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The Coldest Girl in Coldtown Hardcover – September 3, 2013
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From School Library Journal
Gr 9 Up–A dystopian thriller with a chilling twist. Tana, 17, passes out at a party and wakes up in a house filled with corpses. Her friends lie in crusted pools of blood as she searches through piles of belongings for her keys and boots. Her first thought is that someone must have left a window open. In Tana's world, vampire attacks happen. At the tender age of six, she witnessed her mother's transformation from a loving parent to a creature so desperate for blood it would lure and attack its own daughter. It is because of things like this that Coldtowns, quarantined cities where the infected go to live and die, exist. Along with Tana, the only other survivors of the party are Gavriel, a handsome and mysterious vampire, and Aidan, her newly infected ex. She decides to take them directly to Coldtown, but if crossing the barricades means staying there indefinitely, Tana's not sure she's ready to leave life as she knows it behind. Twilight fans will enjoy the drama, but its fan base need not be limited to those who read paranormal romance. Teens with a yen for dark, futuristic novels, and maybe even a few Anne Rice readers, will find this a refreshing take on vampire lit. As always, Black's writing is quick paced and thought-provoking. A must-have for any teen collection.–Jennifer Furuyama, Pendleton Public Library, ORα(c) Copyright 2013. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.
*Starred Review* What happens in Coldtown stays in Coldtown, because once anyone enters this Vegas-like prison for vampires and their infected human pets, there’s little chance of leaving it. After a fairly ordinary high-school party, Tana awakens to discover that she is surrounded by the corpses of her friends and classmates, who have all been drained of blood. While trying to leave, she finds her ex-boyfriend, Aidan, tied up but still alive, his eyes intense with the infection that will fully “turn” him if he receives the human blood he craves. Tana is saved from Aidan’s bite by a mysterious, red-eyed boy, Gavriel, who also materializes in the party’s gruesome aftermath. With hungry vampires scraping at the door, she escapes with both guys in tow to find a way to save them all: by somehow making it in—and out—of Coldtown. In this novel, inspired by her short story of the same name, Black returns with another dark, fast-paced thriller starring a sharp-witted, brave girl who does all the right things when faced with monsters. With rapid-fire dialogue, lavish details, and a wildly imagined world, this will enthrall Black’s fans from start to finish and leave them hoping for another bone-chilling, vicarious tour of Coldtown.HIGH-DEMAND BACKSTORY: Vampires plus reality TV plus romance plus Holly Black (plus a multiplatform marketing campaign) equals a potential mega-bestseller that fans are already waiting for. Grades 9-12. --Candice Mack
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My"in a nutshell" summary...
Tana wants to go to ColdTown with a vampire, a potential vampire and some bloggers!
My thoughts after reading this book...and I know I am all over the place with this...
This is a book with really unique characters. When one lone girl...Tana...makes a choice to save her friend Aiden and a vampire she has never met before...wow...this causes a tumble down a rabbit hole of fear and gore and growth and amazing things.
This is a world where vampires are kind of attractive and are able to fool people into thinking that being a vampire leads to a glamorous life. Unfortunately vampires have to live in ColdTown and once you are in ColdTown...you almost never get out. This is where Tana is headed. And...she is headed there for a number of reasons...some profound...some honorable but ultimately really foolhardy and life altering.
She also has a history where her mother turned cold and nearly killed her...so in some ways she is really "messed" up!
My thoughts after reading this book...
Holly Black has a way of making me feel as though I was actually in ColdTown. Survival is so precarious there...just trying to exist without ever having to eat a rat...OMG...it's the place where nightmares are born and live and never leave!
It was so scary but I loved it!
What I loved about this book...
Aside from being freaked out by ColdTown and what you have to do to survive...it's like the Dystopian Vampire World from hell...people walking around with shunts in their arms so Vampires can feed easily...horrible scarce food...and death everywhere...I rather loved ColdTown. But if ever there was a vampire to die for other than Edward...OMG...it's Gavriel...I loved his relationship with Tana...simply beautiful...in a ghastly sort of way.
Tana was magnificent...noble, loyal, and brave. The girl in the book trailer does not do Tana justice...she needs to be much more fierce and amazing!
What I did not love...
The gory side effect of vampire books...gore and blood...sheesh...this book has a ton of it...
I could see it everywhere. I could almost smell the metallic smell...ick!
Readers who are looking for a different kind of book...with awesome good and evil characters...will eat this book up! It's magnificent!
Thank you NetGalley for allowing me to read this book on my Kindle!
Holly Black is a good writer, so no problems there. However, I didn't really see that this broke new ground in the vampire story/love story/ teenaged heroine story. Enjoyable yes, like cotton candy, but without any real nutritional value. When it comes to unusual vampire novels, my favorite is Peeps by Westerfeld. That I could read a second and a third time.
I wanted this book to be one of my favorites, but it fell short for me.
There was great world building in this book. There were also some moments of well-written, almost poetic, prose. Additionally, there was a refreshing throwback to vampires like the beautiful monsters in Anne Rice’s novels.
The back cover reads, “Coldtown was dangerous. Tana knew. A glamorous cage. A prison for the damned and anyone who wanted to party with them.” That sounded right up my alley! Unfortunately, the book did not deliver these promises.
For a book that promised a peek into this world, the main characters did not even get to Coldtown until halfway through the book. That is part of the reason why the first half of the book seemed to drag on for me.
The other reason this book seemed to drag on is that I kept asking myself where the plot was.
But there was no plot.
Even in the last half, the only smidgen of a plot was from a minor character that seemed to be thrown in at the end of the book to tie some loose ends.
Speaking of minor characters, I think this book would have been much better if that particular minor character was the main character instead. My favorite parts involved him.
His name was Gavriel, and he was a clear throw-back to the vampires of Anne Rice’s world. I loved Anne Rice’s characters Lestat and Louis, so I was happy to see similarities to them with Gavriel. To put it simply, these vampires didn't sparkle, and they were out for blood. Also like Lestat and Louis, Gavriel was seductive and became a vampire during the Victorian era.
But that was the extent of my enjoyment of the characters from The Coldest Girl of Coldtown.
My biggest source of frustration with this book was Tana, the main character. I found her to be very inconsistent. In the first half of the book, every other chapter is devoted to Tana’s tragic backstory involving her mom and vampirism. She spent an ample amount of time feeling upset about this, but certain encounters with vampires didn't seem to bother her. Additionally, she acted rashly and made poor decisions which didn't seem to be part of her character. These sorts of inconsistencies were distracting and frustrating to read.
Much of the book centers on the romance between Tana and Gavriel, but the relationship felt forced and rushed. There wasn’t exactly any exposition to their relationship, and I did not even know she was interested in him until they suddenly kissed. I wondered why a girl who was traumatized by vampires had made out with one. Maybe if she didn't have the tragic backstory at all, or she had actually overcome the trauma, this attraction would have seemed more believable.
In addition to my problem with the main character, I also did not like the third person omniscient point of view. The point of view made me feel distant, and it is probably another reason why I felt no connection to Tana. I think the book would have been much better in first person point of view.
Likewise to the distant point of view, there were awkward points of view shifts in the second half of the book. Suddenly, every other chapter had other characters’ points of view. Although I did enjoy some chapters that involved Gavriel, it was a confusing shift. Maybe if Black had started this earlier in the book it would have worked and made more sense.
There were also awkward places with overflows of information. Some of these were in the point of view-shift chapters. Most of the time this information felt unnecessary since most of it could have been inferred or had already been stated.
Also, there were too many references to social media and related technology. I felt this detracted from the dark and dystopian world. Plus, social media technology is always changing. Because of this, I think in a year or so these references will already be dated in a setting that is supposed to seem like a possible dystopia for our own world.
There is some great description in here that really involved the five senses. However, there was a lot of description that really should have been cut out. Several paragraphs were devoted to describing the character’s Gothic appearance. I enjoy alternative appearances, so it was nice to see them represented, but I found the descriptions to be tiresome, excessive, and verbose.
I wanted to love this book and give it a higher rating, but I honestly think it is worth two stars out of five. I think it could have been be a five star book since it has such a great concept, but it needed some work.
I’m not sure if I would recommend this book. If you can get past the things I’ve mentioned it is certainly interesting. You will probably find, as I did, that you keep reading it just because of Gavriel.
If you’re not sold on the idea of this book, I do recommend Tithe, which is the first book in Holly Black’s Modern Faerie Tale series. It’s my favorite book by Holly Black.
On the other hand, The Coldest Girl in Coldtown is a Holly Black book that I won’t be picking up again.
Most recent customer reviews
Not because it was sad, but because I had such high hopes for it!
I loved the basic plot of the book. I loved a few characters.Read more
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Well, crap. This was spectacular.
I just read it for the second time, and it was still really hard to put down.Read more