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The Coldest Girl in Coldtown by Holly Black

The Coldest Girl in Coldtown (edition 2014)

by Holly Black (Author)

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1,4461418,404 (3.83)91
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.
Title:The Coldest Girl in Coldtown
Authors:Holly Black (Author)
Info:Little, Brown Books for Young Readers (2014), Edition: Reprint, 448 pages
Collections:Horror, Young Adult, Dark Fantasy
Tags:vampires, dark, blood, betrayal, redemption

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The Coldest Girl in Coldtown by Holly Black



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This review is also posted on my website Behind the Pages: The Coldest Girl in Coldtown

Vampires have been romanticized for years. The alluring suitors that will make your darkest dreams come true. Distant stories that soon became a reality when the first outbreak occurred. A single bite can infect you, turn you cold and give a thirst for blood. And a single drop of blood once you’re infected can turn you into a full-fledged vampire. In an attempt to keep the vampires contained, Coldtowns were created to seal them behind walls. But monsters are never easy to trap. Tana wakes up from a party to find the house littered with corpses and her ex-boyfriend infected by a vampire. She starts a desperate race to reach a Coldtown. A vampire is willing to help them reach it, but will they make it in time before they cave into their blood cravings?

This was a dark and haunting tale, filled with blood and betrayal. Written in a style that blends past and present, the story unfolds piece by piece. It reveals broken and flawed characters, each with their own burdens from a tormented past. As the plot progresses, they must face their fears in an attempt to overcome the chains holding them back. It’s a difficult and violent road, one that refused to let me leave.

The only downfall to The Coldest Girl in Coldtown was the romance. I’m not one for romance in books, but if it is justified then I roll with it. I understand it’s a high selling point, and most readers enjoy it. But the romance in this book felt random. It seemed to be an afterthought added in a later draft once the story was completed. There was no build-up, not even an instant connection, it was sort of just…there.

Despite the slip up with romance, Holly Black never fails to put her characters through hell and back to push them forward. It makes the journey they undertake all the more rewarding, or heartbreaking depending on how it goes. This isn’t a book for those who like a quick light read. Taking on this experience is going to require a taste for horror. ( )
  Letora | Jan 30, 2020 |
"Welcome to Coldtown. Breakfast at dusk. Lunch at midnight. Dinner at dawn."
The Writing and Worldbuilding

This is my second foray into the writing of Holly Black and my first one didn't really impress me. Unfortunately, neither did this one, really. There's little that's unique or meaningful in her stories. She grazes the surface but can't seem to dip under. Between The Darkest Part of the Forest and this book, nothing is very different. Many of the characters are exactly the same (the MCs as a great example of this, though I found her to work better in this story than in the other one), and the endings both felt like set up for an non-existent and unnecessary sequel (because of how vague and unfulfilling they are). The writing itself is simplistic and unremarkable, relying too heavily on chapter epigraphs to provide meaning, and was often redundant when attempting worldbuilding, even if the concept was already adequately explained, and I felt like I was reading a lot of filler to make the book appear bigger even though nothing had actually happened.

Honestly the premise felt like True Blood for teens but less convoluted and less exciting. I'm trash for vampires so I did enjoy it, but it's not something I ever see myself reading again. Strangely, it felt like something Scott Westerfeld would have written, and he tends to be hit-and-miss a lot of the time, spewing the same meaningless, inoffensive teen novels that ultimately tend to hijack and burn their own virtues by the end.

But that's besides the point.

It was quick and fun and anticlimactic at the end, leaving no lasting impression, but it did keep me reading, and I liked some of the characters enough to care.

The Characters

Tana: She's basically a better thought out version of Hazel from TDPoTF. She's headstrong and persistent. I liked her enough.

Aidan: He was funny and all and I really enjoyed his descent into madness but ultimately he was just a jerk and I don't really like people like him anyway, and found some of his actions at the end inexplicable because he lacked a clear character arc.

Gavriel: Definitely the highlight of the book. He's a little whacked in the head and has a lot of fun dialogue that I really enjoyed.

Midnight: She was the character that felt the most Westerfeldian. She would have fit right into the Uglies universe.

Pearl: Honestly I don't really see the point of her storyline.

Lucien: He's basically just a dollar store Lestat


Black has yet to impress me but I did enjoy the book enough to give it 4 stars. A lot of the scenes were quite visceral and I just have a soft spot for vampires, so it was okay. Likely won't reread but still fun.

We all wind up drawn to what we're afraid of, drawn to try to find a way to make ourselves safe from a thing by crawling inside of it, by loving it, by becoming it. ( )
  Faith_Murri | Dec 9, 2019 |
Better than I was expecting. Certainly not your standard young adult paranormal romance! http://grimmella.wordpress.com/2014/01/10/the-coldest-girl-in-coldtown/ ( )
  mmtrick | Oct 23, 2019 |
Great premise: I love the clear-eyed look at vampirism. Not so hip with the romance, however. ( )
  slmr4242 | Oct 16, 2019 |
Though I'm a little late to the party, I really enjoyed this YA vampire novel. The mechanics of vampirism were slightly different from those I'm accustomed to, and I liked the scientific bent to them and the choice to make the story take place several years after vampires became commonplace, rather than to document that change itself. I didn't really have any complaints about this; it reminded me how much I enjoy vampire novels and I look forward to reading more of Holly Black's work. ( )
  NovelInsights | Sep 21, 2019 |
Showing 1-5 of 141 (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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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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