by Holly Black
Genre: YA Fantasy
Hardback: 419 Pages
Publication: September 3, 2013 by Little Brown BFYR
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.
◆ A copy was provided by Little Brown for review ◆
Holly Black brings a dark, dangerous, enticingly addicting spin to vampire lore.
I was so wrong to think that I could pick up this book late at night and read a little before going to bed. Chapter One was FREAKY. Waking up in a bathtub with innocent thoughts only to go out and find the house full of corpses of people you know and whom you remember seeing alive and fooling around only last night? I stayed up past midnight creeped out of my mind. I had to keep reading and see Tana reach safety before I could go to bed. Only, I never quite reached that point because she keeps finding herself in greater danger than before, and I fell asleep tortured by thoughts of what would happen to her.
Tana is the good girl. Sure, she goes out and parties, and she's made mistakes. In fact, it's because of her mistakes that she's grown up so fast and is afraid to open up and show her vulnerabilities. Nevertheless, she has a good heart, and her decision to put Aidan and Gavriel's safety before her own leads to her having to grow up faster in the cruel world that lies within Coldtown. For all this, Tana doesn't leave us with the breath to make a sob story out of all. No, at the same time that she reveals her vulnerabilities to the reader, she proves a kickass girl with the mental strength and will to get herself in and out of the most terrifying situations. I love how her character is built because a lot of other kickass girls in YA lit today tend to be kickass one moment and then break down another, which seems out of character for them because their vulnerabilities haven't been soundly developed. With Tana, you see her brave her fears in order to be the strong girl that she needs to be to pull through all these tough circumstances she finds herself in.
The snippets of backstory weaving in and out of the greater plot worked really well. It helps give a better feel for the other characters while building tension, as they cut into a moment of suspense where we just want to know what happens to Tana and yet we find ourselves getting distracted by a new storyline. I enjoyed all the different perspectives, especially Gavriel's. It was interesting to see life back when he was younger and how he grew into the quirky, have-to-love-that-guy person that he is today. Pretty much all the characters were awesome excepting Midnight and her companions (though they do add to the story). They're just such… groupies. I really want to ask what the heck is wrong with you people?
I've never really been a fan of forbidden love, but the romance in this book was really well done. It didn't take over the plot like a lot of fantasy romances tend to do. It slipped in here and there, and when it did, it spiced up the story with swoonworthy scenes. I also like how the ex-boyfriend doesn't turn out to be a love interest, as one would typically expect of a book like this. I've never been a big fan of love triangles, mostly because they're so generic and predictable.
In fact, one of the best parts of this book is that I couldn't predict what would happen. It's been a while since a book engaged me so much. Time passed so quickly while I reading The Coldest Girl in Coldtown -- and right up to the end. The ending had to be the best part of the book. It's ambiguous and perfect, leaving us with hope for the future while wrapping up the events of the story beautifully.
Though I labeled Julie Kagawa's Blood of Eden series as being similar, this takes a much more horrific and less romanticized view of vampires. It's closer to Melissa Marr's Wicked Lovely series in that they both take a darker spin on a paranormal creature