Teen Tuesday, July 2, 2013
The Coldest Girl in Coldtown by Holly Black
Reading The Coldest Girl in Coldtown is like riding a rollercoaster in the dark–it’s a fast ride where the twists and turns can’t be seen and one is left feeling both exhilarated and a little sick. Holly Black’s upcoming young adult novel, available in September, is an urban fantasy set in the present day, save for one small detail–vampires.
Thanks to an errant vampire who went rogue and began infecting humans by the dozens, people now know of their existence. In an effort to contain them, the government has walled off several cities across the country, trapping not only the vampires but human citizens as well. Quarantined within these “coldtowns,” media savvy vampires have become celebrities by broadcasting extravagant house parties and reality programs. Enamored of the perceived lifestyle and the lure of eternal life, devoted fans lie their way into the coldtowns by claiming they’re infected. Most people, however, remain cautious because uncaptured vampires are still lurking in the shadows and a person can never be too careful….
When Tana wakes up after a night of partying to discover her friends have been slaughtered, she quickly discovers she’s one of three who’ve survived a vicious vampire attack. With a mysterious vampire boy and her now infected ex-boyfriend in tow, Tana races to a Massachusetts coldtown to turn them in, secretly fearing that she might be infected herself. Getting them all in won’t be a problem. Getting out, however, is something else entirely.
We all know vampire stories have been done to death, but even if you’re tired of paranormal romance and vampire horror, Holly Black’s latest novel brings a unique plot conceit and fully realized characters often lacking in novels of the genre. The pacing is fast and the plot twisty. The vampires in Coldtown exude a creepy hollowness that makes them genuinely frightening despite their veneer of sophistication. As the main character, Tana is no shrinking violet and even with some serious baggage in her past, she thinks clearly and acts decisively. She’s smart and loyal and makes this book an easy choice for readers interested in novels with strong female protagonists. In addition, fans of comic book author Bill Willingham will be pleasantly surprised to find a nicely done characterization of him within the story. The result is an excellent thriller and a great vampire novel. Highly recommended! This review is based on an ARC that I received (Thanks, Yolie!).