Author: Holly Black
Date: September 2013
Genres: Fantasy, Paranormal
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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.
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.
Okay, so I have to confess that I was one of those unapologetic, completely obsessed fangirls of Twilight and all things paranormal. However, after a while I was hit with a case of vampire burn out and became disenchanted with the whole paranormal genre (with the exception of The Vampire Diaries TV show!), that was, until I read The Coldest Girl in Coldtown. This book was both terrifying and entertaining, resulting in a thoroughly compulsive read.
What I particularly enjoyed:
The unique spin on vampirism: How would today’s modern, consumerist, social media-driven society deal with a vampire outbreak and the threat of infection? Holly Black gives us the answer. Vampires, infected humans and humans seeking a sensationalized thrill are shipped off to Coldtowns, which were created in the hope of keeping creatures of the night under control. However, the Coldtowns soon became an eternal party for the vampires, earning them celebrity status and idolization. Although humans are mesmerized by the glamourous illusion surrounding the vampires, the reader is presented with the cold reality; there are no sparkling, redemption-seeking vamps in sight. These are gritty predators, thriving off the attention.The mention of live-streaming and blog posts made the story seem SO realistic and freakishly relatable. With the way reality TV is dominating our TV screens, you can totally imagine the same reaction within our world…if vampires were real, of course. I also loved that it questioned the mental state of ‘the vampire’; are these traits something hidden deep within each character or does it take a certain type of person to be a vampire?
“Being infected, being a vampire, it’s always you. Maybe it’s more you than ever before. It’s you as you always were, deep down inside.”
The writing: I completely fell in love with Holly Black’s style of writing, it was fast paced and instantly engaging, holding my attention throughout the novel. The story is perfectly woven together – we had multiple POV’s, historical elements and even a blog post here and there, which kept the plot interesting and addictive. The imagery was so vivid that the Coldtowns appeared right before my eyes and I was thrown into the inescapable gloom. The twists and turns were, for the most part, unexpected and I appreciated the fact that the story wrapped up perfectly, creating an ending that did justice to the characters. This is, without a doubt, how a standalone should be.
The memorable characters: Holly Black has crafted some incredibly intriguing and complex characters in this novel; each being flawed, broken and totally realistic. In a world where ordinary humans are bargaining their mortal life for something more spectacular, Tana stays true to her morals, persistently striving to stay sane in a manic world. I admired that she was a people person, putting humanity before herself – She is ultimately a character you can’t help but root for! Vampires in this novel do not hide the fact that they are blood thirsty creatures; Gavriel being no exception, though he soon became the most swoon worthy male in this story. I loved that he was undeniably bizarre, yet oddly human. I also enjoyed the diversity within the story, with the LGBTQ characters – these identities were well-established, without becoming the be all and end all to their position in plot.
Simply put, I LOVED this book! Dark and alluring, The Coldest Girl in Coldtown is sure to push you into a major paranormal kick, as well as have you secretly hoping for a sequel!