Title: The Coldest Girl in Coldtown
Author: Holly Black
Publisher: Little Brown Books for Young Readers
Available: Barnes and Noble | iBookstore | The Book Depository | Powell's
From the Publisher: 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 really have to give props to whoever wrote the back jacket copy. It perfectly describes the book without telling you anything. I went into this one not knowing what we were dealing with. I thought it might be zombies. Or perhaps some new supernatural creature that we haven’t yet encountered. A hybrid of some sort?
But no – this book is about vampires.
The new and interesting spin on vampires in this world, however, is that humans can recover from a vampire bite – as long as they don’t drink human blood for 12 and a half weeks. And the process is apparently painful and brutal and requires one to be locked up in solitary (but you can’t forget that human food and water is still necessary or they will starve to death or die of dehydration).
And in the United States, the government “solved the problem of vampirism” by quarantining vampires and those infected in Coldtowns. Anyone who goes in never comes out (with rarest exception). These Coldtowns house all of the vampires, humans who are infected, and those humans who are so stupid to believe that they want to become vampires and voluntarily enter the gates.
I appreciate that Holly wrote a new world for vampires to live in. This isn’t the world of Twilight nor is it the world of Anita Blake or True Blood. There is originality here, which surprised me in yet another book about vampires.
There were several characters in the book, but only two that were developed enough for me to care about. Tana and Gavriel. The rest were really just fodder, even though the story couldn’t have happened without them. Tana and Gavriel’s stories went back and forth between the present and the past, but most of it was *told* to us instead of allowing us to experience it. As a reader, that’s a problem for me. If you have to explain something to me in your book instead of showing it to me through your writing, it either doesn’t fit into the story or your writing isn’t working very well. I felt like that was happening a lot in this book.
There was one character who died – accidentally killed by his twin – and it was a completely emotionless scene to read. But it shouldn’t have been. They were characters that we had come to know over a few chapters. Even if I wasn’t devastated at his death, there should have been some feels. But there was nothing.
And in the end it’s left slightly open ended so there’s room for a sequel. Of course. Even though this is supposed to be a standalone novel. That bugs me. Either it is or it isn’t. Don’t hedge your bets and hope that it does well enough so that there can be a sequel but if it doesn’t leave it just closed enough to say that it was a standalone. Not cool.