Book Review: The Coldest Girl in Coldtown by Holly Black

 
 
When Tana wakes up after a party to find everyone but herself, her now-infected ex-boyfriend, and a tied-up vampire have been slaughtered by vampires who are still in the house, she quickly rescues the other two survivors and escapes with them to the nearest Coldtown---a walled city where vampires are sent to live. Knowing she might be infected herself, she plans to wait out the time and then go back home, but she doesn't expect to fall for the enigmatic Gavriel or get caught in the crosshairs of his revenge plan.

Book Review: The Coldest Girl in Coldtown by Holly Black | reading, books, book reviews, fantasy, paranormal/urban fantasy, young adult, vampires
Title: The Coldest Girl in Coldtown
Author:
Pages: 440
My Book Rating:
More Info: Goodreads, Amazon, Publisher
 

Review:

This is one of those books that’s going to be hard to write a review for because I feel like I can’t quite explain everything I’m thinking properly, but I will try.

First of all, I love vampires. And this book was vampires done just the way I like them: sexy, but unpredictable and dangerous. They might keep their fangs off you, they might give you a pleasurable bite, or they might rip your throat out; it just depends on the vampire and the moment. And even though there was a romanticism to the vampires, the author also showed the gritty, horrible, reality of them, of what they can do, of the things that happen because of vampirism (like people getting killed even if it’s an accident), of what it’s like to live with them in the Coldtowns.

And speaking of the Coldtowns (the places where the vampires lived), the world-building for those, or for the one that Tana was in at least, was so interesting and well done. The reality shows based there for the humans to watch, the bartering and businesses that existed within the Coldtown, the humans with shunts on their arms who were desperate to become vampires themselves, the impoverished way of living for many people in the Coldtown, the humans who never wanted to be in the Coldtown but got trapped there when it was set up, the markers for getting out and what people will do to get them, the neverending parties… So much thought put into it all. And I mean, just the idea of the Coldtowns in the first place was something unique I’d never seen before.

Another great thing about the book was the complex, flawed characters. Tana sometimes played with fire or made bad decisions but I liked her because she always kept fighting, trying to escape, not giving up, and she tried her best to do what was right. But she also knew when to stop taking shit and put herself first, even if it meant possibly hurting someone. And Aidan did a lot of crappy things to Tana, but he was still charming and sincere and sometimes sweet, and I loved his character because he was so well-written and interesting and truly flawed. I found myself falling for his charm even though I knew I shouldn’t, so I could totally see how Tana fell for him. Gavriel was interesting and flawed as well, just in different, more dramatic ways because of his past and vampirism and insanity.

As a kid, she’d occasionally wondered what it’d be like to meet a vampire that had been alive for a long time. She’d imagined it being like meeting a very old person, someone with a lot of experiences and a bunch of weird stories about walking around during the French Revolution. But spending time with Gavriel, she thought that every day since the one he’d died was not one where he aged, but rather one where he grew away from humanity. He didn’t seem older than he must have been when he died; just entirely stranger.

That’s something I think about even. I read a lot of vampire books, and I wonder, what would a vampire who’s been alive for a long time actually be like? Would they be like an old person? Would they act the age they look? Would they be monsters? Would they still just seem human? Would it just depend on the vampire? But that quote about Gavriel is such an interesting way of looking at it.

The writing was also pretty in this eerie, strange kind of way. And there were some brilliant quotes, like the one I shared above. I’m not sure how I feel about the flashbacks and some of the POVs that might not have been necessary, but those are pretty minor issues.

So overall, this was a kind of eerie feeling book with great writing, sexy but dangerous vampires, amazing world-building, and complex characters that I’m very glad I gave it a read!

 
 
Book Blurb

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.

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  1. Olivia Roach

    My younger sister read this one and she wasn’t too impressed which made me wary. But it’s nice to see a refreshingly opposite opinion and make up my own mind! I did like Holly Black’s Spiderwick series. Okay, so I do really like the sound of this vampires, and the world building sounds brilliant which is kind of the thing I like reading about! I just need to think more about whether this is one for me.

    Olivia Roach recently posted: February Wrap Up! [2019]

    1. Kristen Burns

      Awww, no, that’s a bummer that she wasn’t impressed! I thought it was great. The whole coldtown concept was super unique. I hope you like it if you decide to try it!

  2. Lily

    I really want this book in my life. I love Holly Black and need to read her backlist titles :D this one sounds so great

  3. Bookworm Brandee

    I’ve always wanted to read this one, Kristen, so I had to read your thoughts on it! ;) And now I’ll be trying to add this one to the queue sooner than later. I do love Black’s writing – I’ve read her Faerie series which was also gritty, unique, and well done. Why is it that we readers find an author we like but don’t always stick with reading them? (I’m writing a discussion post about this currently! LOL) Anyway, I’m glad you enjoyed this one and Black’s interesting take on vampires. I’m eager to get to it!

    1. Kristen Burns

      I haven’t read any of Holly Black’s other books, so I have no idea why we do that, hahaha. I’ll have to check out the discussion and see if anyone else can figure it out ;-)

  4. Greg

    Ooh I’ve wondered about this one. A) I need to try Holly Black, and have been saying it forever, and B) this just sounds like a trip! And the Coldtown world building sounds spot on. I loved this line “it just depends on the vampire and the moment.” :)

    That Gavriel quote is something I’ve often thought about too. What WOULD an age-old vampire be like? Surely not just like an older human, right? But stranger? I like that direction she seems to be going in. Makes sense.

    That premise too- waking up to a slaughter! Wow that’s a good one.

    Greg recently posted: Lady S - Here's To Suzie

    1. Kristen Burns

      It’s so good! The Coldtowns were so fascinating.

      Seriously, it’s so interesting to think about what really old vampires, or any being that started out as human or humanoid, would be like. Stranger is definitely an interesting take.

  5. Tanya @ Girl Plus Books

    I read this one about 5 years ago but it has stuck with me. I really enjoyed Black’s take on vampirism. And I thought Gavriel was a fascinating character. Completely mad at times (and that didn’t seem so illogical) and lucid and charming at others. One of the very few stand alone novels that I ever wished had a sequel.

    Tanya @ Girl Plus Books recently posted: WWW Wednesday #44 | March 13, 2019

    1. Kristen Burns

      Aww no! That’s too bad you didn’t like it. Maybe it’d be worth trying again? But who knows, I’ve loved one book by an author and then disliked another, so it happens sometimes.