Author: Holly Black
Provided Synopsis: 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.
Review: In the past few years there have been a large number of vampire stories — most of which have been done so terribly that I had sworn off the genre. However, when I read the premise of Holly Black’s newest novel, I was intrigued and it luckily turned out that she knows how to write vampires correctly. There were no sparkles or ridiculous love triangles; there was not a bombardment of the plot’s mythology with the inclusion of other creatures. In The Coldest Girl in Coldtown the vampires are vicious, and deceiving, and old, and bloodthirsty. They also happen to live out in the open since their existence is no longer a secret.
Our main character, Tana, awakes at the beginning of the story as a survivor of a farmhouse massacre that has taken the lives of people she went to high school with. It was a party gone wrong once vampires snuck in, and Tana knows that she must escape in case the killers are still in the area. During her escape, she stumbles across her ex-boyfriend, Aiden, who has been bitten and therefore infected with the Cold. Unless he manages to lock himself up for eighty-eight days and not consume human blood, then he will become a vampire. Also in the room where she finds Aiden is an ancient vampire named Gavriel, who has been tied up in chains, is mad, and in need of an escape. Thinking in the moment, Tana takes them both with her, and they all head to Coldtown, which is a government sanctioned area for vampires, the infected ones, and human groupies. The catch is that once you enter Coldtown there is no way out.
I would consider this book to be a very modern story with plenty of the elements that true vampire lovers will appreciate. However, what readers of all sorts will not appreciate is the pace of the book, which can often make you feel as if the story has not really gone anywhere. I think there could have been a lot more action in this story to excite the readers and place a bit more excitement in the lives of the characters. Gavriel was such an amazing character and the secrets that you learn about him could have taken the adventure of this world just about anywhere. In fact, I think this book might have been more successful if it were written through his perspective. Holly Black got everything right when it came to making her characters into true vampires, but the storytelling could have used some work.