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Girls*Heart* Books: 'The Coldest Girl in Coldtown' by Holly Black: Mel's Review

Tuesday, July 4, 2017

'The Coldest Girl in Coldtown' by Holly Black: Mel's Review


Title: The Coldest Girl in Coldtown 
By: Holly Black
Genre: Mature YA Paranormal/Vampires

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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Mel’s Review:

I am failing as a book blogger the last couple years, I swear. I thought I’d already reviewed this book, but I was wrong! Shame on me. As anyone who’s ever read a book review I’ve written knows, I adore Holly Black. I am in awe of her brain, her creativity and the masterful way she bends words to her will. The Coldest Girl in Coldtown, I will admit, sat on my shelf for a while. I was tired of vampire books at the time it was released (so very tired of them), and while I adore Holly, and was even lucky enough to hear her read from the unedited first chapter at a live event in Rhinebeck, NY at Oblong Books & Music,  I couldn’t bring myself to start it. Until I, once again, saw her at an Oblong event and had her sign my long-languishing copy. I started reading it on my way home  that day and could not put it down.

As stated previously this is a vampire story but it’s managed to keep the dark and scary parts of vampires and still put a new spin on them. This is a dystopian world where vampires are made from infection (when bitten by a vampire, of course) and then the victim goes “cold” and if they can last 88 days without drinking human blood, they will survive as a human and if they don’t, they’ll be a vampire. The vampires (well not only the vampires but we’ll get to that in a minute) live in “coldtowns”-walled communities with armed guards to contain the infection and threat the vampires pose to the general population.

Of course in this age of reality tv obsessions and the already romanticized nature of vampires, there are a great many people who are just dying to become vampires and join in the immortal fun. (Do you see what I did there? Sorry, I’m a nerd.) There are oodles of blogs, live feeds and even tv shows centering around vampires and vampire hunters, those who offer themselves up as living blood banks; the mix of absolute insanity is pretty vast. And of course, once you go into a coldtown, you can’t leave without a marker.

That’s the world our main character, Tana lives in. She’s seventeen and badass. I adore her. She wakes up one morning after a party, hidden in the bathtub, the house silent and full of the dead bodies of her friends and fellow students. Except for a slightly insane vampire boy named Gavriel and Aiden, her asshat of an ex-boyfriend-who has been bitten and is going cold, Tana is on her own. Most people in her situation probably would have got themselves out and never looked back. Not Tana. She is determined to help Aiden beat being cold, and get Gavriel away from the evil vampires holding him captive.

This book was simply phenomenal from beginning to end. It’s so well written, with the perfect mix of darkness, romance, horror and humor. My emotions ran the gamut while I read it, but I loved all of it. I was completely captivated by the story. The characters are complex and flawed, real and you can’t help but get invested in them and root for their survival in this crazy world they’re living in. If you enjoy dark, scary stories with amazing characters and brilliant writing, you must get this book. I’m gonna sit here with my fingers crossed, hoping that she decides to write a sequel.

My Rating:


Holly Black is the author of bestselling contemporary fantasy books for kids and teens. Some of her titles include The Spiderwick Chronicles (with Tony DiTerlizzi), The Modern Faerie Tale series, the Curse Workers series, Doll Bones, The Coldest Girl in Coldtown, the Magisterium series (with Cassandra Clare), The Darkest Part of the Forest, and her new series which begins with The Cruel Prince in January 2018.

She has been a finalist for an Eisner Award, and the recipient of the Andre Norton Award, the Mythopoeic Award and a Newbery Honor. She currently lives in New England with her husband and son in a house with a secret door.

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