The Coldest Girl in Coldtown by Holly Black (Minor spoiler)
Narrator: Christine Lakin
Also by this author: The Darkest Part of the Forest
Published by Hachette Book Group, Little Brown Books for Young Readers on 2013-09-03
Genres: Horror & Ghost Stories, Young Adult
Length: 12 hours 6 minutes
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.
Vampire books are an interesting breed. Nowadays, it seems that when I hear “vampire” in relation to a book, the first thing that comes to mind is paranormal romance where some beautiful young woman will catch the eye of an immortal, centuries old vampire and well, insert whatever sexually explicit magic you think happens next here. Maybe I am alone in this, but I can’t help it. That is truthfully my knee-jerk reaction. Now, that said, I absolutely know that is not always the case. There are some phenomenal vampire books that do not contain swooning romances. You can see my reviews for I am Legend by Richard Matheson or Fevre Dream by George R. R. Martin for just two examples.
So, what does all this have to do with The Coldest Girl in Coldtown? Where does this one stand? Most aspects of this book, I absolutely loved. It is dark and it portrays the really dangerous, scary side of vampires instead of just glorifying them as sexy undead that happen to drink blood. Actually, within this world, there are segments of the society and media that do glorify them, just not everyone. I really like how, while there is some glorification of vampires within society, it is a divisive topic that has caused issues. I also like that our protagonist is presented in a way that shows the downside (and the horrors) of it.
I really enjoyed the characters in this book. Tana, our vampire fearing main character, is a bit sarcastic, always a plus for me. And even the side characters, I enjoyed. But, as much as the story worked, and I knew it would happen, I could not help but be a little disappointed by sudden the romance that sparks between Tana and a vampire (this is my minor spoiler, it’s so predictable, I debated about marking it in anyway). My guess is most readers of this book will be pleased with this, but after reading the dark parts of the book, I just couldn’t help but hope that this would be something truly different. I really was hoping that the romance cliché would be skipped, but unfortunately (probably just for me), it was not. And it’s not quite that I felt the romance couldn’t work, and I actually enjoyed the male vampire’s character, I just guess I enjoyed the first book enough that I felt a little disappointed by the predictable love interest.
Also, I listened to this as an audiobook, and have to comment, the narrator did a fabulous job. However, I was a bit jarred by the introduction of ‘mood music’ in places to add suspense. I haven’t run into that with an audiobook before, and found it quite distracting. And honestly, I felt it was almost a bit of a disservice because I think Black’s words did a great job setting the tone and suspense on their own, they needed no help.
So, if you enjoy vampire books, I definitely think this one is worth reading. If you enjoy dark books, this book may also still work for you. If you want to skip any books that have romance with vampires, well, it may still be worth reading because the romance was not an overwhelming part of the book, and the rest of it was really very enjoyable.