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 ColdtownFeatured
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.
The Coldest Girl in Coldtown was a really interesting and fascinating novel.
I really love Holly Black's style of writing and the different worlds she creates for her stories.
I liked Tana's bravery and Gavriel's mysteriousness and even his craziness!
This was a great read and I think if your looking for something different, this would be it!
With vamps posting videos of their huge parties and how awesome their life appears, the reader discovers there are many humans willing to travel and live in these quarantines for the chance to become immortal themselves.
Plenty of action and plot to keep you entertained!
2) The story holds onto the older 'rules' of vamps (sunlight burns, immortal) while giving the reader a glimpse of today's world when humans understands vamps exist.
3) Held me attention cover to cover!
Fantasy + Modern World = My Ultimate Weakness. I truly like how the merging of the two genres in one book is not the Twilight kind of vampires in the modern world, where the 20th century sort of outweighs the fantasy. It's different from it actually, Black's novel. It is set in the modern world, but it also has a leveled balance with the fantasy world. It is a perfect 50/50 of both. While reading The Coldest Girl In Coldtown, I have a terrible tendency of forgetting that Black's book is set in the contemporary world, so every time social media like YouTube, Twitter, Instagram, and Tumblr is mentioned, it puts a smile to my face because of how much the effortlessly "delicious combination" of the two worlds amazes me in this book.
For some unknown reason, The Coldest Girl In Coldtown reminds me of the movie Hotel Transylvania. And since the book reminds me of a children's movie, it appeals to me more as a full-on fantasy tale—in the beginning, at least. But as the book progresses, and I find myself getting deeper and deeper into the story, it suddenly turns into something more—something horrifying and menacing and bloody and gory and just overall gruesome. The amount of blood included in the book doesn't obscure what vampires are capable of doing. It even foregrounds their strength and the sum of power they hold in their cold, dead hands.
Romance is inevitable. In order to spice up a book, an author has to have some sort of romantic element going on between two of her characters (or even three). What I really admire about the romance in Black's novel is that it is not overpowering everything. It doesn't take up the entire book. The synopsis may have hinted something about Tana and Gavriel, and Black has undoubtedly dropped a couple of hints here and there within the chapters, but I like how Tana and Gavriel's feelings for one another developed inconspicuously. I like it because it is not "too in your face," so to speak. It gives you the feeling of wanting to read more scenes that include Tana and Gavriel; it makes you want to root for them, but at the same time, you're uncertain of what's really going on between the two, or if anything's even going to happen to their relationship, really. It is the precariousness that keeps me on my toes whenever I read Tana's thoughts about Gavriel and vice versa.
Another thing that I really like about this book is how the chapters jump between the present time and a character's backstory. I like it when I finish reading a chapter about what's currently happening, the next one is about Gavriel's past, or Tana's background, or whatever. It gives more insight about how this character connects to this one, or to that one. It provides the novel more depth and more thrill. What I also like about the jumping chapters is that it yields me the perception of being "on the edge." So to say, there are mini cliffhangers in every chapter and that really makes me want to keep turning the pages to find out more, to unravel more secrets, to entangle more knots in the story.
Okay. This is, hands down, the best thing about the entire book: Sexual orientation. This book is astonishingly diversified! I truly praise Black for acknowledging the different orientations, whether it be straight, bisexual, transgendered, she addresses them. It amazes me (and I cannot stress that enough) especially that The Coldest Girl In Coldtown is a young adult novel, which targets mostly juvenile readers—our generation, who, by the way, is currently big on topics like sexual orientations. This, Black's salute to the different preferences, only shows that she knows and respects and supports what this generation has become—what this generation is really about. She has managed to make her contemporary book realistically modern because of this.
On the contrary, the only thing that I don't like about the book is Pearl, Tana's younger sister. Let me get this straight. I get that she's the one who gets to take Tana's marker after all—a reason to finally get rid of the small token—but she comes off to me as some sort of minor addition, especially by the end of the book. Others may see and/or understand her importance, and the author obviously has a reason as to why Pearl has abruptly been a big matter by the end of the book; however, personally, it seems to me that Black created Pearl's character, but forgotten how to really fully incorporate her in the story.
In terms of recommending the book, I will actually suggest this one. It's really graphic with lots and lots and lots of blood and killing involved (which I surprisingly enjoyed), but it's refreshing in an unearthly way. With this being the first Holly Black book I have ever read, I really relished her sublime writing and creativity; I can also candidly say that she has altered my perspective about vampire books. Because in a world where violence by lethal weapons is common, what's so wrong with reading a novel about a planet where vampires, who kills people by sucking their neck and draining them of their blood, are the main cause of cruelty?
It's kind of stimulating, don't you think?
THIS PART CONTAINS SPOILERS. IF YOU HAVE NOT READ THIS, DO NOT CONTINUE!!!
So when Tana first introduced Aiden, I had a deep hatred for him. In all honesty, he seemed like a douche and I couldn't understand why she was ever with him. I mean, he would kiss others in front of her and tried to get her to kiss another guy in front of him and I just cannot fathom why she stayed with him. I did however appreciate that Holly Black made him bisexual because you don't find a lot of popular guy bisexuals in fiction. He later became a pretty alright character and I appreciated that he stopped trying to rekindle a relationship that was never meant to work.
Now getting to the actual world Holly Black created. I was amazed by the amount of detail she put into world building. She gives so many specifics on how people become vampires and how the situation has escalated throughout the years giving rise to the Coldtowns. She also points out the flaws in the system which is so rare, even in the real world, which was really refreshing. I always have a deep appreciation for authors who can create an entire world with such detail. She gave us so much information about this world I honestly feel like it is real, like I found myself at night while I was reading this book paranoid at the thought that vampires might come busting into my room at anytime.
Gavriel. Jesus... that boy or should I say man. He's such a mysterious character and I love it. The cryptic sayings he has really gives an air to him that I love. It also helps that he appears to be pretty hot. While he is pretty crazy at times, I think that is what makes him such a great character.
Right off the bat I knew Midnight and Winter were crazy. They might have thought they had everything thought out but they obviously didn't, hence their deaths.
Now don't hate me. But I kept drawing parallels with this story and "The Vampire Diaries" (the tv show obviously because I refuse to recognize the books as cannon." Like Gavriel and his brother were like Damon and Stefan and the girl was kinda like Katherine. As I was reading this book, I pictured Gavriel as Damon because of the craziness yet little bit of humanity he has. Is it just me... who sees the parallels?...
Back to the story, the chemistry and relationship between Tana and Gavriel was just so great. Tana comes to love this crazy guy even after she knows all the bad he has done because she realizes no one is perfect. When they first kissed against that wall, I found myself squealing with joy because their chemistry made me so happy. And later when he comforted her at Lucien's mansion and later when she is chained up, I really appreciated how love can cause a monster to be tamed.
I'm not going to lie, I had low expectations for this book. But it surprised me in the best way and I found myself wanting to keep reading more, and ultimately enjoying the book. This book has a fast pace right from the beginning. (It was actually a really great beginning and set the vibe for the whole book.) I never found myself bored, even during the flashbacks which can usually be draining to read. I also thought that there were enough twists to keep the book interesting.
I found myself really liking the main character, Tana. She was well-developed, had strong opinions, and interesting character traits. The only thing that I found a tad bit annoying about her was the fact that she trusted way to easily. In a world full of vampires with bad things happening (or happened) to you, I would hope that you would develop the survival skill of slight distrust.
I loved how this book didn't focus as much on Gavriel and Tana's relationship. Too many times I've read a YA book entirely about the relationship with the plot just being a background. This was not the case in this book. The lust was there, but took a backseat to the plot.
I'm a big fan of vampires but have found the lack of new ideas in the genre kinda depressing. Even this book does not have the most original ideas. I really liked the idea of Coldtowns, but besides that there was no new information about vampires. They have bloodlust, can be killed in the normal way, and infection can occur by a bite, like usual.
The only other thing I disliked besides the lack or originality was some of the characters. I felt like many of the characters could have been more fully developed. Especially some of the side characters like Midnight and Winter and her little sister, who were essential to the plot. They, and some others, seemed very one-dimensional. I wish that a bit more time was spent developing them so I could get a more of a sense of their stories. At times, I really questioned some of the things they did because of this lack of detail.
Overall, I recommend reading this book. I would say borrow and not buy though. I can't see myself wanting to ever read it a second time.
Tana was such an amazing character and I loved that the book was from her perspective. I felt that she had certain characteristics that made her easily relatable to, and easy to like. I loved how she pulled herself together in moments of crisis and never did what anyone expected of her. She always went above and beyond.
I loved how the other characters added to the book and made it more realistic. I loved how the vampires were portrayed from Tana’s perspective and how it differed from other characters. I felt that the book wouldn’t be complete without all the side characters helping it along and I loved how the author gave them a unique personality.
Overall this book was great and I hope the author continues the series with Tana as the main character. I would also love to see some side stories included as well.
I always worry about whether I will like a main character because that is almost a make or break for me. If I don't like a character then it makes it hard to want to read the book but I really loved Tana from this book. She remains true to herself throughout the course of the novel and that is a rare thing to see in books now-a-days. Most characters flipflop continually and never make a steady choice that they are willing to stick to, especially if there is a horrible outcome but Tana holds her head up high and lets whatever happens happen. Of course, I still faced the frustration with her when she didn't make the choices I want her to but that is part of her appeal because she doesn't change for anyone. She is loyal to those that she loves, which is undeniably admirable, and never gives up until the best outcome happens. She is a strong female character and I adore her for it.
Aiden, oh Aiden, how many bad choices can you make? All of the information you collect about this ex-boyfriend certainly doesn't make you his biggest fan. I learned a lot about how he once was and by the end, I got to see how much he has truly grown throughout the novel which is a ton. He went from the crappy ex who I would've left to die at the hands of vampires to the boy that you want to be happy and silently cheer for despite your original opinion of him. I definitely came to admire him for his choices by the time I shut the book but who knows whether he was the crappy guy he once was or whether it had been a front. Love this guy but no... he didn't seem like the best choice for the lovely main character.
There always has to be a secretive, brooding type that has to be absolutely gorgeous and the main character just can't seem to get over his good looks. Well, to a certain extent that was Gavriel, who is an attractive, nay, beautiful vampire that captures a lot of the typical ideals of being an immortal without going crazy. Tana, despite her best instincts, cannot keep away from the guy that is everything everyone hates. He's a vampire. She knows that she should stay away but even I will admit that I wouldn't keep away from someone like him. He's too awesome. As the story continues though, you realize that you don't really know who Gavriel actually is. The secrets surface at what can either be the most opportune moment or the worst moment possible. He really comes into himself near the end of the book, proving that he could quite possibly be insane in every sense of the word. Yet, he is so attractive and wonderful!
I wish I could talk about more characters and some more of the plot but you really just need to check it out. It is such an amazing book that it deserves your attention, trust me.
**This book was received from the publisher via NetGalley. None of the review was influenced by the author or the publisher. This is a completely original review. The thoughts and feelings of the reviewer are entirely her own and have no ties to the publisher.**
“Coldest Girl“ is told from various perspectives of the story’s main characters, and I absolutely adored it. It made for great tension and surprise while reading, and definitely raised attention anew every time a different perspective aside from Tana’s opened a chapter. Tana is the main character and point of view here though, and, unlike too many female protagonists of the genre, I never found her or her decisions annoying or weak in any capacity. The way she’s introduced was something new and oddly “normal“, and the way the supernatural was then incorporated made for a great start to the story all-together. Everything reminded me a lot of a Anne Rice novel, only more interesting considering the book’s target age group (because let’s be honest, Armand didn’t really do it for me in the long run as a storyteller quite frankly because he was old and a man). I loved that this vampire story featured Tana as the main connection to the story rather than say her badass and dangerous love interest Gavriel, who really could’ve been taken straight from Interview with a Vampire. But because Tana took the reins in the journey (she’s NO damsel in distress like too many female characters in the genre, she’s badass in her own right, but she’s real), it made for something I could relate to on a new level and which made “Coldest Girl“ so exciting to delve into. Also, Gavriel was fun to get to know, because he’s NOT a romanticized version of a vampire, he’s mad to the core and I loved it.
The world Black has created for the setting is also greatly captivating and felt surprisingly unique, with the ideas of Coldtowns and the media aspects in the story. I loved how the modern media played a great part in this vampiric version of ours. It made for great entertainment for the characters, as well as for the reader.
A must-mention is that oh my God, does this book have the BEST kissing scene I have ever read. It was scorching, and I loved it and probably reread it ten times before continuing with the novel. So yeah, be prepared. Tana is awesome, and she gets more awesome by the end of the book and she’s pretty much my favourite vamp lit heroine in all the books I’ve read so far.
"She appeared to have been caught as she was trying to crawl away, one arm extended and the other gripping the carpet."
The best part about this book is the dark, grisly way the vampires are portrayed. They are dark, unforgiving, and just down right evil. In this story, they walk the streets of their respective Coldtowns and cannot leave. The "traditional" things such as garlic and sunlight effect him, but even knowing all that, some people still want to be them instead of using these things on him.
"All infected people and captured vampires were sent to Coldtowns, and sick sad, or deluded humans went there voluntarily. It was supposed to be a constant party, free for the price of blood."
The biggest qualm I had with this story was the characters. Tana was way too trusting. She helped her ex boyfriend, Aidan, who made her do a lot of things she shouldn't have had to do. And trust me when I tell you, Aidan was an ass. Even in the beginning of the novel when he was being introduced to the story he was a douche. He was kissing other people in front of her and then asking her to do the same. And then in Coldtown he gets worse. I won't say how because of spoilers, but he annoyed me to no end.
"Death has its favorites, like anyone. Those who are beloved of Death will not die."
Another thing that bothered me was the plot. It was all over the place. It had certain times every other chapter that it would jump back to the past. I understood it, but at the same time, it was like an info dump. I would have preferred it as working their back story into the story or even in a novella. It just seemed to be long and drawn out. Especially when the plot wasn't very moving. I was expecting Coldtown to be so scary and full of danger, but the way it was described was just desolate. I imagined it like the cities in The Walking Dead. Nothing but abandoned stores and homes. I just wished for a little more action I guess.
"Vampires are predators. And we're prey. You've got to never forget it."
Speaking of action... What the hell was that ending? It should have been a huge fight and something should have happened. I was so bored, I was daydreaming of my next book. The only reason I didn't DNF it was because I only had 5% left in the book and it would have been a shame to have wasted all that time into it.
"Even when I freed myself, I found new chains"
In short, the only thing I really liked about this book was the way it portrayed vampires. But in all honesty, this was another vampire novel I could have done without. The characters, world building, and plot was lacking, but the vampires will give you something to look forward to