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.
First Sentence: Tana woke lying in a bathtub.
The Coldest Girl in Coldtown is my first Holly Black book. Despite Holly Black being a really well-known author, I didn’t go into The Coldest Girl in Coldtown with high expectations because of…reasons that I prefer not to name. Imagine my surprise when I read The Coldest Girl in Coldtown and discovered that I actually somewhat liked the book. It wasn’t amazing by any means, but it wasn’t a bad book either.
You know all those other vampire books out there? Well, The Coldest Girl in Coldtown doesn’t really stand out from all the other vampire books out there – Holly Black’s vampires aren’t unique. They still die when exposed to sunlight, when stabbed with a stake to their heart, or when they get their head chopped off, you know, all those vampire stuff you read and see from other vampire books. The only unique thing about the vampires in The Coldest Girl in Coldtown is that some vampires live in Coldtowns. Coldtowns are isolated places where a lot of vampires dwell and where people rarely come out.
“…there’s nobody like you in all the world and it’s you I want. I want you and I hate wanting things and I especially hate admitting I want them.” (417)
The Coldest Girl in Coldtown also reminded me of my favorite vampire series, the Night Huntress series by Jeaniene Frost. There’s this one quote in The Coldest Girl in Coldtown where it mentioned “one foot in the grave,” which happened to be a title of a book in the Night Huntress series. There was also this one scene in The Coldest Girl in Coldtown which reminded me of a scene in the first book of the Night Huntress series, Halfway to the Grave. Those series gave off a similar feeling, except that it was better done in Halfway to the Grave.
Everything else was just prologue and epilogue. A grace period of pretending that her life was going to be like other people’s, that the bite didn’t mark her as already touched by darkness, fated for darkness, a girl with one foot already in the grave. (112)
The Coldest Girl in Coldtown is written in an unique way: one chapter tells the story, while the next chapter is a backstory or a flashback of some kind, focused on a single character. The following chapter after that one continues on with the story. This pattern is repeated throughout the book until the book ends. As I was reading The Coldest Girl in Coldtown, I found myself enjoying the backstory and the flashbacks more than I enjoyed reading the actual story. I don’t know why, maybe it’s because I feel that the backstory and flashbacks have this special unique fluency to it?
The majority of the characters in The Coldest Girl in Coldtown greatly annoyed me. In fact, my note-taking notebook is full of rants on the stupidity of the majority of the characters in the book. Tana, the main character of the book, is too good (or “kind”) for her own good. Some people betrayed her, explicitly stating that they can care less if she dies for them, and Tana still worries and cares for them after they treat her like some nasty gum they just stepped on that got stuck on their shoe. Boy, if I was in Tana’s place, I could care less for them. They don’t care about me, so why should I care about them? To make things even worse, after Tana worries about them, one of them attacks her, blaming her own mistakes on Tana. All I was doing while reading that scene was shaking my head, hoping that Tana has finally learned her lesson. How can you survive in such a dangerous society otherwise?
Just when you think you’ve sunk as far as it’s possible to sink, there’s always a lower place. There’s always something worse to be scared about. Wasn’t that some saying? Some rule? (353)
Also, just a side note, if you have something very important to you about the size of a quarter that could mean the difference between life and death, won’t you keep it with you, in your pocket, at all times? I don’t know why Tana would keep the object in her purse out of all things. People can easily snatch your purse, something you should know when you live in the real world.
The other secondary characters, if they can even be counted as secondary characters, were even worse than Tana. Even though the characters live in a world with vampires, they are surprisingly clueless about them. I mean, people, if you live in a world where vampires exist, don’t just watch television about how vampires kill people and how you can kill them. You should also do tons of other research about them – reading newspapers, asking people who have experienced vampire related things, and most importantly, go read books about vampires. The characters didn’t know tons of information about vampires because they didn’t read tons of vampire books like I do. (How could you not know that when you’re turned into a vampire, you automatically have this deep hunger and rage-kill people to get their blood? How could you not know that new vampires have a very hard time turning another human into a vampire because they can’t control their thirst?) I couldn’t help but roll my eyes at the characters’ cluelessness – what kind of person lives in a world filled with dangerous vampires, but don’t know much about them besides how to kill them, especially if you’re aiming to be a vampire yourself?
“We did everything right. We gave him you to eat, as the sacrifice for the newly risen vampire. It was supposed to be you.” (233)
The Coldest Girl in Coldtown has something close to insta-love in it, but at the same time, it’s not really insta-love. Okay, maybe it is insta-love, but it didn’t feel like it was insta-love to me, if you know what I mean. The relationship between Tana and Gavriel isn’t fully developed, that is that their relationship is just beginning. The Coldest Girl in Coldtown barely touched upon the surface of it. I will still classify The Coldest Girl in Coldtown as having the romance genre though. (For some reason, goodreads doesn’t classify The Coldest Girl in Coldtown as a book that has romance in it, which is just plain weird in my opinion since the book has kissing and all that gooey stuff in it.)
Overall, The Coldest Girl in Coldtown was an okay read. However, in the end, I didn’t really get much from it; The Coldest Girl in Coldtown didn’t leave me with a lasting impression towards it. It brings nothing new to the whole vampire genre and I’ve read better vampire dystopian books before. I have a feeling that fans of Holly Black will love this one though.