The Coldest Girl in Coldtown by Holly Black (Minor spoiler)

April 4, 2014
The Coldest Girl in Coldtown by Holly Black (Minor spoiler)The Coldest Girl in Coldtown by Holly Black
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
Pages: 440
Length: 12 hours 6 minutes
Format: Audiobook
Source: Library

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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.



  • Nathan April 4, 2014 at 9:56 am

    Well, of course there was vampire romance.

    Have not ran into mood music during an audio book yet, think it would piss me off a bit unless bit was consistent throughout.

    • Lisa (@TenaciousReader) April 4, 2014 at 4:38 pm

      Of course there is. I am either rather hopelessly optimistic or cluelessly ignorant to have held out hope for otherwise.

      And yeah, I was not a fan of the mood music. It was typically at the end of a scene and not very long, but every single time it came on, I was thinking about the music appearing, which was a bit distracting. Oh well. I survived. And still enjoyed it. The narrator was perfect.

      • Mogsy April 4, 2014 at 9:57 pm

        I have run into some books with “mood music” and with only a few exceptions, every single bloody time I just feel like shouting at the audiobook to quit that racket and just let me listen to the narrator in peace. You’re right, it’s super distracting, and the always they seem to kick in during an action scene which totally backfires because that’s when I actually WANT to concentrate on the words.

        Anyway, I have this book on my list as well and actually a hold on the audiobook at the library. Will listen when it’s my turn on that gigantic waiting list!

  • Pabkins April 7, 2014 at 5:27 pm

    DRUMROLL!!!! I have arrived. You didn’t like the romance aspect huh? Come on you KNEW that was coming it’s YA – though I can name a YA book for you that doesn’t have romance. Mistwalker.

    I seriously enjoyed this one. The concept was cool and hey…we’re bloggers so we know about the crazy chick.

    • Lisa (@TenaciousReader) April 7, 2014 at 5:31 pm

      I don’t know if I can even say I didn’t like the romance, it worked. But I think since my favorite books lack that, I was hoping to find a YA book with a female protagonist that was dark AND had no serious romance. Too much to ask. It was a fun book, and maybe it was unfair of me to even bring up my unrealistic hope into it. 🙂

      • Pabkins April 7, 2014 at 5:37 pm

        No that is totally fair for you to bring up. Because honestly sometimes I really wish there wasn’t always romance in ever YA book. but then think about it this way…its a huge piece of a YA person’s life. Heck I know I never went long as a teen without some heart throb.

        Also I notice all the adult SFF books I read almost always have a smidgen of romance in there as well. And I think this COLDEST really does only have a smidge.

        • Lisa (@TenaciousReader) April 8, 2014 at 8:28 am

          True. And actually, when I said my favorite books lack ‘that’, I meant instantaneous romance, the sudden, all consuming, head over heals type of romance. This actually was not quite that. It was a bit instantaneous, but was not all consuming. I enjoy romance aspects to a book much more when the relationships evolve. Anyway, it really was a good book. And your right, for the YA crowd, romance is such a huge part of life they are just starting to learn about and experience. Makes sense it is in most of their books.