fantasy · speculative fiction · young adult

The Coldest Girl in Coldtown by Holly Black

The Coldest Girl in ColdtownTana 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 by Holly Black

Genre: Young Adult Urban Fantasy

Source: Library

Available: Book depository

Thoughts:

A slow burn atmospheric read. It definitely felt like a modern love letter to old school vampire novels. Tana explores what is human and monstrous in this speculative world. Even though the romance is not the main focus of the book, I loved the chemistry between Tana and Gavriel. I also loved that they were both human and monstruous in their own ways.

Sometimes, the flashbacks were interspersed in between the plot progressive scenes which noticeably slowed my reading pace down. (This only mildly frustrated me when the plot started building up momentum towards the end.) Though this isn’t a bad note because a slower pace drew me in to consider Tana’s and Gavriel’s distinct past experiences. A slower pace also allowed me to stay longer with the characters in this eerie modern gothic world instead of rushing towards the end. I liked savouring the feeling of being inside this strange but familiar world.

And Tana finally understood that the wildness of the Eternal ball was the wildness of grief, the intoxicating dance of carnival, where one leaves oneself at home and becomes something else for a night, hoping the old skin will still fit when one comes back for it in the morning.

*The live-feed aspect to the vampire/coldtown phenomena was also very realistic. The story incorporates the current technology to document things in life. Teen bloggers, youtube and the supernatural are an inevitable collision in this world. I also liked the gender fluid approach to sexuality in the story. I enjoy urban fantasy because of that sense of realism.*

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7 thoughts on “The Coldest Girl in Coldtown by Holly Black

  1. I actually struggled a bit with the slowness of the pacing. However, like you, I really enjoyed Coldtown and the reality tv aspect of it all. I know others found it unrealistic, but really, we would watch the Kardashian and people hauling makeup IRL– of course we would watch vampiric depravity!

    Great review as always 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I don’t keep up with the Kardashians but add the supernatural and I’ll definitely be there! Vampiric depravity – the netflix of our alternate world. Thanks Aentee! I love reading your reviews too.

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  2. Ooh, well this does sound intriguing. I love the aspect that there’s a live-feed of the going-ons of Cold Town, as possibly disturbing as that entire idea is, with people just being so obsessed with entertainment that they watch this kind of thing (Hunger Games style); obviously I know very little about this story so I could have it ALL wrong, but it’s an interesting concept. I wonder what us bloggers would make of it, if we were in their place?
    It’s great to read this review after talking to you about this yesterday! I’m definitely keen to read some solo Holly Black, although… I don’t think I’m going to start with this; The Darkest Part of the Forest is first up for me, and I think I’ve already got White Cat on my tbr, although perhaps then I’ll check it out! Pretty sure my library has it.
    xx

    Liked by 1 person

    1. The Hunger Games/Entertainment obsession/connection is definitely there. I agree, it’s fun to imagine – the teenage me would jump at a chance to document of the vampire phenomena (and get bitten, whoops) whereas if it happened today, I’d be more cautious and watch the livestreams rather than participate in them?

      Starting with The Darkest Part of the Forest sounds great! =)

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  3. This was one I listened to on audio, and I’m so glad it did! It also had some background music at times which I thought might be distracting (especially as I’d never listened to one with any form of music at all before) but ended up making it SUPER creepy. I will say though, that some of those steamy descriptions made driving…uncomfortable haha! (There’s a reason I will never listen to oh say The Fault in Our Stars OR anything like a romance novel in my car. No car crashes please!) I am quite reluctant when it comes to vampires, and I definitely like the creepier, darker versions. Actually, just like I like my fae, so is it any wonder I loved this? Holly Black IS the queen of fae books after all!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I kinda love the unexpected surprise additions to audiobooks too! The ones that enhance the atmosphere of a book. Yep, I am definitely a fan of Holly Black’s recent take on the fae. I should give her short stories a try too.

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