I have to admit, I have had this book on my bookshelves for years— like this book has been sitting and collecting dust for an embarrassingly long time. The reason why I have yet to read this book is because I keep waiting until the Halloween season to read it, even though I gaze longingly at it when I spot it on my shelves. When the Halloween season comes around, I forget about this book and then obviously it goes straight to the festive Christmas season (In our household, we start setting up the Christmas tree), so I end up waiting for next year’s spooky season to come around again.
This year it was different.
On the first day of October I put together my tbr for the month and season, and this book was at the very top of the list.
The Coldest Girl in Coldtown
by Holly Black
Edition: Paperback, 419 pages
Publication Date: September 3rd 2013
Publisher: Little, Brown Books for Young Readers
ISBN: 0316213101 (ISBN13: 9780316213103)
Literary Awards: Locus Award Nominee for Young Adult Science Fiction and Fantasy (2014), Pennsylvania Young Readers’ Choice Award Nominee for Young Adults (2015), Milwaukee County Teen Book Award Nominee (2015), Andre Norton Award Nominee (2013), Green Mountain Book Award Nominee (2015)
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.
I want to start off by saying my expectations for this book were pretty high considering I had put off reading this book simply because I wanted to read it during the Halloween season. I wanted a well-written, atmospheric book that could stick me right in the middle of this world, and I am pleased to say that those expectations have been met and more. First of all, when I think of vampires in books, the only place my mind goes to is the Twilight series– despite having not read the books (but watched the films!). Not really a fan. Not to mention the fact that I’m not really interested in reading about paranormal beings (?), but I was still willing to give this book a chance because of the several “underrated” book recommendations lists that mention this book. Holly Black has completely changed my perception of vampires in books. The focus of this book wasn’t the vampire, and while said vampire did seem to have a pretty one-dimensional personality at first, the book didn’t revolve around vampires necessarily.
I loved the backstory of how the “Cold Ones” came to be, and I thought the history was nicely thought out and actually made sense. Basically, in this world, Vampires exist alongside the humans. If a human happens to be bitten by a vampire, they become “Cold” and experience pretty terrifying symptoms that include an irresistible craving for blood– human blood. If they succumb to the temptation of human blood, the Cold ones die and return as vampires. In order to restore some peace and safety, towns have created Coldtowns, which are highly restricted towns where the Vampires live alongside any mortal who is brave (or dumb!) enough to be there. How cool (no pun inteaded!) is that? The way this book was able to create a new concept of ” Cold” is probably my favourite part of this entire book. Holly Black is a phenomenal world builder, and this book is evidence of that.
The opening chapter sets the scene for us. We are introduced to Tana, our brave and strong-willed protagonist. Her character directly contrasts with Gavriel, who we start to know very little of except for the fact that he is a vampire, and remains a bit of a mystery throughout the book. Like most YA characters, Tana does make some questionable and often quite dangerous decisions that had me internally screaming “NO!”; but she is a teenager, and like any other teen, we make decisions that we look back on years later and regret. The rest of the characters were alright, albeit quite forgettable. However, I did enjoy the adventure that we went on with the main characters, with a few twists and turns throughout. I would argue that the main point of conflict was happening internally– there wasn’t necessarily a “villain’ (I mean there still was), but we got to see a few moments where Tana was fighting against her own morals and beliefs. The plot was solid and nicely paced from start to finish.
Overall, this book is an undeniably well-written YA dystopian novel and deserves all the praise it was given.
Have you read ‘The Coldest Girl in Coldtown’ by Holly Black? If so, let me know what you thought of it in the comments below!
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