The Coldest Girl In Coldtown by Holly Black

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The Coldest Girl In Coldtown

Holly Black

Spoiler Free (Goodreads version)

One night of wild partying can cost you your life.
Or leave you with a chained vampire and an ex-boyfriend on the edge of turning.
Same thing really.

I was really looking forward to reading this. Holly Black wrote some of my favorite stories about faeries. Her writing is usually dark and edgy and with quick, concise plots. This one however, left me wanting more.

The book starts with a bang. Our main character Tana wakes in bathtub and discovers a massacre. The only few surviers are Tana; her ex-boyfriend, already bitten and chained to a bed; and a vampire, chained to his bedside. The book screams forward, as Tana and the boys escape from attacking vampires, and start towards a Coldtown.

In a world with a flair of the post-apocalyptic, vampires are well known. After the vampire bite began spreading, Coldtowns, walled cities, were built within cities to contain them. Now, popular blogs, websites and livestreams originate from within these walls, hosted by both vampires and the humans who live within there.

The book begins to lose steam as we head towards the nearest Coldtown. Along the way of escaping, Tana is bitten in the calf, and decides to wait out the infection period within the walls of Coldtown with her ex. Once a human is bitten, they have 80 days to sweat out the infection, or break and drink blood. Once human blood is drunk, they will become a vampire. Outside Coldtown’s gates, we meet Midnight and Winter, discover the growing attraction between Tana and the vampire, and finally enter the world of opulence.

From there, everything slows to a crawl. The villains are dull and not very fleshed out. The characters inside Coldtown, are much more interesting then the rest outside, besides Tana, the ex, and the vamp. However, they suffer from the same lack of time and development as the rest. These were the interesting characters. I wanted to know more from inside the walls of Coldtown, not about the roadtrip there.

The book is well enough writ when it comes to the narrative. I’ve always loved Black’s quick but descriptive style. I’ve read that some people have issues with the backstory littered throughout the novel, from describing Tana losing her mother, to the vampire’s history. However, personally, I like it. It gave me a fuller understanding of the world and of the characters. I know it takes the reader out of the narrative, but it’s a little like switching to another character’s plot. The reader is left with a mad desire to get back and finish the story.

I can’t tell if I like Tana or if I don’t. Most of Black’s characters are strange, slightly suicidal, creatures. Tana fits in well enough. She’s quick thinking and strong, but at the same time, slightly suicidal and stupid.

The secondary characters are just as strange. The ex-boyfriend who had the strangest unhealthy relationship with Tana, and who thankfully remains just that – an ex.  There’s no love triangle in this book. The vampire whose lost his mind; the brother and sister who want into Coldtown and plan to blog every minute of it; the trans thrift store worker, who turns out to be one of the sanest and best characters in the entire novel.

Over all, it wasn’t a bad book. It wasn’t stupid, and it wasn’t insulting. It just wasn’t as strong as it could be. I know Holly Black has written much better books, so I would suggest picking up one of those before this one. But with lowered expectations, it’s worth a read. The idea of a Coldtown is an addictive one, and so is the opulent world it encases. The characters, though not as fleshed out as I’d like, are interesting. Would I suggest this book to my friends? Not a chance. Would I read a sequel if it was ever written? Definitely.


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