Thursday, 17 October 2013

Review: The Coldest Girl in Coldtown by Holly Black

Title: The Coldest Girl in Coldtown
Author: Holly Black
Publisher: Little Brown Books
Release Date: 3rd September 2013
Source: Bought
Rating: 5 out of 5

Description: 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 what a vampire book should be. It’s not the toned down romanticised version of vampires we have come to know over the years, thanks in part to Twilights success. Its dark, twisty and most of all its bloody. Add in vengeance and you have got yourself one menacing tale. Holly Black tells a tale that’s unforgettable, with characters that are razor sharp. Tana and company are more likely to stab you in the back than be a comforting presence. The Coldest Girl in Coldtown is an excellent story and Tana’s adventure to Coldtown is not one to be missed.

Black ensures that this tale is choc a block with cringe worthy moments, gore and blood.  Tana wakes up after a party to find everyone dead except for her ex boyfriend and a vampire. To save herself and the other she has to go to a Coldtown. A place filled with vampires and no means of escape.  To say that Tana has a rough couple of days is an understatement. She goes on a journey filled with death, deception and desperation at every turn.  The story jumps right in and keeps going at a fast pace. It packs one hell of a punch. Just when you think things could be improving they most certainly get worse and every situation takes a grave turn. The situation goes from disastrous to horrific to catastrophic. The shadow of death is a constant companion to the characters and plays an important role in exploring mortality of vampires and humans alike. Black is a fantastic storyteller and this is one engrossing read because you want Tana to survive and make it out of Coldtown. You are immediately invested in this engrossing story about a girl who takes on the odds in an impossible situation.

The way vampire society meshes with the world as we know it is seamless.  The evolution of Coldtowns, government regulations and emergence of vampire pop culture feels realistic. It makes sense that the world would evolve like this if vampires were to exist. It’s the little details that Black incorporates that sell this story. The vampire enthusiasts, blogs out of Coldtown, the rest stop, the reality television shows and bounty hunters were all neat editions that stole the show.

There was also a perfect blend of realism and romanticism about vampires. Tana knows the realistic nature of vampires and their monstrous ways.  There are also other people who saw vampires as celebrities and heroes. They longed to be like them, believing that vampires had a perfect life. Black does a good job of showing the reader how idolising vampires can lead people to ruin. We see a range of differing perspectives about vampires and Coldtowns in the form of blog posts and varying character views. Instead of just one view we get several allowing a more in-depth understanding of the world.

All of the characters are layered. Each character had their own story that overlapped with the overarching plot. Lets just say that each character had an agenda and those agendas were not necessarily the same. Tana is a very fierce devoted girl. She has a very complicated history with vampires and she struggles with what’s happening to her. Nevertheless, she pulls through and fights like hell for what she believes is the right thing. Whatever situation arises she always does what she thinks is right, even if it means helping rescue a vampire and others who may not deserve her help. She is a heroine in her own right but that doesn’t mean that she’s perfect. She’s reckless and plays fast and loose with her life but deep down she is a respectable person who loves her family.  Tana also thinks through every situation. She’s smart about her plans and the way she executes them. She was no damsel in distress. What you get is one determined lady.

Midnight’s story was filled with woe. Aiden was a manipulative ex-boyfriend who wanted nothing but to help himself. There was also a vulnerable side to him. Gavriel was just plain crazy and dangerous. His relationship with Tana was dangerous, sweet and creepy at the same time but somehow they fit. The romance is perfect with just the right amount sprinkled through the story. Gavriel’s battle with the crazy was very interesting. I also loved the way he talked.  Gavril’s past with his brother and why he turned was very compelling.  

The Coldest Girl In Coldtown is a book that is not to be missed. A perfect vampire story, if there ever was one. Don’t miss out on Tana’s adventure.

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