Book Review Wednesday: The Coldest Girl in Coldtown (4 stars)

Posted: December 25, 2013 in Book Reviews
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Overall I really liked this one. It seemed like a fresh twist on the vampire story, but not enough that they’re reinventing the whole thing. I mean, some things have to stay the same. You don’t have to make the vampires sparkle to see them from a different point of view.

Here’s the blurb:

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.

Now, it lost a star because of the prose. I can’t put my finger on it, but there was something so unlikable about the writing right from the start. And then the story drew me in and I didn’t care about that anymore.

The structure is odd. You get present day Tana, and then we get an infodump about the coldtowns or she tells us something about her past, and then back to present day Tana in the next chapter. The stuff we were told was interesting, but I couldn’t help but feel there might have been a better way to put it across.

Tana was an interesting character, not very likable, but interesting. She had a lot more flaws than I usually see in protags. I liked that, but I didn’t like her. Didn’t hate her either. My favourite character was our mysterious guy. He’s wonderfully broken, and really quite mad. In fact I was a little disappointed he wasn’t more mad. In my mind it pushed credibility that he had so many sane moments, and then swung to mad again.

The other characters were OK, but I don’t feel the book delved deep enough into any of them to develop more than a general feeling of like or dislike.

Now the setting WAS something to write home about. The descriptions of the coldtown are pretty awesome, and the world building was pretty unique. I think it was best summed up by Tana’s little sister who has a pictures on her locker of one of the most famous vampire hunters next to one of the medias most glamorous vampires. Vampires are hated, and they’re worshiped.

The plot wasn’t bad either, a little slow to start, but a part of me liked that. It meant time to drink in the cool world Holly Black built, and the terror Tana feels. Once Tana gets into coldtown things speed up, and I started to like the character more, because she started to do stuff. And there’s a twist. I won’t tell you what it is (but you might guess it before you get to it – I did), but it was pretty damn awesome. I found myself grinning from ear to ear at that part, and I’d guessed what was going to happen for a while.

Most of all I loved the books look into madness. Mysterious guy’s madness, and Tana’s madness (because by the end she’s pretty damn cuckoo). ‘Cause they don’t dwell on it. They stand up, broken and bleeding, and carry on doing whatever they’ve got to do. Tana’s internal pov had some angst, but particularly as we neared the end it was more ‘wow I’m messed up, now shelve that, how do I save my friends?’ And less woe is me.

All in all, I’d recommend giving it a go. It was a fun read, even if it didn’t draw me in from the first page. But in case you aren’t convinced, have a look at what others are saying about it here: https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/12813630-the-coldest-girl-in-coldtown

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