Friday, December 13, 2013

Review of The Coldest Girl In Coldtown by Holly Black

The Coldest Girl in Coldtown  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.

(Summary from GoodReads)

If you have ever complained that YA vampire books aren’t scary enough, The Coldest Girl In Coldtown is the book for you.  If you want to read a story whose prose will show you how a world can be simultaneously filled with glamor and horror, The Coldest Girl In Coldtown is the book for you.  If you want a novel that has a post-apocalyptic feel and is filled with horror, The Coldest Girl In Coldtown is the book for you.  Simply put, Black’s latest is an ideal pick for readers who aren’t afraid to be scared, but expect high literary quality.

Tana’s world may be filled with vampires and the constant threat of them, but she is still human in many ways.  In the interest of self-preservation, Tana puts herself in a situation that feels ethically right but makes her feel incredibly vulnerable.  Throughout all of it she is filled with determination, and I loved that about her.  She constantly tries to stay a step ahead of people who want to outsmart her and firmly stands by what she believes in.  I wouldn’t peg her as likable, but she’s one of my favorite female protagonist in 2013.

It took me a while to keep the worldbuilding straight, but once I had it down, I really appreciated it.  Black’s world isn’t overly complex, but it’s still carefully thought through enough to feel realistic. One particular image when the crew first arrived in Coldtown has stuck with me as particularly macabre.  Even outside of Coldtown, I appreciated the fact that Black’s world felt like one where people lived in constant fear of vampires.

The imagery and overall writing this book are fantastic.  Every page felt wrought with emotion and atmosphere.  It was almost like eating a dense chocolate dessert: slow, but so rich and delicious that you have to keep going.

In the past, I've felt that literary quality and vampires haven't really been paired together, and Black completely changed that.  The Coldest Girl in Coldtown is a thoughtful yet action packed read.   If you've ever wanted more from a vampire book, you can find it here.

Disclosure: My boss picked up an ARC of this book for me at ALA.

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