The Coldest Girl in Coldtown
“There have been countless books, movies, and TV shows throughout forever that have put forth their own take on the vampire lore. Holly Black, author of The Coldest Girl in Coldtown, adds to the long list with her own tale of vampirism. And, because the whole obsession with vampires is getting a...”
“There have been countless books, movies, and TV shows throughout forever that have put forth their own take on the vampire lore. Holly Black, author of The Coldest Girl in Coldtown, adds to the long list with her own tale of vampirism. And, because the whole obsession with vampires is getting a little monotonous these days (sparkly creatures in the near distance now making us cringe at the thought of the term), I am surprised I even gave this book a chance. A part of me, however, is glad that I did.
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At first glance, the whole premise of the book has a Walking Dead kind of feel, except that the infection spreading all over the world is called ‘going cold’ and some people want it, while others find it to be quite the curse. To put it shortly, one arrogant vampire decided it would be fun to break free of the ancient vampire rule of keeping things on the down low about their kind, broadcasting to our current world the wonders of the undead. Because of this, people began getting turned here and there and everywhere, the governments and institutions across the world struggling to keep anyone with the infection locked away in closed off towns known (rather cheesily) as Coldtowns. These towns are where the infected go to ‘die’ and any vampires captured would be taken so they wouldn’t infect anyone else. Humans, of course, who wanted a taste of immortality, were allowed into these towns. But once you were in, there was no guarantee that you would be turned. Often you would just become some vampire’s permanent blood bag. In other words, things in this town were a little bit messed up. Vampires were in complete control, and there as no way out once you were inside.
Tana, the main character of this story, is a rather odd but brave, strong, and strikingly intelligent. Somehow she manages to survive a massacre at the beginning of the novel, stumbling to find that her ex-boyfriend (who also survived) is now infected and tied to a chair. Oh, and then there’s Gavriel – the insanely dramatic curly haired vampire who happens to be chained up in that same room. Escaping with these two, while the vampires that caused the massacre chased after them, is how the story really begins.
Not wanting to spill the beans, Tana ends up in the Springfield Coldtown, but for different reasons than you might suspect. Of course, her actually getting here takes way too long after a mix of flashbacks and back stories of her and other characters we meet (which do help with character development… but still, it got a bit boring). Nevertheless, it happens. And from then on the story gets interesting. There were a lot of weird moments, but the novel kept my attention. You certainly get a full retrospect of this world and it’s easy to get immersed. The only problem I had was the weakening plot… I feel as if there were so many other ways Black could’ve tackled it. The characters, Tana herself, seemed to be the driving forces as things got pretty psychological and less action-packed. Sure, there were unexpected twists amongst the certain predictabilities of the novel, but there was inherent lacking.
And even among these rich back-stories and the complexities of pretty interesting female character, you’re left with wanting more in the worst of ways. With only 58 pages left of the novel, I had only just gotten a taste of what the plot was going to be with some genuine action. From that point on, things seemed almost rushed and disconnected, lacking the dragging (but important) development Tana’s story started with. Things just seemed to happen and then it was the end.
Now, don’t get me wrong – the writing was pretty darn good and had a pretty fluid vividness to it. The characters were great and even the vampires had a certain realness to them that made you question, at some points, if they were really all that bad for wanting to come out of the shadows. Black twisted bits of morality and managed to create a world not only terrifying but also intriguing. I will not call this book a favorite, but it was certainly better than I had originally perceived. If you just want to read a book about vampires, then by all means, go and read it. It’s entertaining, albeit just a bit faulty.