Friday, September 27, 2013

Review: The Coldest Girl in Coldtown by Holly Black

The Coldest Girl in Coldtown

Author: Holly Black
Release: September 3rd 2013
Genre: Supernatural, Urban Fantasy, Vampires, YA


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.


I want to go back and un-read this just so I can read and relish it again. I seriously cannot understand the 3 and under ratings this book has gotten. How can you not be completely enthralled by this? How?!

I started this, and I was instantly sucked into the story, no questions asked. You get dumped into it, but unlike other stories such as Rush, it didn't feel uncomfortable. It went smoothly and naturally, and you got the general idea of what was happening, of the hows and whys. And the book starts with a constant thrum of tension and suspense right from page 1, and it does not stop until you turn the very last page. It. does. not. stop. There's this steady undercurrent of urgency and desperately needing to know what happens next that gets you turning the pages like it's a no-brainer. Which it is, with this book.

The Coldest Girl in Coldtown really put a spell on me, there's no other way to explain it. I was enchanted by the story, which seems wholly creative and original, because this isn't really dystopia. Instead, human life as we know it is still going on beyond the walls of all the Coldtowns and not even that, even sites we know and love like Tumblr or YouTube still exist and are still used. The whole concept of the modern vampire society, with vampire parties being broadcast live all over the internet was just so bizarre and I loved it. Somehow, the ridiculousness simply made it seem more real, like this could actually someday happen. There is a backstory to how it all came to that in the first place too, so — why not? It seemed entirely plausible and impossible at the same time. And that is one of the few things that are so great about this book.

Another amazing thing this novel does right is characters. All of the characters have their own characterization, they aren't names on a page. None of them. Not even smaller, minor ones like Marisol. They all get a life of their own and it seemed to me like they'd step out of the book at any given moment. How can these people not be real? These aren't just words on a page, they honestly seem like so much more and I can't express adequately how much I cared about all of these characters during just the short span of 420 pages.

Tana was so kickass and awesome, there is no word to capture her essence. While being extremely badass and generally awe-inspiring, she didn't lose herself.  She still had her mental breakdowns and weak moments, which made her so fleshed out I can't believe I'm losing her already. I don't want to be finished with Tana's story, I want to go on more adventures with her. During the length of this book, Tana became my friend and I feel like I've known her forever and I love her dearly. Gavriel wasn't any less amazing than her, and he too got under my skin, made his home there and stayed. And I'm not sure I want him to leave, either. Like I said, the other characters I hold close to my heart as well, and maybe even if I didn't necessarily like, say, Christobel or Midnight, they were still just so real. Like daaaamn, Holly Black, what is your secret? How do you create such vivid characters? I'm truly flashed. 

Of course, what is a book, especially a vampire book, without a bit of romance? Tana and Gavriel's romance was nothing short of beautiful, and wonderfully crafted. Their connection was built up so nicely and steadily and they crawled up on me. Their love was sexy, dark and seductive, and I couldn't not ship them right from the start, they were just so perfect for each other. And not only that, but there's actually good reason for them to fall for each other and they complement each other so brilliantly. Tana and Gavriel are a match made in heaven and I've absolutely loved getting to see their spark light up and engulf them and and and OTP for life. I have no other words than that.

Writing. Holly Black is slowly turning into one of my absolute favorite authors ever. Her writing style is so effortless and smooth, flowing naturally across the pages. I couldn't count on both hands how many times I zoned out of the story for a few tiny seconds, surprised YET AGAIN that the story was actually written in 3rd person. Because the story is so intensely and skillfully told, I felt like I was right there with all of the guys and reading from Tana's point of view, from an actual participant's point of view. How does she do that? Normally, I don't like reading 3rd person because of that very reason, because of the distance it puts between me and the story. But that wasn't the case with this book at all, not the tiniest bit. Beside her great skill at pulling me into the plot line, Black's style is so pleasing and enjoyable I just want to breathe it in. The words literally dance across the pages and have a life of their own and it sounds very melodic and lyrical in a way like she didn't even try. I love Laini Taylor's, or Lauren Oliver's writing for how it sounds like music, but Black's writing is another thing entirely. While not being intentionally lyrical, it still sounds so pretty. I am a huge fan.

In conclusion, I can simply say that I want more. I need more. Why is this a stand-alone? Why? I don't want to leave these characters, or this world yet and the story isn't finished yet either. Not really. I need to start a petition to get Black to write a sequel or something, I just... it was so amazing. I haven't read anything as wonderful as this in a long time. 

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