on 9 April 2014
I should start by saying that I love books about vampires. Always have - when I was a kid I fell in love with fantasy, S&F and the mystical & magical. If I saw anything about vampires, I tried to read it! Unfortunately now the genre has been marred by the countless poorly written clones of the "Twilight" series, so it takes much longer browsing to find a worthy book.
I am totally amazed at this one! The moment I started reading it, I couldn't put it down. I was reading it at home until late at night, and couldn't wait to get back from work to continue. I think I read it in 3 days, only stopping when I had to eat and sleep! I can absolutely say I LOVE IT.
It tells of a world in which Tana, the main character, lives - a world in which humans close and bar the doors and windows at night, so that they are safe from the infected Cold Ones - vampires - roaming the outside. Tana is a pretty wild teenager going through a turbulent relationship with her on-and-off boyfriend Aidan and dealing with her own painful past, until a fateful night when she goes to a party and wakes up next day in a house full of the dead bodies of all her friends... except Aidan, chained to a bed, and a mysterious young man chained next to him. An unlocked window makes it clear that Cold Ones have got in, but when she hears them whispering through the door and trying to get in, and she realizes the young man is a Cold One himself, she has to make a decision on whose life to save. And so begins an unexpected whirlwind of events which will change her life completely.
The book has a series of unexpected twists and turns and I'd hate to give anything away, as I got so much pleasure out of reading this book waiting with bated breath to see what happens next. I can definitely say that while I think this is supposed to be a "young adult" novel, it reads like any adult book - I definitely didn't find it childish or immature in any way. It has some of what is termed "mature content" - several very well written sensual scenes that definitely make you want more!
Tana is a strong heroine, who behaves and "felt" to me like a real live person. I identified with her throughout, and felt she made the best decisions she could under the circumstances which life threw her - such a difference to often annoyingly portrayed teenage girls in books. Actually Aidan was much more flighty than her... so much for stereotyping! Practically all the characters in here are believable living people who have to face their own weaknesses and life's difficulties - and we see what kind of a person they are by the way they face them. It's not a morality play where good always conquers evil - this absolutely feels like real people facing real life dilemmas.
This whole book leaps out at you, grips you and draws you in - I would thoroughly recommend it to anyone who can face a darker side of the world.
In a world where a single vampire bite is enough to infect an ordinary human, anyone suspected of the infection is swiftly sent to live with the vampires in Coldtowns.
Tana lives close to Springfield, Massachusetts, the first and biggest Coldtown in the US. It's a place where the Eternal Ball and live feeds from Lucien Moreau's mansion have made internet superstars of the undead. And though there's plenty of people who want to live in Coldtown - and are willing to barter blood for immortality - Tana isn't one of them.
But when events for Tana inside Coldtown's walls, all she wants is to get out again. Except no one leaves Coldtown - alive or undead.
At last Holly Black has written a vampire book! This excellent author of dark YA fiction is highly qualified to take on the undead, and this is where she proves it. Tana is a misfit heroine - half rebel, half responsible - but there's nothing obviously special about her, except she's brave and loyal, and refuses to give up, even on those who deserve it.
The story starts in a dark, gory way - and it doesn't much change. If you're squeamish, or prefer your vampires to be charming and toothless, this is not for you. Gothic, dark and intense, Tana's troubles transfixed me from the first chapter, and didn't let go until long after I'd finished.
Then there's Gavriel - beautiful, brooding and insane - or the charming, too easily led Aidan, with the twins Midnight and Winter representing those signing up for a lot more than they understand. As always, Black's characters are intriguing and unusual, their reactions painfully human at times and always interesting.
Gory and gruesome at times, with moments of whimsy and even a touch of romance, these are vampires without any gloss, surrounding a strong, capable heroine who just wants to go home. Holly Black is a master at what she does. I wonder if there will be any more from Coldtown... I hope so.
on 23 August 2014
So this is the first Holly Black book I've had the pleasure of reading and it was probably the best book I could have started with of hers. I loved her writing style, it just flowed so freely and it just made for such an easy read. Now don't get me wrong, most books I class as an easy read (unless they are by the notable contemporary authors) aren't that great, they are an easy read because there is little to no substance to the book, thankfully that was not the case with this one. Not only did we have a plethora of back story as to why the vampires were there in the first place, but that was mixed with a healthy amount of flash backs.
My weakness for vampires goes back 17 years, which considering I'm on 25 is a lot. I owe my love of them to the very first episode of Buffy The Vampire that aired in 1997 and Angel made his first appearance in, since then I have been what you could call somewhat hooked. And because of this, one of the things I related to loved about this book was the Coldtowns. Why do you ask? because as silly as it is, or as crazy as people might think I am, if I lived in a world like the one Tana lives, I could totally see myself being one of the people who treks across town to get to one of this Coldtowns were the vampires live. (I promise you I'm not in need of psychiatric help haha)
The story to this book was pretty damn one of a kind, and that's something else that I fell deeply in love with. I'm pretty sure that regardless of liking it or hating it, I would have still rated this book highly for originality alone. Vampires were first exposed after a newly turned and poorly trained fledgling made his way across the country causing havoc and feeding on whoever he wanted. Soon after the discovery of their existence, Coldtowns were built where they were quarantined and left . Once you go in to a Coldtown you never come back out. Vampires have become an obsession for most in the story, what with 24/7 broadcast's from the Coldtowns to glorify them and make them seem more inviting than they are.
Tana has never been one of those people, not only does she wake up to find all her friends dead, but she finds her ex boyfriend tied to a bed with numerous bite marks and a vampire seemingly no older than her self at the side of the bed. Gavriel isn't like many other vampires though, seems to be on the run from his own kind and after they find them at the house Tana makes a rash decision, to take him to a Coldtown as well as Aiden, her ex who is now in the process of turning Cold. (a lot more happens obviously but I don't want to give anything away because its a good book)
Not only was the story line good but the characters also had a lot of promise. Tana had her moments of breakdown but through the book she managed to keep as much of a level head as she could, and even though she acted brave she was just a scared girl at the end of the day who didn't want to turn out like the rest. Aiden was probably my least favourite character. It's not that he was poorly written, I just feel he was written in such a way that you would dislike him and if so, mission accomplished, if not than I cant change how I feel haha. Gavriel however, I loved. He reminded me so much of Louis from Interview with the Vampire, and being a favourite of mine that's nothing but a good thing.
Like I said, this book was just a really unique story and I'm upset that it was a stand alone, but I guess that's a good thing in a way (that's not to say I wouldn't devour a second book). I'm pretty happy I read this, because I have been dying to. I'm just glad it lived up to my expectations.
on 1 March 2016
(I wrote this a while ago)
I’d seen plenty of people on twitter raving about this book, and how great it was. So I was excited, hopeful, and bought it pretty quickly.
Unfortunately for me, this didn’t live up to its hype.
The main character, Tana, is a likeable enough girl. She wakes up in a bathroom in a farmhouse, having drunk the night away at a party that held lots of raving teenagers. Until she finds everyone dead.
The beginning of the book was easy enough to get into and I found the opening creepy, hope that the rest would live up to the great start. Sadly, Tana’s behaviour was a bit too…calm. I know, she was freaking out, but the actions afterward were a little too weird, and if I’d been her I’d have legged it half way to China Town.
She saves her ex-boyfriend and a vampire. What normal person would do this? Tana, apparently.
I really thought the pacing was too spread out, and I found myself waiting for something to happen. Little bits caught my attention, and the book was set out over about 4 days? But nothing really grabbed me until the last quarter and that disappointed me.
On the other hand, I loved Gavriel. He was a very old but very young looking vampire, and had that bad boy image. And his connection to Tana was sweet, even if he was crazy half the time. Actually, he reminded me a lot of Myrnin from the Morganville Vampire series (by Rachel Caine, You should check it out.) Anyway, he had that edge. He’d start rambling off Shakespeare one moment, and in the next would talk absolute sense. And Tana is drawn to him. The romance was slow. Too slow in my opinion, but since I guess it wasn’t the whole point of the story, I’ll let that go.
Don’t get me wrong, there were small sections that I really enjoyed. Valentina and Jameson were two of my fave characters, but Midnight and Winter irritated me to no end. But most of the characters didn’t really hold much interest to me and they might as well not have been there. Tana’s will to stay by Aidan even though he lost control was brave of her but he got on my nerves when he started keeping a certain thing from her. The vampires were gruesome and scary in parts, and the author didn’t shy from detail. The usual attributes for them were used, and the twist of them being on a TV show was interesting.
The one thing that I noticed, and what others have said in reviews, is that just as something good was happening, the scene would liven up and then… the next chapter would be a flashback. And I thought a lot of the flashbacks were not needed. I don’t need to know about a person’s past if they’re not going to be in it much or it’s going to be relevant. The look into Tana’s sister, Pearl, and what was going on at home was nice to see, but little bits just took me out of the story. As for the writing in general, there was absolutely nothing to fault. Easily read, although some of the modern culture references like social sites, etc, were maybe not needed, but otherwise it wasn’t a heavy read.
For me, the best part was at the last few chapters when everything heated up, and that’s what made me give this 3 stars. I was really looking forward to this book and I have enjoyed Holly’s other works, so I thought this would be something great. Unfortunately nothing truly hooked me and I finished it feeling deflated. I wasn’t sure if this was a stand alone, and I’d hoped if it wasn’t, then that was the reason for lack of action, but apparently it is, which made me wary.
If you enjoyed Curse Workers, you might well enjoy this. I know there have been mixed feelings from other people, so like with most books, it will or won’t hit the right spots.
on 31 January 2016
n THE COLDEST GIRL IN COLDTOWN, Tana is among the sole survivors of a vampire attack. Supported by a vampire and her infected ex-boyfriend she now has to find a way to save her ex from fully turning.
What intrigued me: I'm attempting to read every vampire novel ever published.
Fresh concept, but a very, very frustrating read
THE COLDEST GIRL IN COLDTOWN definitely brings a fresh concept to the table and surprised me with it. I love the idea of Coldtowns and the way Black treats vampires in this new world.
However, the execution of it all couldn't really grip me as much as I would have liked. The writing is very difficult - it reads like you're trying wade through mud and the reading flow is often broken by narrative passages.
There are flashback-like narrative info dump passages at the beginning of every chapter that annoyed me immensely. The story is very interesting and getting thrown off the main storyline by having to read through these flashbacks is a little irritating. All of these do serve a purpose, but I think they could've been implemented into the story more elegantly. Because of all this narration the concept is basically trampled down and it took me ages to read even a couple of pages of this. I never really got really into the story, couldn't possibly because of all those flashbacks, and it's really sad because I love the basic idea.
The first love triangle I tolerate, but an annoying cliche vampire
The characters are interesting, If you're going to do a love triangle, please do it like Black. I loved how her annoying ex-boyfriend tried to compete for her attention while vampire Gavriel wasn't even trying. I absolutely loved the relationship Tana and Aiden have and it's super amusing to read - I almost wish there was a contemporary novel about the two.
However, it doesn't get more vampire cliche than Gavriel. Strangely talking in a weird accent, extremely aware of every phrase he speaks.
I have a huge problem with characters who speaks in awkward, archaic lingo and it almost never works. The entire time Gavriel was on screen I pictured the author trying to come up with a witty, deep line rather than the character. He seemed utterly one-dimensional and pretty unappealing to me. It's kinda sad that this otherwise so fresh and promising read plays into the typical vampire stereotype personality-wise with him.
Overall: Do I Recommend?
Ugh, difficult. I think it's not a must-read. I like that it's a stand-alone, but the writing made this terribly difficult for me to read and I just am not a fan. Probably not.
on 26 February 2015
Okay, so I have to confess - I was one of those unapologetic, completely obsessed fangirls of Twilight and all things paranormal. However, after a while I was hit with a case of vampire burn out and became disenchanted with the whole paranormal genre (with the exception of The Vampire Diaries TV show!). That was, until I read The Coldest Girl in Coldtown. This book was both terrifying and entertaining, resulting in a thoroughly compulsive read.
What I particularly enjoyed:
1. The unique spin on vampirism: How would today’s modern, consumerist, social media-driven society deal with a vampire outbreak and the threat of infection? Holly Black gives us the answer. Vampires, infected humans and humans seeking a sensationalized thrill are shipped off to Coldtowns, which were created in hope of keeping creatures of the night under control. However, the Coldtowns soon became an eternal party for the vampires, earning them celebrity status and idolization. Although humans are mesmerized by the glamourous illusion surrounding the vampires, the reader is presented with the cold reality; there are no sparkling, redemption-seeking vamps in sight. These are gritty predators, thriving off the attention.The mention of live-streaming and blog posts made the story seem SO realistic and freakishly relatable. With the way reality TV is dominating our TV screens, you can totally imagine the same reaction within our world…if vampires were real, of course. I also loved that it questioned the mental state of ‘the vampire’; are these traits something hidden deep within each character or does it take a certain type of person to be a vampire?
“Being infected, being a vampire, it’s always you. Maybe it’s more you than ever before. It’s you as you always were, deep down inside.”
2. The writing: I completely fell in love with Holly Black’s style of writing, it was fast paced and instantly engaging, holding my attention throughout the novel. The story is perfectly woven together – we had multiple POV’s, historical elements and even a blog post here and there, which kept the plot interesting and addictive. The imagery was so vivid that the Coldtowns appeared right before my eyes and I was thrown into the inescapable gloom. The twists and turns were, for the most part, unexpected and I appreciated the fact that the story wrapped up perfectly, creating an ending that did justice to the characters. This is, without a doubt, how a standalone should be.
3. The memorable characters: Holly Black has crafted some incredibly intriguing and complex characters in this novel; each being flawed, broken and totally realistic. In a world where ordinary humans are bargaining their mortal life for something more spectacular, Tana stays true to her morals, persistently striving to stay sane in a manic world. I admired that she was a people person, putting humanity before herself – she is ultimately a character you can’t help but root for!
on 10 January 2015
After hearing so much praise for Holly Black and her writing I couldn’t wait to give this novel a go. I read Doll Bones last year and thought it was good, although being a middle grade I felt it lacked substance. On reading the synopsis of this YA vampire novel, I was sold.
I thought the novel was okay, it lacked lots of elements for me and I feel sad that it didn’t live up to my expectations because I was really looking forward to reading and enjoying it.
Firstly, the pacing. This book is very slow, the action doesn’t really take place until the last quarter. I desperately wanted this book to be good, I kept reading and reading waiting for the next page to wow me. Unfortunately, it didn’t. The novel is split into sections in which the author tells us more about the world, or provides insight into Tana’s childhood and how her mother died. When I got to the last few chapters I still felt like the story hadn’t moved on very much. I was confused as to what really happened in the story.
Secondly, the setting. Now, the world building and creation is great. The author spends a lot of time creating atmosphere and describing surroundings. I went into this novel looking forward to the glamorous, celebrity style, reality TV element. Again, this fell short. I just felt like I constantly wanted more. The premise was great, it just didn’t meet my expectations.
Lastly, and on a more positive note, Gavriel was the most exciting part of this novel. A dark, troublesome, handsome vampire. His back story was the most interesting, he was a well-built character who wasn’t just ‘boyfriend material’ – there is a lot more than meets the eye.
I know that a lot of readers absolutely love this novel and I have no doubt that many more will. I have realised that vampire books aren’t my favourite YA books to read, they just don’t interest me. I’m gutted that I didn’t enjoy this as much as I had hoped. I appreciate Holly Black’s writing talents, this book just wasn’t a favourite for me.
on 3 December 2014
For quite a while now, I have seen many a book vlog, and many a review raving about Holly Black as an author, and how some of her books are by far the favourites of many a book reviewer. The main book from people’s reviews that drew me to her was that of The Coldest Girl in Coldtown, it has a complete mixture of reviews, and because I am a sucker for a vampire story (no pun intended) knew I had to give it a read and see for myself what it was all about. The blurb drew me in instantly; it brought a picture of almost a post apocalyptic world full of vampires, and this one girl’s story of survival within it.
I was worried at first that there would be no originality within the story, I mean, what more could be done with a vampire story, they have all been done before. However, I was pleasantly surprised at how different this story was, certainly no sparkly Cullen’s but more of the monstrous blood sucking vampires we have seen in the past. Throughout this book you are worried about the cold infection, and the transition into becoming a vampire. The entire journey follows the main protagonist Tana, her ex boyfriend Aiden who has been infected with the cold virus after a massacre at the party they all attended, and a mysterious boy/vampire named Gavriel. We follow Tana, a strong willed, and seemingly independent girl and her journey deciding on how to save her ex, her will to make him not turn and to outlast the cold virus the full 88 days that it ravages through the body. We learn of her past, and see snippets of her life pre the life changing horror at the party, learn of her past experiences of her mum and the cold virus and the devastation left in its wake. We see her unusual relationship with Aiden, and flashbacks to that of their time together, and on top of this we learn more about the horror of Gavriel and his past. Now I don’t really want to go into too much detail about each of their stories, as they all provide that little something extra, and that bit of horror and gore and what has happened, and even the shock factor. There is nothing better than reading it all first hand.
Holly Black creates this visionary world of horror and imagination. The detail within it really enables the world to build and develop within your own imagination. The detail used to create the Coldtown really provided the dark and almost fearful place, you worried for Tana when she simply walked down the street at night, the fear circulating the development of the vampires allowed you to worry about Tana, and you really just didn’t know what would happen. Holly had no holds barred as to who would be a victim and who would be a villain, the twist which happens around the middle of the book genuinely shocked me, and I couldn’t believe I had been fooled either. I felt with most authors as a reader you could see what was about to happen, and I honestly didn’t, I felt angry for Tana, and willed her survival even more.
I have to say I loved Tana's character, the moments where she had that awkward moment of wanting to laugh when in an awful situation surrounded by bodies, the hysteria of not knowing how to deal with the horror that has happened but to want to laugh, yet her dealing with the whole situation she found herself in was handled better than most, and I really felt she should have given herself more credit for how she dealt with it all, and then the strength she found amidst the fear and horror she found herself trapped within.
Then there was Gavriel, I wasn’t sure what to make of him, he was this mysterious boy tied up with chains that Tana found, and yet knowing what he was felt she had to save him. Very little is given away about Gavriel in the first few chapters, you are left with Tana's impressions and descriptions of him, and it is only when we learn more about his past and about the horrors endured that you really get to know him. I ended up really liking Gavriel, I loved the development between himself and Tana, and I loved the dangerous side to him, the crazy mixed in with the sane, you just didn’t know which way he would go. In the end Gavriel certainly becomes swoon worthy and my only upset was that we didn’t get to see enough of him with Tana, as I really enjoyed seeing the two of them together; I felt with Tana we were able to see a completely separate side to him again.
The ending to this book was ANOTHER major twist I did not see happening, it all seemed to be going on, but I loved it! I didn’t expect it, and I loved that I found out just as other people did and I had no clue as to what would happen.
I have to say when I started the book I did find it a little slow and I wasn’t sure how I would continue as i was struggling to be sucked in (even with the opening pages being filled with such horror), but then the next thing I knew I couldn’t put it down, and I have no idea where that started but it was still pretty early on in the book. So for the story to develop the further along you go into it, the more hooked you get. So for those who maybe want to start out the book and are finding it a bit slow in the first chapters, it does get better, it is simply scene setting and character building at first. But I can honestly say I really enjoyed this book and I do recommend it to those who love vampire stories, with gore, twists turns and who just love to lose themselves in such a well developed world as that which Holly Black has created.
on 21 September 2014
This book was bloody brilliant! It chucks you straight into the action with a giant teenage massacre (no big deal…) and from then on the action/tension/drama/every other type of greatness doesn’t let up. It had me hooked from the start with its incredibly dark atmosphere; add in merciless, vicious, deranged and good old bloodthirsty vampires and I couldn’t put it down. They’re not Twilight’s Cullen family that’s for sure.
Holly Black wrote vampires like you’re supposed to; I’m not criticising other vampire books, but these are the real deal which we learnt about as kids to scare us into behaving properly. Of course you have the occasional odd one, but it all works into the bigger picture. The society created was really interesting and while there was the occasional lull because of background knowledge it was still interesting so I tip my imaginary hat to Holly Black.
She even managed to add a romance that I admit I didn’t expect to play out quite like it did. You never knew exactly what either Tana or Gavriel meant with the way they acted and Gavriel is simply confusing. He’s the dark and misunderstood (but not in a cheesy way, nothing about him or their relationship was cheesy) ancient vampire who’s barely survived this long. Tortured to the point of madness I didn’t expect any compassion from him, so when he protected Tana and showed his human side I couldn’t help but love him. And I don’t want to spoil anything, but that final scene… aargh I can’t even… b-e-a-utiful.
I loved just about everything in this book and I definitely recommend, along with all of Holly Black’s other work. Her talent for storytelling is undeniable and I can’t wait to read more from her.
Posted on: http://enchantedbyya.blogspot.co.uk/
on 13 August 2014
Despite owning a copy of The Coldest Girl in Coldtown by Holly Black for a very long time, I didn't read this book until very recently. I had my doubts about the vampires and the thought that this possibly wouldn't be the most original story, and if I'm honest, I was put off a little bit by the size of this book at over 400 pages.
Once I sat down with The Coldest Girl in Coldtown, I found myself being sucked in almost effortlessly by this story. That first chapter really surprised me. It was dark and violent and it went places that shocked me. And similarly, I quite liked the way the story ended as well, though I can see that it could make some people feel a little frustrated.
This story is set in America at a time when vampirism has spread like crazy. In order to combat the spread of vampires and to protect humans, Coldtowns were created. These are walled cities in which vampires live and are meant to keep them in. Once you enter a Coldtown, you're not to leave. Coldtowns also have become reality TV sets as people are so fascinated and intrigued by vampires and are desperate to know what's going on in them.
The main character of this story, Tana, wakes up from a party only to find out that there has been a massacre and everyone at the party except for her and her ex-boyfriend have been slaughtered by vampires. It's all a little bit tense getting out, but she manages to save herself, her ex, AND a vampire and goes on this journey towards the nearest Coldtown.
I thought Holly Black brought us some incredibly interesting characters in this story, characters that I really wanted to know more about. I liked the main character, Tana, even if I didn't always fully understand her decisions or motivations. My favourite thing about her was her relationship with her little sister and how much Tana wanted to protect her. I also found it interesting to see some of Tana's flashbacks and memories of what happened with her mother.
Along the way to the Coldtown, Tana not only spends time with Aidan, her sweet but exasperating ex, and Gavriel, this mysterious vampire but also comes across other fab characters. Midnight and Winter, brother and sister, are vampire-wannabes who are heading to Coldtown hoping to be infected and turned and to broadcast their experiences on their website. I liked that there was not only revulsion and fascination shown towards vampires but also this obsessive longing from some characters. In fact, the entire mythology of Holly Black's vampires was very interesting and it gave it a new twist.
My only criticism of this book is that there are all of these great characters populating the story and unfortunately, I didn't really felt the connection that they had with each other. There's a lot of backstory told between Tana and Aidan's previous relationship and a lot of build-up of tension and feelings between Tana and Gavriel and I just didn't believe in it throughout. In fact, towards the end, several key players start dying and doing shocking things and I felt slightly distanced from these events. I thought the action was exciting and the pace was fairly quick for a book of this length and, like I said, I loved the characters. I just didn't quite feel the friendships or romance at all. Despite all of this, I shall definitely be picking up more stories by Holly Black...