Thu, October 3, 2013

The Coldest Girl in Coldtown by Holly Black Review

The Coldest Girl in Coldtown book cover

The Coldest Girl in Coldtown book cover

The Coldest Girl in Coldtown
By Holly Black
Publication date: Sept. 3, 2013
Little, Brown Books for Young Readers, 432 pages
Source: Publisher

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.

— Goodreads.com description

Oooh, I haven’t read a horror story in a while. While The Coldest Girl in Coldtown isn’t quite horror, it did creep me out like WHOA.

Now, creepy stories like this aren’t my usual cup of tea, but I’m glad I gave this one a chance. And I’m glad I have FINALLY read a Holly Black book. Took me long enough – I know!

So, some pros, some cons.

Pros: Bloodshed. I love an author who isn’t afraid to kill her characters. Bring. It. On.

Also, the story focuses a lot on kids who romanticize vampirism – they want to be dead. I think Black does a really good job of playing this up. It totally got me thinking about how invincible I felt as a teenager. Love that.

Also a pro: Gavriel. I have no idea why I liked him, but I did.

Cons: For its length, there’s not a ton of action. Things move very slowly. Now, maybe that’s because it’s the first book in a series, but it felt a bit plodding. (UPDATE: I’ve just been told this is actually most likely to be a standalone. WHAT! I’m so confused…it did not read like a standalone at all. Hmmmm!)

I also felt detached from the characters. As much as I oddly enjoyed Gavriel, I couldn’t quite put my finger on Tana and what drew her to him.

I will definitely read the next book, even though my feelings were mixed. It reminds me of Julie Kagawa’s The Immortal Rules — I had similar feelings. If you were into that book, though, you ‘ll probably want to check this one out.

Anna Reads young adult book blog

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Posted by: Anna   •   In: death, holly black, vampires
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13 Comments

  1. xtina@moydrookreads said:

    hmmm i can’t decide if i want to read this one–never read anything by holly black before. i did actually enjoy kagawa’s immortal rules (but still haven’t got around to reading the sequels). i am a sucker for romanticization of vampires though so i should prob bite the bullet here. great review!

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    Posted on: Thu, October 3, 2013

  2. Beth said:

    I really liked Holly Black’s Tithe series! (It’s been a long time since I read them, though.) I really want to read this one too.

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    Posted on: Thu, October 3, 2013

  3. Pam@YAEscapefromReality said:

    I absolutely loved this book, especially the unique vampire world she created. I read an article in which Holly Black did say that it was a stand-alone, but she may revisit that sometime in the future, but has no plans right now to write another book in that world. She did leave it a bit open, but it’s kind of nice to have a stand-alone.

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    Anna Reply:

    Really it’s not a series?! That is so bizarre — it totally felt like it was set up to be one! Thanks for letting me know.

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    Posted on: Thu, October 3, 2013

  4. Tara said:

    Hmmm…I haven’t read a Holly Black novel yet and I’m wondering if I should start with this one or something else?

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    Posted on: Thu, October 3, 2013

  5. Rebecca @ The Library Canary said:

    I literally just finished reading this book and loved it! Like you, I also loved Gavriel. He was definitely…different/… but I fell in love with his character. I knew that it was a standalone going into it, but the open ending kind of bugged me. I definitely agree that it read a lot more like a series. I was getting close to the end and wondering how on earth Holly Black was going to wrap everything up.

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    Anna Reply:

    I can’t believe it’s not a series with an ending like that! What the what!

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    Posted on: Thu, October 3, 2013

  6. JennRenee said:

    This was a great horror book. the pacing was slow at times but I loved it anyways. great review

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    Posted on: Thu, October 3, 2013

  7. S.Huston said:

    I’ve read this one. It was nice to read something dark (and like you said creepy) for a change haha! I’m actually hosting a giveaway on my blog for it because I loved it so much. I agree it seems really open ended and I’m curious as to whether she beats it or not!

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    Posted on: Thu, October 3, 2013

  8. Kala said:

    I am reading this one now, about 50% complete. I am not really liking it. I LOVE Gavril and his back story, but Tana is not a very appealing MC IMO. The books is very slow….Hoping it will pick up ASAP.

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    Posted on: Thu, October 3, 2013

  9. Sarah/appifanie said:

    I started this and I just wasn’t feeling it. It’s a little too internal and slow for me. But I finally read her first Curse Workers books about a month ago and I wasn’t sure how I felt about it until I started reading it, when I realized I actually liked it a lot.

    [Reply]

    Posted on: Thu, October 3, 2013

  10. Shelly said:

    I still haven’t read this but I’m dying to. It sounds so good! I loved the Curse Workers Trilogy so I’m glad that Holly Black did not disappoint with this book. I’m a little disappointed to see that the ending made you think it’s a series even though it’s a stand-alone, I hate endings like that but I think I’m willing to get over it. Great review!

    [Reply]

    Posted on: Thu, October 3, 2013

  11. Michelle @ In Libris Veritas said:

    I really don’t want this one to be a standalone. I ended up loving it. It’s nice to have an author take vampires and keep them creepy for a change.

    [Reply]

    Posted on: Thu, October 3, 2013

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