The Coldest Girl in Coldtown by Holly Black
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Tana lives in a world where walled cities called Coldtowns exist. In them, cure quarantined monsters and humans mingle in a decadently bloody mix of predator and prey. The only problem is, approved once you pass through Coldtown’s gates, generic 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.
I think that Holly Black is an absolutely fantastic writer, who has a ton of talent. However, I think that while she tells a very good story, she has a hard time making me actually care about the characters.
I loved the story. When I first purchased this last week when it was released, I didn’t release it was a vampire novel. I’m not sure what I would have done if I had known beforehand. I honestly just never took the time to read the synopsis before, only concerned with the fact that it was a Holly Black book, and I like her and enjoyed meeting her a few years ago and that’s really all that matters. I’d like to think that I would have given the book a chance, even if I had known before. Either way, its a vampire novel, and I went in as open minded as I could considering that for the most part, I do not like vampire novels.
And here’s the thing: it being a vampire novel didn’t bother me in the slightest because she honestly told a really great story. I think Holly Black is a terrific writer, and she spins a wonderful story. Seriously, from page one to the very last page, I was addicted, and I had to find out what happened next. I like the idea of almost a vampire outbreak similar to a zombie outbreak. These vampires are NOT in hiding; they are out in public, in these coldtowns, and broadcasting themselves all over the place. I liked that aspect to it, and I liked that there was no holding back on it. They didn’t deny what they were, and they were harsh and raw and sometimes even grotesque about it. This is one of the reasons the Vampire Diaries remains a favorite show of mine because there’s no holding back, you know? Every time there is a biting scene, I find myself cringing and I felt that way in this book as well.
I think the beautiful thing that Holly accomplishes here is the ability to weave a fantasy world like vampires, especially since this is almost a whole new society with vampires out in the open and all that, and yet she keeps a good hold of our world as well. I think that most vampire novels have it so vampires are secret, they are the stuff of myth and legend, and in this novel, they have come out in the open and people know they are real. With vampires in secret, you mold them around the real world easily, because that’s essentially what the vampire characters have to do in the story. However in this novel, the vampires sort of take over. Sure, I think they like to let the humans think they have the control but they always have the control. Always. So in this novel, its all about maintaining that world that we know, the familiarity while giving off the impression that vampires are not part of every day life and she really accomplishes that with ease.
The issue that I really had with this novel is that it took a LONG time for me to care about the characters. I honestly had no feelings toward Tana or Pearl or Aidan or Gavriel at first and I kept reading because the STORY was so good. I had such issues with caring what really happened with them. Something would happen and it would make my head spin storywise, wondering what was going to happen next, but I couldn’t make myself care too much about the actual characters until the end when the action really starts to happen. When the action starts to happen (and there is so much delicious action), I really started caring about what happened to the different characters. But until then, they were just the pieces in the story I was so invested in. That’s the reason it gets the rating it does. I’m huge on characters, because they are so important in building your story. Holly had a great story but like I said, I had a hard time really being invested in the characters.
However, it IS a good novel, and I did like it a lot. I still say Holly Black is absolutely talented writer, and she is able to write these brilliant, new stories that I think a lot of people aren’t capable of. I think some people would want to write this off as “another vampire novel” but it definitely isn’t. There is always something new to learn and a new path to take. Sure, we’re always going to have similarities because there really is no NEW story anymore, but Holly Black’s vampire interpretation is really one that I can get behind. I loved the story. I really, really did. I think the characters could have used a little more work but the story was absolutely brilliant, and I hope that there is a sequel in the future? The ending is kind of ambiguous so I’m not sure if there will be. Either way, a great novel and worth your time.
3.75 out of 5 stars