If you're still into vampires, then The Coldest Girl in Coldtown is an entertaining, dark, gory read.
The Coldest Girl in Coldtown starts off with a bloody bang. Tana, the heroine, awakens in a bathtub at a party, concerned about the pictures people likely took of her in that embarrassing position. After straightening up, she heads out of the bathroom to find a scene of gruesome carnage. All of her friends are dead, eaten by vampires, the first severe attack in quite a while. Most of the vampires are locked up in Coldtowns, so attacks like this are rare. In the bedroom of the house, Tana discovers that one other person has survived: her ex-boyfriend, Aidan, bitten and cold. In the context of this book, cold means a human ready to turn, a human who will die and become a vampire as soon as they have some human blood. Also in the room with Aidan is a hungry, half-mad vampire. Tana saves the two boys from the vampire mob that perpetrated the deaths of her friends and they're off. From that dramatic opening, I was hooked and my attention didn't wane at any point.
The group heads for a Coldtown, which is not a spoiler since it's in the title, guys. What Black does well is the gross and gory stuff. These are not cuddly vampires. Most of them are creepy and crazy, as are the humans who seek to live in Coldtowns in hopes of becoming a vampire one day. Most of the sane people end up getting eaten, in fact, so I think you have to be a bit crazy to survive in a Coldtown.
What Left Me Wanting More:
Holly Black doesn't really add anything new to vampire mythology with The Coldest Girl in Coldtown. The ways to kill or impair a vampire are the same, they've been corralled in cities, and they've even had this overly simple method of turning humans into vampires before. I do think that The Coldest Girl in Coldtown is entertaining and capably written, but it does not stand out for me in the mass of vampire fiction, and I suspect I will not remember it for very long after I read it.
The big weakness is the characterization. Though the characters do say some witty things, they never actually develop full personalities. Part of this is the brevity of the time frame, all of this taking place over the course of the week and with all of that being serious business time. I have no clue what any of these people or vampires are really like on a normal day, except for Tana and Aidan, and what I do know I don't like. It's all quite hackneyed and predictable, with Tana ending up trapped in the Coldtown despite her clever plan and falling in instalove with the strongest of the vampires, who of course loves her too because she's unlike anyone else he's encountered in his hundred plus years of life. The logic that sends Tana into the Coldtown, too, is weak at best, since she wasn't even sure if she'd gone cold from the tiny bite she got escaping the house at the beginning. How about you wait just outside the Coldtown and see what happens?
The Final Verdict:
The Coldest Girl in Coldtown does the creepy horror thing well, and will no doubt have quite a bit of appeal for readers who still enjoy vampire stories. This is a read for those who care more about the action and less about the logic of the world building and character motivations.