parties on the internet. Amazing read, would recommend.
5 Out of 5 Controllers