Book: Coldest Girl in Cold Town by Holly Black
Source: ARC from publisher at BEA
Release Information: September 3, 2013 from Little, Brown Books for Young Readers
Summary (from GoodReads): 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.
This book starts out with a scene that scared me so bad that I literally had to sleep with the lights on. After that, I don’t think the story got less scary, but I got used to the violence and terror. Which should probably scare me more. There are a lot of familiar elements here, but they all work together for something fresh. Like all good monster stories, Black doesn’t give us a tale of survival, but instead asks questions about what it means to be human. Her story is especially insightful, because Tana isn’t special. She doesn’t have a special power or a destiny or a prophecy to fulfill. What sets her apart is regular human compassion and her role in this story is played because she chooses to matter even when everyone around her tells her that she is insignificant.
The chapters alternate between the main story, which follows Tana, and brief sketches that add to the story without being part of the linear progression. Here we venture into the pasts of several characters, read a few blog posts, and occasionally see something that will affect Tana, although Tana doesn’t know about it. While Black’s writing is always beautiful and enjoyable, I didn’t get to the point where I couldn’t put the book down until there were only 50 pages left. I suspect that I will enjoy this book more on a second reading.
Moments I Loved: The kiss in the Cold Town alley. I won’t tell you who it’s between, but it’s sexy and I liked it. Also the climax of the novel–amazing!
WTF Moments: The first scene. Oh man that first scene is intense. Waking up in a bathroom, hungover, expecting to have all of your friends laugh at your drunk shenanigans from the night before, but instead you find them all dead and their blood smeared on the walls. This is not a great hangover cure.
Overall: Like all of Black’s books, Coldest Girl in Cold Town explores the darkest places inside of us instead of the monsters in the dark. It feels like a love letter to all vampire stories, both old and new.
Coldest Girl In Cold Town gets a FakeSteph rating of…