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Most Helpful Favorable Review
15 out of 16 people found this review helpful.
One thing I've noticed about vampires in many of today's books i
Holly Black has reminded us in The Coldest Girl in Coldtown that vampires are inherently evil and bad and so scary. When I learned that this book was about vampires, I was prepared for the usual. What I got instead was something dark, bloody and freaky. It was awesome!
Tana wakes up the morning after a party and 48 of her friends are dead. She discovers her ex-boyfriend and a vampire chained in a room and saves them. The three of them set off for Coldtown, with Tana having every intention of returning home when her cargo is delivered. Things don't happen according to plan, though, and before she knows it, Tana finds herself fighting for her life as she knows it.
The Coldest Girl in Coldtown is unique in many ways. In it, our world knows about vampires and fears them. Vampirism is treated as a disease, and something that can be fought - like a cold. It's a different way of looking at it, for sure.
Let's talk characters. Tana was an awesome heroine. She had something truly awful happen to her as a child, and although that event certainly helped shape her, it hasn't defined her like we see so many times in characters that are in situations like this. She's brave and strong and smart. She's cautious when she needs to be, and she doesn't blindly trust anyone.
Gavriel was... wow. He was something else. A centuries-old vampire who is more than a little nuts-o, yet young-looking and hot (of course!) and so dynamic. He says the craziest things, and pairs them with moments of lucidity that make you think that perhaps there's a method to his madness. And, there's definitely more to him than what meets the eye - that was evident from the very first moment we see him.
The way that Black layered the chapters with one flashback followed by one present-day helped to slowly develop the characters and the world so that it wasn't so much info dump all at once. I did appreciate that a lot.
The other thing I appreciated is that, although there is a very nice slow burn romance, it wasn't thrust in with a crowbar. Many times, a romance is added just for people like me who need something like that in my stories. Not because the story calls for it. In this case, the romance is a little darker, but no less sweet. Gavriel is an a-typical hero and leading man, and I was okay with that. I still fell in love with him, just like Tana did.
At 419 pages, The Coldest Girl in Coldtown is a smidge long. It could've been tightened up some. Some of the flashback chapters felt unnecessary. In fact, I think the addition of Tana's sister Pearl was completely nonessential to the main story, and I don't think I would've felt like I was missing anything important if she had been omitted entirely.
Despite that, I really loved the dark and foreboding aspect of this story. The romance that I need was there, although it wasn't prominent. The heroes are exciting. The villains are confusing in a very good way (Are they all bad? Good? How bad are they?). If you like vampire stories even a little, you really should give this one a shot. I can't wait to see where Black takes this story next.
posted by Kristas_Dust_Jacket on September 11, 2013Was this review helpful? Yes NoThank you for your feedback. Report this reviewThank you, this review has been flagged.
Most Helpful Critical Review
1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.
A little disapointing
posted by Anonymous on November 24, 2013Was this review helpful? Yes NoThank you for your feedback. Report this reviewThank you, this review has been flagged.
Posted May 15, 2014
Posted May 10, 2014
Unique Vampire Story
This book had it all, the grusomness of vampires,as well as a very unexpected,but awesome romance connection. This book is sheer brilance! Crazy how so much can happen in 318 pages. All in all I have never read any vampire story close to this one, that is a good thing by the way.Was this review helpful? Yes NoThank you for your feedback. Report this reviewThank you, this review has been flagged.
Posted April 16, 2014
Posted April 1, 2014
Posted March 11, 2014
Posted March 10, 2014
Once upon a time I was vampire obsessed. I would read whatever I
Once upon a time I was vampire obsessed. I would read whatever I could get my hands on, from Anne Rice to Stephanie Meyer to Laurell K. Hamilton and everything in between. But then vampire fiction took over the book market and I had to stop. The books became boring, predictable and at times just downright ridiculous. I became convinced that there would never again be another fresh, exciting, different vampire book that would resurrect my interest. And then Holly Black had to come along with The Coldest Girl in Coldtown and prove me wrong.Was this review helpful? Yes NoThank you for your feedback. Report this reviewThank you, this review has been flagged.
This book is dark. Gloriously, wonderfully dark. The prose is utterly gorgeous. Luscious and atmospheric and just guh. It’s the kind of writing I just want to wrap around myself and live in.
The world-building is extremely well done. I didn’t feel as if there were any glaring questions left unanswered about how the vampires became exposed and why the Coldtowns were created, but I also didn’t feel like I was overburdened with irrelevant information. It was a perfect balance.
The pacing and plot are also fantastic. It was sharp and original and bloody and terrifying and just SO MUCH HAPPENS, including a lot that I didn’t expect but it never feels as if anything is being rushed. I even enjoyed the flashbacks into Gavriel’s past, although they were probably the most boring parts of the book. The ending was so satisfying, with the major plot points being tied up while still leaving so many possibilities open. I loved that Black didn’t wrap everything up in some happily ever after with a shiny bow on top. The ending is just as horrifying as the opening chapter in it’s own way, although not without being hopeful as well.
One thing I also particularly enjoyed was that Black didn’t romanticize vampires. At least not in the way we are used to. While there is some romance, although it isn’t traditional by any means, (and sorry yes, totally swooning over Gavriel even though he’s a monster and not meant to be romantic at all) and some humans who are stupid enough to see the vampires and Coldtowns as beautiful and tragic and romantic, it is made very clear to the reader through Tana’s experiences that most of the vampires are self-absorbed, horrifying monsters who care little for anyone other than themselves.
Best of all though are the characters. Everyone introduced was just so richly developed, with distinct personalities and motives. Tana is the kind of heroine I adore. Brave without being stupid about it, self-sufficient and just plain smart with just the right amount of sass thrown in. I just really enjoyed being in her head.
I honestly don’t know what else I can tell you without spoiling it. This was one of my favorite reads last year, completely unexpectedly, and even if you’re totally sick of vampire books, this book will not disappoint. JUST GO READ IT NOW.
Posted March 8, 2014
Posted February 16, 2014
I just started this book, and i can tell it will be amazing, but I have a weird little story to share. I am a writer. Always have been, always will be. And one of the very first stories I wrote started with " Tanya woke up in a bathtub." And this book begins with "Tana awoke in a bathtub" (or something along those lines. I dont have the book in front of me.) This is an absolutly pointless story, but I thought it was a very strange coincidence worth sharing. This proves that there is a tiny but of a child's mind in every authors head.Was this review helpful? Yes NoThank you for your feedback. Report this reviewThank you, this review has been flagged.
Props to Black for breaking the Vampire stereotype. Books like Twighlight mqke me sick, and this is the cure!
Posted February 9, 2014
If you're lookimg for the absolute opposite of twilight... well, i think even this title proves you've found it. A kickass MORAL perceptive and sardonic heroine, a supposedly insane vamp who knows just he best things to say, and a semiplausible vampiric dominated world... do you think ou can actually walk AWAY from this book? Honey, you'd better be able to chain yourself in the basement for 88 days until you can kick the attraction or you wont like the monster you'll become.Was this review helpful? Yes NoThank you for your feedback. Report this reviewThank you, this review has been flagged.
ALSO INCLUDED multiple POV, relatable quotes from authors even I know, and hot male eye candy imagery.
Basically, the only thing you have to ask about this book is:
THERES GOING TO BE A SEQUEL, RIGHT?
Posted February 6, 2014
Holly Black makes vampires scary again!
The Coldest Girl in Coldtown is a richly imagined story and Black doesn't skimp on the macabre details, the scintillating danger or the gore. In this world, vampirism is a disease, of sorts, one that can be overcome after 88 agonizing days of bloodlust. Those who are bitten are placed in Coldtowns to mingle with the infected and the undead. The problem is: once you've gone to Coldtown, it's nearly impossible to leave. Black takes classic horror and blends it with modern elements to create something that feels simultaneously familiar yet still so different. And if that's not enough, rejoice in the fact that this is a love triangle free zone! PROGRESS!Was this review helpful? Yes NoThank you for your feedback. Report this reviewThank you, this review has been flagged.
What really stuck with me was how Black made vampires scary again. These vampires are of the ruthless variety --- callous, mysterious and cruel --- they are to be feared as well as admired, and no scene illustrates that better than the opening one. Black doesn't hold back when it comes to bloody violence and the audio narration really added a little something extra to the book's creepiness. That coupled with unique death quotes at the start of each chapter, it's bound to give you the chills. The story is richly layered, giving us glimpses into multiple POV's as well as past events.
Coldtown also introduces us to some really dynamic characters, like the protagonist, Tana. Tana is the type of heroine you want to root for because she's perfectly imperfect and loyal to a fault. She's not a girl who just stands by and lets life happen. She's all about action, despite the consequences. She doesn't need to be saved, in fact, she's frequently the one doing the saving. Then there's Gavriel, beautiful, dangerous, undead Gavriel. Gavriel is a monster through and through and Black doesn't ever let you forget that. He's an old soul, centuries old, and crazy to boot. Can I just say how much I shipped Gavriel and Tana's romance! It makes sense given their tragic backgrounds and mutual understanding of what mercy is. They are bonded by tragedy, both having suffered and endured. They each struggle with inner demons and that makes them a great match.
I like how Tana kept her resolved at the end, despite the ease and lure that beckoned to her. It would've been so convenient for her to give in, but she didn't, and her strength is part of why I loved her. The ending was a bang which matched the rest of the story's intensity so well. It was quite open-ended and though part of me is pleased that this is a stand alone, the other part of me wishes to see where these characters take us next. A little adventure, a little horror and a little road trip, this book has a little of everything. Coldtown is a breath of fresh air in an, otherwise, overdone genre. First Gone Girl and now there's this. I think it's safe to say I trust my book club implicitly in choosing some really fantastic reads!
Posted February 2, 2014
Posted December 31, 2013
Posted December 27, 2013
Posted December 25, 2013
Holly Black brings a dark, dangerous, enticingly addicting spin
Holly Black brings a dark, dangerous, enticingly addicting spin to vampire lore.Was this review helpful? Yes NoThank you for your feedback. Report this reviewThank you, this review has been flagged.
I was so wrong to think that I could pick up this book late at night and read a little before going to bed. Chapter One was FREAKY. Waking up in a bathtub with innocent thoughts only to go out and find the house full of corpses of people you know and whom you remember seeing alive and fooling around only last night? I stayed up past midnight creeped out of my mind. I had to keep reading and see Tana reach safety before I could go to bed. Only, I never quite reached that point because she keeps finding herself in greater danger than before, and I fell asleep tortured by thoughts of what would happen to her.
Tana is the good girl. Sure, she goes out and parties, and she's made mistakes. In fact, it's because of her mistakes that she's grown up so fast and is afraid to open up and show her vulnerabilities. Nevertheless, she has a good heart, and her decision to put Aidan and Gavriel's safety before her own leads to her having to grow up faster in the cruel world that lies within Coldtown. For all this, Tana doesn't leave us with the breath to make a sob story out of all. No, at the same time that she reveals her vulnerabilities to the reader, she proves a kickass girl with the mental strength and will to get herself in and out of the most terrifying situations. I love how her character is built because a lot of other kickass girls in YA lit today tend to be kickass one moment and then break down another, which seems out of character for them because their vulnerabilities haven't been soundly developed. With Tana, you see her brave her fears in order to be the strong girl that she needs to be to pull through all these tough circumstances she finds herself in.
The snippets of backstory weaving in and out of the greater plot worked really well. It helps give a better feel for the other characters while building tension, as they cut into a moment of suspense where we just want to know what happens to Tana and yet we find ourselves getting distracted by a new storyline. I enjoyed all the different perspectives, especially Gavriel's. It was interesting to see life back when he was younger and how he grew into the quirky, have-to-love-that-guy person that he is today. Pretty much all the characters were awesome excepting Midnight and her companions (though they do add to the story). They're just such… groupies. I really want to ask what the heck is wrong with you people?
I've never really been a fan of forbidden love, but the romance in this book was really well done. It didn't take over the plot like a lot of fantasy romances tend to do. It slipped in here and there, and when it did, it spiced up the story with swoonworthy scenes. I also like how the ex-boyfriend doesn't turn out to be a love interest, as one would typically expect of a book like this. I've never been a big fan of love triangles, mostly because they're so generic and predictable.
In fact, one of the best parts of this book is that I couldn't predict what would happen. It's been a while since a book engaged me so much. Time passed so quickly while I reading The Coldest Girl in Coldtown -- and right up to the end. The ending had to be the best part of the book. It's ambiguous and perfect, leaving us with hope for the future while wrapping up the events of the story beautifully.
Posted November 8, 2013
I have to say that the moment I say that a novel by Holly Black
I have to say that the moment I say that a novel by Holly Black was up for review, I was thrilled and I jumped at like I am sure many other people did. This book holds a little bit of a twist on how people embraced or ran away from vampire when they first made their presence known. Places called "coldtowns" opened up everywhere and people that lived in these towns were free game essentially for vampires to feed off of. Many come because they seek the glamorous life of the vampires and eternal beauty that comes along with it. The premise of this novel seems pretty realistic to me. The characters bring to life this world perfectly, proving that not everyone wants to be a vampire and not every monster is as bad as you think they are. There are secrets, lies, betrayals, and twists that caught me off guard. You'll see that love and friendships develop in even the odds of places and the darkest of circumstances. I have fallen in love with this story and I am sure you will too!Was this review helpful? Yes NoThank you for your feedback. Report this reviewThank you, this review has been flagged.
I always worry about whether I will like a main character because that is almost a make or break for me. If I don't like a character then it makes it hard to want to read the book but I really loved Tana from this book. She remains true to herself throughout the course of the novel and that is a rare thing to see in books now-a-days. Most characters flipflop continually and never make a steady choice that they are willing to stick to, especially if there is a horrible outcome but Tana holds her head up high and lets whatever happens happen. Of course, I still faced the frustration with her when she didn't make the choices I want her to but that is part of her appeal because she doesn't change for anyone. She is loyal to those that she loves, which is undeniably admirable, and never gives up until the best outcome happens. She is a strong female character and I adore her for it.
Oh Aiden, all of the information you collect about this ex-boyfriend certainly doesn't make you his biggest fan. But by the end, I got to see how much he has truly grown by the end of the novel. He went from the ex who I would've left to die at the hands of vampires to the boy that you want to be happy and silently cheer for despite your original opinion of him. I definitely came to admire him for his choices by the time I shut the book but who knows whether he was the crappy guy he once was or whether it had been a front. Love this guy but no... he didn't seem like the best choice for the lovely main character.
There always has to be a secretive, brooding type that has to be absolutely gorgeous and the main character just can't seem to get over his good looks. Well, to a certain extent that was Gavriel, who is an attractive, nay, beautiful vampire that captures a lot of the typical ideals of being an immortal without going crazy. Tana, despite her best instincts, cannot keep away from the guy that is everything everyone hates. He's a vampire. She knows that she should stay away but even I will admit that I wouldn't keep away from someone like him. He's too awesome. As the story continues though, you realize that you don't really know who Gavriel actually is. The secrets surface at what can either be the most opportune moment or the worst moment possible. He really comes into himself near the end of the book, proving that he could quite possibly be insane in every sense of the word. Yet, he is so attractive and wonderful!
It is such an amazing book that it deserves your attention, trust me.
Posted November 2, 2013
Posted September 17, 2013
Posted September 16, 2013
This book kind of feels like a love letter to Buffy the Vampire
This book kind of feels like a love letter to Buffy the Vampire Slayer to me, in that the author has clearly spent a lot of time thinking over all the stuff in Buffy that makes no damn sense and trying to work out a way in which it could make sense. Lots and lots of careful thinking.Was this review helpful? Yes NoThank you for your feedback. Report this reviewThank you, this review has been flagged.
Even better, she retains a lot of the show's feminist impulses. Tana doesn't really think of herself as a hero, or a villain. She's doing what she needs to do, and what she needs to do is save people. She saves her dad. She tries to save her sister. She keeps finding people to save. By the end of the book, we don't know for sure whether she's saved herself, but we know she tried.
I wouldn't really describe it as having a romance. There's something that could be a romance, given time and sufficient failure at killing each other (or themselves). But it's early days, and not killing each other takes a lot of practice.
Posted September 4, 2013
Holly, thank you for reminding me of why I love vampire stories,
Holly, thank you for reminding me of why I love vampire stories, and why there is always room on my shelf for another exceptional tale.Was this review helpful? Yes NoThank you for your feedback. Report this reviewThank you, this review has been flagged.
Posted September 3, 2013
Worth The Wait
Words... I have none. All I can say is I am enthralled. This book had me on my toes and Tana Bach is my new favorite heroine. I can't wait to find out all about her infection and her new journey with Gavriel as THE Coldest Girl In Coldtown. Holly Black has shown me a whole different outlook on Vampires and what it means to be sane and human. I don't think anyone could brin themselves to regret his read.Was this review helpful? Yes NoThank you for your feedback. Report this reviewThank you, this review has been flagged.