Monday, September 30, 2013

Review: The Coldest Girl in Coldtown by Holly Black

Title: The Coldest Girl in Coldtown by Holly Black
Published: September 3rd, 2013 by Little, Brown Books for Young Readers
Source: ARC from BEA
Format: Paperback
Age group: Young adult
Genre: Paranormal
Challenge(s): none
Grade rate: A-

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.

My Review

What a different vampire book!  The Coldest Girl in Coldtown is an action packed take on the vampires-out-of-the-closet theme that includes a great heroine and a host of disturbingly fascinating characters.

Where to start with this review?  How about if I start with our protagonist?
Tana is a smart, compassionate, friendly and very strong female lead.  Even though she’s afraid, she does what needs to be done and she’s willing to give everyone a chance, even if some people don’t deserve it.  She does the “right” thing regardless of the consequences to herself and I admire that about her.  In her shoes, I have no idea what I would do.  I also admire her determination to remain human, even if would be a lot easier to give up.  Tana had a very tragic past and it has defined her outlook on life.

There is a host of other characters and in the interest of time (and to now bore you to death); I’ll mention a few of my favorite here.  Gavriel is a very complex character.  He’s a vampire and he is a bit (or a lot) crazy.  Tana “saves” his life and he reciprocates in kind, mind you, he’s not exactly your average to-die-for-bad-boy (er, vampire), he’s actually crazy and not so nice; he just makes an exception for Tana.  There are very justifiable reasons for the craziness and I’m really surprised that he was able to function at all. Even with all his faults and find Gavriel to be very interesting and differently unique. Love him!

Aidan is Tana’s ex and a piece of work.  This is another very flawed character that’s full of charisma and handsomeness and he knows how to take advantage of it for his gain.  Pearl is Tana’s 12 year-old sister and she is, as can be expected, very na├»ve.  She believes that Coldtowns are a glamorous never-ending party and that couldn’t be farthest from the truth. The twins, Midnight and Winter are a piece of work and Midnight also went crazy fairly fast.  I didn’t much like Tana’s father either (just sayin’).

Coldtowns are an invention to try to contain the vampires to distinct areas.  When the indiscriminating turning of humans to vampires occurs, the humans segregate and designate certain areas as ‘Coldtowns’.  All the ‘infected’ can then choose to come to the closest one until they turn in an effort to avoid further spreading.  Coldtowns have their own set of rules and a lot of wants – for food and other things - which of course, creates crime.

The characterization is really good.  The characters were complex, interesting and unique.  The plot is full of twists and turns, I did not expected what happened to Tana,  Gavriel , Pearl , or even Midnight. Yep, Holly Black is that good!  This is an action pack story, but be warned that it’s not for the weak of heart.  Some of the things that happen in the story are a bit disturbing and gruesome.  The writing is flawless; it’s easy to read and interesting.  The story is told in the third person with chapters told from Tana and Gavriel’s point of view.  It also contains blog posts from Midnight that gives us a little bit of insight of what people do to become a vampire.

My only grief over the book is the ending.  It was WAY TOO OPEN for me. Seriously, what am I suppose to do with an ending like that?  I can tell you that my imagination is not that good (take exhibit #1 – it’s the reason why I’m not an author and never will be!), I want to know what happens next to Gabriel and Tana for goodness sake.  How about all of Tana’s friends?  What about Coldtown?  Why is this not a series?  I mean, there is a LOT of room for a series here *hint, hint* *wink, wink*

Some quotes for you (please note these are from the ARC):

“Every hero is the villain of his own story.”

“Maybe she should leave him.  Untie Aidan and get the hell out of there, even if it meant leaving one chained-up vampire to fend off however many were one the other side of the door.  Even if it was unfair. 
She took a deep breath. “Last chance. Are you in need of recuing?”
His expression turned very strange, almost as if she’d struck him.  “Yes,” he said  finally.
Maybe it was that nearly everyone else was dead and she felt a little bit dead, too, but she figured that even a vampire deserved to be saved.”

“She bent down to where Aidan was lying and touched his chest. It rose and fell as if he was, indeed, only sleeping. “Is he going to – will he live?”
“No,” said Gavriel. “No chance of that. He wants to die, so he will. But not tonight and not because of me.”

About the cover:  The cover is gorgeous!  I love the art, and the contrast in colors.  The hand looks delicate, pale, and well, cold.  The font is dark, smudged and implies mystery.  Love it!

 Have you read this book?  Even if you think there is nothing now out there for the 'vampire' genre, give Coldest Girl a try, it's awesome!


  1. I really want to read The Coldest Girl in Coldtown! It sounds so good but I am worried about an open-ended ending, my mind would run rampant! Great review :)

  2. Great review! I am reading this book next and because I nominated as my book club's October read, I'm nervous that everyone won't enjoy it! Glad to see that you did!

    1. I hope they enjoy it too, all in all it was a great read :)

  3. This sounds great. A bit of a vampire and a lot crazy? That's my type of character :)
    Great review. I'll have to read this one soon!


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