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The Coldest Girl in Coldtown

by Holly Black

Other authors: See the other authors section.

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1,6761578,050 (3.84)96
When seventeen-year-old Tana wakes up following a party in the aftermath of a violent vampire attack, she travels to Coldtown, a quarantined Massachusetts city full of vampires, with her ex-boyfriend and a mysterious vampire boy in tow.

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Showing 1-5 of 157 (next | show all)
Trigger Warning: Drugs, gore, blood, violence, mild language, death.

4.5 So when I first picked up The Coldest Girl in Coldtown, I was not expecting to like it. I was not expecting vampires. Some of the author blurbs were making me think: "Eh, if they liked it I won't." I never expected to love a book about vampires. Frankly I went into this book with little and low expectations, and was blindsided.

The last Holly Black book I read, [b:Valiant|266607|Valiant (Modern Faerie Tales #2)|Holly Black|https://images.gr-assets.com/books/1332713354s/266607.jpg|588218], did not impress me. I was worried that this one would not either. But this did (duh). The characters were great, the plot was awesome, Coldtown is the coolest, creepiest, weirdest, ect setting that I have read about in a while, maybe even forever. It had so many layers to it. Not only that, but how it and vampires were precised by people on either side of it was so different. It made me think about the internet and news today, how everything is sensationalized and warped into something different than it actually is. To people on the outside, Coldtown was like a glamorous, 24/7 party with a chance to earn immortality, but in reality, it was dirty, dank, and unfriendly.

The characters seemed plausible. One of the most annoying things I read in books that take place in our world is how dumb or implausible their actions and reactions are. It bugs me beyond belief and can completely ruin a story for me. Tana's actions did not. It made sense with her history and background, and her actions were felt natural, not odd or staged for the plot. And they moved the plot forwards. Another pet peeve is when everything but the main character moves the plot forwards. Now one thing Tana's sister Pearl did sorta bugged me when she sent the text to Tana saying "have fun fun fun fun [...]" (not sure how many funs there are). It made me roll my eyes and think "Who does that?" along with a bunch of other things, though I guess it can be credited to her age and the perception of Coldtown as I said above.

These aren't the only thing Holly Black did right in Coldtown. She made me like a vampire novel. Usually, vampire novels are either trying to scare me (I'm to visual for books to scare me, it has to be a film) or are deathly romantic. This was neither. It had the right element of creepiness and logical romance (seriously, no one writes logical romances these days). Plus, the romance stayed as a side plot. It didn't take over halfway through the story. It let the plot be the plot.

And finally, Black's writing was great. It wasn't outstanding, but it was rich and exciting. Here word choice was brilliant. Each character had their own voice and I loved the little blog excepts. They were in the right places at the right times, as were the flashbacks. They were relevant; they were what readers want and need to see from the story.

In all this was just a great book. Not the best thing ever, but something I will remember and recommend for a very long time! ( )
  afrozenbookparadise | Apr 22, 2021 |
3.75 official rating
This book felt a little different from what I am used to from Holly Black. It wasn't bad by any means, but it is definitely not what I was used to.

I really enjoyed this unseen concept of people becoming "cold" before actually becoming a vampire. The concept was confusing at first (you can only become cold if you are bitten by a vampire and you will not become a vampire yourself, until you bite another person). I didn't understand the who bites who and what happens because of it throughout the first half of the book. After finally understanding it, I thought it was a very interesting concept which also happened to be very original.

Let's be honest though, I wasn't completely in love with Tana's character. I couldn't figure her out. At the beginning I saw her as a party girl who happened to be in the wrong place at the wrong time. A little further in after learning a little more about her background, I saw her a dark indie chick who continuously rebelled against authority. Then more was introduced and my vision of her changed once again to regular "girl-next door"... or as much as she could be with what was learned about her background. But underneath all the switching personas that were never figured out, Tana makes some really stupid "I don't want to think about the consequences" choices consistently throughout the whole book. Is this supposed to be part of her personality? Because if so, once again, I see her persona changing again. There's nothing wrong with any of this, except that I haven't been able to figure her out - and she's really not all that complex of a character. I felt like a lot of things happened to her - and not so much like she was making meaningful well thought out choices. Most of her decisions were pretty hasty which ended up making me feel like future events happened to her.

I did, however, completely love reading the shorter chapters that were told through Gavriel's POV. We don't know much about him either, but I'm a sucker for a "bad boy". He's not even all that "bad" though. Something about the mystery surrounding him, sucked me in and I found myself wishing that those chapters would have remained longer. I would love to see a prequel about Gavriel and all his adventures as a vampire. I didn't see the twist coming at all with him either! I usually go for the hunky blondes, but I could go for dark and mysterious this time around!

I liked that the story was told in the near future making reference to places that people know of and are well populated today. It made it seem like this was something that could potentially happen to us a country/world. Parts of the world, however, felt somewhat undeveloped - maybe it was a little more with the plot end of how vampires and "cold" people ended needing to be quarantined. I know it was explained (and maybe this was just the part that I was becoming bored with) but some parts of it just felt a little underdeveloped.

My official rating would be a 3.75 because there were some parts that felt really slow. I know there needed to be a little explanation (world building if you want to call it that), but those parts felt slightly unnatural and slow and because of this, the book took me longer to read than it probably should have. Overall, I really enjoyed the concepts behind this book, but there were also things that I could have done without or parts Holly Black should have spent a little more time on. I will still continue to read anything Holly Black puts out, because she has such a unique way to look at the world and tell a story. ( )
  courty4189 | Mar 24, 2021 |
This was some introduction to Holly Black. Jarring, romantic, gritty, sensual, scary, true, unpredictable, satisfying. If those things sound good to you, support this crazy good author and pick it up. ( )
  TaraF | Mar 16, 2021 |
Most modern vampire novels of the teenaged persuasion are all about the teen angst and romance (I blame Twilight for that entirely, though the Vampire Diaries were only slightly less co-dependent in retrospect), but Black does a careful job of ensuring that the romantic themes between our protagonists Tana and Gavriel don't overwhelm the entire story. She focuses instead on the general nature of a world where vampires have come out of the darkess (as almost all vampire novels do), but where humanity's reaction to them has been to create walled off cities (dubbed Coldtowns, after the cold nature of the vampiric infection) to keep the spread of vampires. Harkening back to historical vampire tales, Black's interpretation of vampirism as an infection that can occasionally be beaten reitterates themes from Stoker's Dracula and Streiber's The Hunger. Unlike previous authors, though, Black's vampiric infection has a very specific and acheivable cure - namely sweating out the toxic blood- which brings the genre a new level of realism as she basically treats the supernatural curse the same way as modern sicknesses at their early stages. The cure isn't perfected yet, and there are no drugs or vaccinations available yet, so her moment in time is still at the early stages of the discovery of a new sickness, but there is a certain amount of hope available to humans - and in Tana's case specifically, a choice between "going cold" and attempting to fight for her humanity. ( )
  JaimieRiella | Feb 25, 2021 |
I really liked the take on vampirism as a disease, and can just imagine the CDC coming out with tips on avoiding the infection. The characters were diverse and interesting and the plot was compelling with action scenes and desperate attempts at survival. ( )
  Sarah220 | Jan 23, 2021 |
Showing 1-5 of 157 (next | show all)
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» Add other authors (2 possible)

Author nameRoleType of authorWork?Status
Holly Blackprimary authorall editionscalculated
Illingworth, SashaCover designersecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
O., MichaelCover artistsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
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Nothing can happen more beautiful than death.
--Walt Whitman
For Steve Berman, who inspired the story that inspired this novel
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Tana woke lying in a bathtub.
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(Click to show. Warning: May contain spoilers.)
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This is the novel by Holly Black, not the short story it is based on.
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When seventeen-year-old Tana wakes up following a party in the aftermath of a violent vampire attack, she travels to Coldtown, a quarantined Massachusetts city full of vampires, with her ex-boyfriend and a mysterious vampire boy in tow.

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Book description
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.
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