The Coldest Girl in Coldtown by Holly Black
Genre: Supernatural, Horror
Published by: Little Brown Books
Where to Find: Goodreads | Amazon
On the cover of this book, there is a little sticker that says ‘Not Suitable for Younger Readers: Dark, Decadent and Seductive.’ If I was going to use any three words to describe this book, it would be those, and I definitely agree with the ‘you-wouldn’t-want-to-give-this-to-a-twelve-year-old.’
The book starts well. The first chapter is thrilling and mysterious – Tana, the protagonist, wakes up in a bathtub, to find out her friends are now corpses of a vampire attack. Pretty heavy stuff. But for me, it just went downhill from there.
I don’t think I actually understood what was going on. Throughout the first 100 pages Tana has to manoeuvre her friend Aidan, who may or may not turn into a vampire, and a real vampire, Gavriel. It seemed like a lot of pages to devote to one event. However, as well as that, we got some odd chapters giving some backstory for Tana’s life, that seemed to stick out of the storyline, like there was no better place to put them.
Actually, it wasn’t just the first 100 pages I didn’t get. I didn’t understand the whole vampire concept. So, there was a vampire attack ages ago, and if you were bitten, you were ‘going Cold’. You could either sweat out the venom for 88 days and be human or drink blood and be a vamp. But then, Tana seemed to have drank blood but not turned into a vampire? Just getting scratched by a vampire’s teeth can make you go Cold? Generally, I thought the whole transformation was badly explained, but that doesn’t begin to cover Coldtowns.
What the heck were they? OK, so I got that they were a sort of vampire quarantine, but humans can live there too, and the infected, but the infected had the chance not to be vampires. There were cameras throughout Coldtowns, but no big deal was made of the footage. Vampires were celebrities and murderers, Coldtowns were horrible places, but a luxury place to be? Again, the concept wasn’t 100% clear, leaving me feeling a little lost in the middle.
The ending got the story back on track. Tana was going on a vampire killing spree and turning into Buffy. There was some garbled backstory for Gavriel and a small romance subplot, but, again nothing too forbidden.
Overall, I just couldn’t get into it. The world building was more like a puzzle I had to put together myself, but with so many missing or irregular pieces that I didn’t bother. The writing style was new for me, very graphic in some places that made my stomach turn. Because I had some many major issues with the plot, I can only give ‘The Coldest Girl in Coldtown’ 1 star. It was definitely not for me.