PJV Quickie: If you are in search of an EPIC young adult author, you might want to point your peepers in one of the novels penned by Holly Black. Everything I’ve read by Black, I’ve enjoyed immensely and THE COLDEST GIRL IN COLDTOWN is no different. Holly Black has a rich imagination that she let’s loose in her writings, she turns things around and upside down and wraps it up in a very entertaining bow. Tired of vampires? Well that is a shame, because you need to visit Coldtown.
REVIEW: The shining awesome that is this book is marked mostly by the world-building. Holly Black again created a fantastical world, putting emphasis on details that weave a very believable storyline. The main focus, Coldtown.
“Cold hands, dead heart.”
When Tana was a young girl, a vampire named Casper Morales, decided he wouldn’t kill his victims, but he would play it out like the movies and just take “sips”, seducing them. The problem with this, vampires weren’t like the ones in movies. With each bite infection spread and those people turned, infecting others. By the time Casper was brought down, he had spread the vampire virus to hundreds in numerous cities and they were then spreading it to more and more. Springfield, Massachusetts was where the main outbreak occurred and then became the first Coldtown. Barricaded cities became the new norm, where people with the vampire virus were segregated from the rest of the population. But, not all vampires are behind barricaded walls.
The new world is one that operates mostly in daylight. Teens have sundown parties, where they lock the doors and party until daybreak. No one can come in, no one can leave. The book opens up at one of these parties, our heroine Tana, waking in the bathtub after she passed out from too much party. But, unlike her parties of the past, Tana wakes up to carnage. Everyone at the party, dead. Except for her ex-boyfriend, tied to a bed – about to turn and an already turned vampire bound by him. Nothing is the same again…because now, Tana’s only hope is to go to Coldtown. A place that every human instinct tells her she should stay as far away from as possible.
Oh this book was so good! It was an eagerly awaited title, that I kept putting off and off because, well as a reviewer you sometimes don’t have a choice as to what you read. But, I had to read this one, so I got it at Audible.com. I’m so glad I did the audiobook also, it gave a certain compelling factor to the novel, made it creepier. I love listening to creepy tales…and THE COLDEST GIRL IN COLDTOWN was creepy. Creepy Creepy Creepy!
A child stood at Fisherman’s Wharf on a foggy night. Reaching up her arms to any adult willing to help her find her father, just before she sank her teeth into their throats.
Holly Black kept the usual trope of sexy vampirism, the one that lures insecure and lost teens into it’s clutches, but also terrified them at the same time. She made it both horrific and delectably alluring. Something that a lot of authors don’t do very well, the idea not being a new one, but the way Black handled it made it original. Others will paint the picture of the tragic monster, burdened with an eternity of guilt, or the egotistical, selfish rake that finds redemption in the arms of his true love. But, Black painted a more apropos adventure, that made this strange world almost believable because of the horror. One where vampires were pretty monsters, but monsters nonetheless, in a time of modern entertainment. Vampires become the next big thing, video feed and television shows broadcast live from Coldtowns, blogs recount people’s desperate need to turn cold, touting the pros of vampirism, tempting people to come partake in the decadence and immortality that lies behind the walls of these quarantined Coldtowns. She explored modern culture and how it would react if something like this happened, ringing true, the entire time. Throughout the novel she explored different stories that Tana had read about, saw on the news or experienced herself and each one painted a different kind of picture of the vampires, leading up to the choices Tana makes in the novel.
The character of Tana was also a great plus for the story, the girl was one of these characters forced into a very tragic situation and has to make very tough decisions that I love so much in young adult novels. Her choices and actions throughout the novel make her a very enjoyable character to submerge in her point-of-view and it is Tana’s point-of-view throughout the entire story. Her back-story was heart-breaking at times and the present situation was frightening, but her actions stayed true to the character and I really came to like Tana as a character. What made it even better though was the surprising romance in the book. Reading the blurb I had certain expectations, which were further cemented from the first part of the book – but then it all began to shift and I found myself in love with the love story. Because of the blurb and first parts I did believe this might be another love-triangle fiesta, but it wasn’t. It was just a very complex romance, between a vampire and a human. But, this isn’t the usual vampire/human romance. Black has Tana fully embrace the fact that Gavriel is a really old vampire and kind of crazy. Gavriel is one of the monsters and by loving him Tana might become one of those monsters herself. But, it was a great romance…even their romantic interludes blending in the sexy and horrific aspects. I’m never one to really freak out about 1000 year old paranormals hooking up with teens…so this part was pretty nice in my estimation.
The one down-point that I found with this novel, lending it the 4 stars instead of 5 stars it might have, was that it did have a huge amount of flashbacks, which messed up the pacing of the novel. I understand that these flashbacks were there to substantiate Tana’s broken mentality and explain the setting, but it did often lead to a loss of pacing. This novel also reminded me a lot of Julie Kagawa’s Blood of Eden series, so while I thought it was original and creative, I also knew that I’d read things like this before. Not a typical Young Adult Vampire novel, but still a Young Adult Vampire novel.
Narration: Christine Lakin was exceptional. Her voice was a rich in emotion, sounding both young and mature when needed. Her narration added to the greatness of the novel, giving life to Tana and her point-of-view. Give this one a try in audiobook, you won’t be disappointed.
Recommendations: Fans of vampires should really enjoy! This is a Young Adult Vampire novel, but it is a bit horrific and mature, so I recommend it to readers 14+. Fans of Holly Black, you will not be disappointed. If you have read and enjoyed authors like Julie Kagawa and Ann Aguirre – check out Holly Black.