The Coldest Girl in Coldtown – Holly Black

12813630ISBN – 9781780621715
Publisher – Hachette Australia
First Published – 2014
Pages – 432

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.

The Coldest Girl in Coldtown was a must read for me. I love vampire stories when they’re done WELL (hello Buffy, you are the best thing to have ever graced this Earth and I shall hear no words otherwise). So this could have been very hit or miss, but fortunately I loved it. If you’re looking for a whole new take on the vampire craze and for something deliciously creepy, dark and full of twists, this is for you!

Tana wakes up after a party to find herself confused, in a bathtub and surrounded by dead party goers. Her friend Aiden is tied to a bed and there’s a chained up vampire called Gavriel on the floor. Sounds odd, but whats even more odd are the group of vampires outside that want them dead. Chaos ensues and ends with them heading to Coldtown. Coldtowns exist all over the place and they’re basically walled cities that once you go in you can’t ever leave. They’re also filmed for the amusement of people not in Coldtowns. If you’re a vampire, infected or just really stupid, Coldtowns are the place to be.

Tana’s entry into Coldtown seems a little unexpected at first. She isn’t convinced she’s cold (their word for infected with the Vampire disease), so it seems a bit silly for her to just go without knowing. Tana makes so many questionable choices like this throughout the book, but it takes time to understand her character and learn why she makes the decisions that she does. I loved watching her grapple with her morals and her interactions with the people of Coldtown were excellently written.

What really brought this novel alive for me was the world and Coldtown itself. It was so fascinatingly rendered and so different to anything I’d ever read, particularly in the ‘vampire’ genre. I loved the dynamic of the Coldtowns and the people that lived inside them, the wild parties thrown and the whole media aspect that surrounded them. The idea that people glamorised the Coldtowns and followed their favourite celebrities inside them was fascinating.
I love villains done well, and although the big baddies in this book were pretty cut/copy bad, there were a few opportunities to question the morality of the Coldtowns and the actions of those within them, and that really shined for me.

I loved Gavriel’s character. His madness added a different level to the book as did his relationship with Tana. I definitely expected something more steamy, and I wish that he’d had a larger role in the book – every scene with him left me wanting more. I’d love to learn more about his past!
I would also have loved to go further into the vampire mythology explored in the book. It’s touched on, and forms one of the main plot points, but I just felt there was so much room for more. In saying that, there’s definitely no room in The Coldest Girl in Coldtown. But perhaps in a further novel?
I wasn’t really a big fan of Aiden, Tana’s ex-boyfriend and one of the reasons she enters Coldtown; he’s been bitten. I thought he felt slightly irrelevant to the plot and was an absolutely douche. Zero sympathy for him.

The book itself has such a dark and scary feel to it which was definitely something that drew me in – I love ‘darker’ novels. It is quite a long novel that at times did feel like a bit of a slog, but without it Black wouldn’t have been able to realise the world of the Coldtowns as well as she did. Black’s writing is really a suspenseful, hand-wringing treat in this novel! Full of twists and turns, she’s definitely a master of suspense.
The Coldest Girl in Coldtown was written as a standalone (although I believe it evolved from a story in Black’s anthology ‘The Poison Eaters and Other Stories’, but I haven’t read it myself) and although it does end, there’s absolute room for a sequel and I hope that Holly Black is just being sneaky and writing it and not saying anything and it’ll just pop-up as a surprise one day. …
Let me have hope!

This novel was one that I just couldn’t pull myself away from and I hope you’ll give it the chance to do that for you too. Vampire stories cop a bad rep nowadays. Everyone cringes the second you say the ‘v-word’ and I know that those sort of criticisms and tropes are definitely going to sway some people away from The Coldest Girl in Coldtown. But it’s worth it, it really is. Holly Black puts such a different spin on what’s become a tired trend in YA and it is most certainly worth your time.
Also Patrick Rothfuss pimped it on Goodreads and if that man says it’s good then it’s good, no questions.

Rating (out of 5):

4 cups

Isn’t every hero aware of all the terrible reason they did those good deeds?” Aware of every mistake they ever made and how good people got hurt because of their decisions? Don’t they recall the moments they weren’t heroic at all? The moments where their heroism led to more deaths than deliberate villainy ever could?

Every plan is a house of cards.

Every hero is the villain of his own story.

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