Thursday, January 29, 2015

Book Review: The Coldest Girl in Coldtown by Holly Black

Book blurb:
 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.

Rating: 4/5 stars
Author: Holly Black
Publisher: Little, Brown Books for Young Readers
Publication Date: September 3, 2013

The plot:
I enjoyed the plot of The Coldest Girl in Coldtown. It never lagged and was very twisty. There are points in it where you aren't sure who exactly you can trust, and other points where it's clear what will happen next. And then something else happens (most of the time). Another great thing about the plot of this book is that this is a paranormal fantasy novel with vampires and without a love triangle (apparently that is possible!). The romance in The Coldest Girl in Coldtown is slow-building and full of conflict, both external and internal.

The characters:
I didn't care for all of the characters in The Coldest Girl in Coldtown, but some of them were good. I especially liked Gavriel, the rather insane vampire who accompanies Tana and her ex-boyfriend, Adian, to a Coldtown. Gavriel was a bit pretentious and honestly a little bit annoying, but I found his none-lucid moments of speech interesting. Tana, however, wasn't my favorite character ever, which isn't really a good thing since she's the main character. Tana was, in a way, dumb because she never learned from her previous mistakes involving vampires and people who have gone Cold. Of course, there is a certain point when Tana pretty much just had to go with the flow, but if she had learned from her mistakes, she never would have gotten their in the first place.

The setting:
The setting was pretty amazing. I really liked it. First and foremost, Holly Black almost entirely abandoned the idea of vampires that would control their hunger around humans, and turned to diamond in the sun, and all of that. These vampires are willing to rip your throat out for blood, and will burn to ashes in the sun. The next interesting thing is that vampires aren't hiding in this book, everybody knows about them. Mostly because vampirism became an epidemic that cause the government to construct Coldtowns, walled cities which vampires and humans are allowed into, but can (almost) never leave.

In the end, I enjoyed The Coldest Girl in Coldtown. It was very different from other vampire books I've read (although Richelle Mead's Vampire Academy is still my favorite). It definitely has Holly Black's beautiful writing style, which had an almost poetic feel. It does have a lot of introspection, but it never feels tedious the way that it can in many novels, nor does it slow the plot down. It has an interesting chapater sequence, where every other chapter is either a flashback into Tana's life or tells a small part of the story from another character's POV. Some of this could easily be cut out, but again, it doesn't really slow the plot down. The Coldest Girl in Coldtown is a great book to read, and should be read by any fan of vampires, and even by people who might be sick of them by now, because this book is unique and stands out from other vampire novels.

About the author:
 Holly Black is the author of bestselling contemporary fantasy books for kids and teens. Some of her titles include The Spiderwick Chronicles (with Tony DiTerlizzi), The Modern Faerie Tale series, the Curse Workers series, Doll Bones, and The Coldest Girl in Coldtown. She has been a finalist for the Mythopoeic Award and for an Eisner Award, and the recipient of both an Andre Norton Award and a Newbery Honor. Her new books are The Darkest Part of the Forest, a return to faerie fiction, and The Iron Trial, the first book in a middle grade fantasy series, Magisterium, co-authored by Cassandra Clare. Holly currently lives in New England with her husband and son in a house with a secret door.

If you want to buy The Coldest Girl in Coldtown on Amazon, click here.

(Note: I'm sorry that this post is so late, the last few days have been busy.) 


  1. When I first read the title, I was kind of like 'that doesn't sound very original' but the book does sound interesting. I'll be adding it to my TBR.