Saturday, August 31, 2013

ARC Review: The Coldest Girl in Coldtown by Holly Black

The Coldest Girl in Coldtown
Author: Holly Black
Publication: Little, Brown Books for Young Readers (September 3, 2013)

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 a wholly original story of rage and revenge, of guilt and horror, and of love and loathing from bestselling and acclaimed author Holly Black.

My Thoughts: Holly Black's entry into the crowded vampire fiction genre really stands out for me. From the shocking beginning with Tana waking up in a house full of her dead friends to the hopeful conclusion, I was swept into the world Black created. 

Tana Bach is a somewhat normal seventeen-year-old in a world that has changed immensely during her lifetime. Vampires, who had always existed in secret, are now public. Anyone bitten by a vampire catches the infection and goes cold and begins craving blood. But, if they can survive 88 days without tasting human blood, the infection goes away and they are human. Vampires and those who have been infected along with a variety of humans who were already there have been sequestered in coldtowns. Springfield, Massachusetts, is one of the first of them and is the nearest to Tana's home. 

This is also an age of social media and the vampires are quick to use it. One very famous live feed comes from Lucien Moreau's home in Coldtown. It lets people on the outside watch what the vampires want them to see. The feeds play on people's desire to live forever. There are many people who really want to become vampires and who travel to the Coldtowns in the hopes of being turned. 

When Tana wakes up in the house where most of her friends died, she finds her ex-boyfriend Aidan infected and tied to a bed and near him she also finds an vampire wrapped in chains. She is determined to free both of them and flee before the vampires who created the blood bath wake and finish them off. The three of them are on their way to the nearest Coldtown. Tana is scratched by a vampire in their escape and she is afraid that she has been infected. Aidan is already going cold and craving blood. The vampire is Gavriel who is a very intriguing character. He has spent the last ten years being tortured for not killing the vampire who was responsible for bringing the vampires into the public eye and who infected countless humans. He is sort of insane and knows it. Tana is fascinated by him even though she knows he might be the most dangerous thing that she has ever known.

The story was amazing and intriguing and filled with realistically drawn characters and all sorts of moral dilemmas. While it isn't for younger young adults because of the the graphic violence, I think older young adults will be as enthralled as I was by the world Black has created. I highly recommend it. 

Favorite Quote:
She swallowed his blood, a dark vintage from some forgotten cellar. She felt like Persephone in Hades, pomegranate seeds bursting against her teeth, juice rolling on her tongue, and the more she had, the more she hungered. Her skin felt as if it were lit from the inside, her whole body shuddering with delicious sensation. 
I got this autographed ARC at ALA. You can buy your copy here.

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