Tuesday, December 3, 2013

Review: The Coldest Girl in Coldtown by Holly Black

Tags: YA, paranormal, vampires, romance

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.

I'm not the type of reader to instantly dismiss all vampire stories out of vampire fatigue; as long as it's written well, I can enjoy it. And THE COLDEST GIRL IN COLDTOWN is written well. It brings me back to Holly Black's Tithe era, with its grungy urban landscapes full of disaffected, multiply pierced, dyed-haired teenage characters who are simultaneously cooler and yet more vulnerable than you'll ever be. Black's narrative swirls between settings and time periods and points of view in a style that I imagine is like what being on raver drugs must feel like. Slightly disorienting, swirls of more-than-they-seem interactions and side-goings-on piquing the corners of your vision, disorienting your understanding of reality so slyly, so insidiously, that when you pause to take a breather from reading this story, you blink and for more than a second think that Black's world could very well exist, unobserved, in your own. Gavriel, the male vampire love interest, even gets me hot and bothered just like the icy-hot Roiben (Rath Roiben Rye, Rath Roiben Rye) of Tithe did.

Verdict? If you love your vampire tales slightly darker and hipper and more insane, get up this alley. If, like me, you spent your formative years gorging on Holly Black's classic urban fantasy YAs, get at this one. If you like your paranormals more romance-y and plot-driven, then this will probably not be your cup of tea.

Cover discussion: ...Wow. Somehow, in the time between when I read this (on my Kindle) and now, I had completely forgotten about the cover. I guess there's some implication in there about how uneventful this cover is...?

Little, Brown / Sept. 3, 2013 / Hardcover / 421pp. / $19.00

e-galley offered by publisher for review. Thank you!


  1. I like the texture of the cover, but it really doesn't say much.

  2. I haven't been reading a lot of reviews on this b/c I don't want any spoilers. I had read one review and it didn't sound like I'd like it. However, your review has tipped the scale in its favor again. I did love Tithe and the darkness so I will probably give this a try.

  3. I'm not too keen on vampire books, personally. But you make this one sound really interesting! I like that it seems different from the others. Plus, I've never read a Holly Black book EVER. Should I be remedying that?


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