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Book Review: The Coldest Girl in Coldtown, by Holly Black

Let the bodies hit the floor

When Tana wakes up, hungover in a bathtub at a party, her whole world collapses. She is surround by the bodies of her classmates, save for her ex, Aiden. He is chained in the bedroom, bitten, and not alone.  A mysterious (and handsome) vampire by the name of Gavriel is also chained in the room. When other vampires start moving through the house, Tana decides to save them both.

Now Aiden is cold (aka infected) and all he needs is human blood to become a vampire. Tana thinks she may have been scratched, meaning she could go cold as well. To protect their loved ones, and themselves, the trio takes off to one of the countries biggest Coldtowns; a quarantined town inhabited by vampires, people that have gone cold, and humans attracted to danger. Life appears to be a 24 hour party in Coldtown, it’s glamorous parties are broadcast for the world to see.

As Tana fights to protect herself and Aiden, she can’t help but wonder what is the real story with Gavriel is. And is Coldtown what it appears? Or just an elaborate facade?

Ode to the Old, Yet Unique

The story pays tribute to vampire stories of the past, with Parts of Gabriel’s story reading a lot like Anne Rice books. Other parts reminded me of series like The Morgansville Vampires by Rachel Caine and Sookie Stackhouse by Charlaine Harris to name a couple. Although things felt familiar to other vampire books, Coldest Girl in Coldtown read like its own series. Set immediately after vampires have been made public and adding in so much media aspects made the story easy to relate to and relevant.

Another huge plus for Black’s writing is the uniqueness of her characters. Tana completely rocks. You know how annoying characters are that always make the wrong decisions? Tana is not that character. She is smart and thinks things through, finding the logical thing to do to help as many people as she can.

Another extremely interesting character was Valentina, a transgendered character identifying as a female.  She came to Coldtown in hopes of becoming a vampire before hormones made her look more male, since she could not afford plastic surgery. Although this was a single line mentioned in the book, I thought it was truly an interesting reason that someone would want to become a vampire.  In general, the whole book was open to LGBT characters, and not just for background characters. Aiden is also bisexual.

Overall

As you can guess by how much I have written so far, I loved this book. It kept my attention, and kept me guessing (incorrectly) until the very end. And that ending… Although there is no plans for a sequel, Black has stated she isn’t opposed to revisiting Tana’s world. Here’s to hoping.

I highly recommend Coldest Girl in Coldtown it to anyone that likes vampire stories, YA or otherwise. I would also recommend checking out Holly Black‘s series The Curse Workers which ranks among my all time favorites.

***Sidenote I listened to this book on Audible. Christine Lakin does a great performance and in particular I liked that she read the book at a fairly quick pace. I did not like that there was music throughout the recording, so if that’s the sort of thing that bothers you, stick with the book.

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