Thursday, August 14, 2014
REVIEW: The Coldest Girl in Coldtown by Holly Black
Once I sat down with The Coldest Girl in Coldtown, I found myself being sucked in almost effortlessly by this story. That first chapter really surprised me. It was dark and violent and it went places that shocked me. And similarly, I quite liked the way the story ended as well, though I can see that it could make some people feel a little frustrated.
This story is set in America at a time when vampirism has spread like crazy. In order to combat the spread of vampires and to protect humans, Coldtowns were created. These are walled cities in which vampires live and are meant to keep them in. Once you enter a Coldtown, you're not to leave. Coldtowns also have become reality TV sets as people are so fascinated and intrigued by vampires and are desperate to know what's going on in them.
The main character of this story, Tana, wakes up from a party only to find out that there has been a massacre and everyone at the party except for her and her ex-boyfriend have been slaughtered by vampires. It's all a little bit tense getting out, but she manages to save herself, her ex, AND a vampire and goes on this journey towards the nearest Coldtown.
I thought Holly Black brought us some incredibly interesting characters in this story, characters that I really wanted to know more about. I liked the main character, Tana, even if I didn't always fully understand her decisions or motivations. My favourite thing about her was her relationship with her little sister and how much Tana wanted to protect her. I also found it interesting to see some of Tana's flashbacks and memories of what happened with her mother.
Along the way to the Coldtown, Tana not only spends time with Aidan, her sweet but exasperating ex, and Gavriel, this mysterious vampire but also comes across other fab characters. Midnight and Winter, brother and sister, are vampire-wannabes who are heading to Coldtown hoping to be infected and turned and to broadcast their experiences on their website. I liked that there was not only revulsion and fascination shown towards vampires but also this obsessive longing from some characters. In fact, the entire mythology of Holly Black's vampires was very interesting and it gave it a new twist.
My only criticism of this book is that there are all of these great characters populating the story and unfortunately, I didn't really felt the connection that they had with each other. There's a lot of backstory told between Tana and Aidan's previous relationship and a lot of build-up of tension and feelings between Tana and Gavriel and I just didn't believe in it throughout. In fact, towards the end, several key players start dying and doing shocking things and I felt slightly distanced from these events. I thought the action was exciting and the pace was fairly quick for a book of this length and, like I said, I loved the characters. I just didn't quite feel the friendships or romance at all. Despite all of this, I shall definitely be picking up more stories by Holly Black...