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Customer Review

2.0 out of 5 stars YA vampires in a predictable plot, 15 Sept. 2013
This review is from: The Coldest Girl in Coldtown (Paperback)
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When a rogue vampire causes the vampire infection to spread unchecked around the world, America has confined vampires and the infected (who are known as "going Cold") to Coldtowns - sealed towns that draw uninfected humans to them thanks to the live internet and TV feeds showing glamorous parties and the excitement of immortality. Any vampires found outside Coldtown can either be killed on sight by vampire hunters or dragged back to Coldtown for a marker that can be used to release any uninfected person.

17-year-old Tana wakes from a sundown party to discover that vampires have killed the other party-goers and the only other survivors are her ex boyfriend, Aidan, and a vampire boy called Gavriel who's totally insane. Together they head to the nearest Coldtown, picking up en route twin teen bloggers Midnight and Winter who are determined to become vampires before they fall old. Once in Coldtown Tana discovers the grime beneath the glamour and the hideous truth of the parties held by the seductive vampire Lucien Moreau. Somehow, she must find a way to escape before she too becomes infected with the virus and escape becomes impossible ...

Holly Black's YA dark fantasy standalone novel has some great world building and takes vampire mythology back to its monstrous origins but the plot is predictable, the central romance rather by-the-numbers and the main character unconvincing.

The big problem for me is that Tana's reactions throughout the book don't ring true, most notably her failure to call anyone after the sundown incident. I didn't buy into her attraction to the clearly loony Gavriel (whose mannered eccentricity grated on me very quickly) and his attraction to her was flimsy. I did enjoy her complicated relationship with Aidan and was disappointed that he largely disappears for the final half of the book.

Black (as ever) excels with the gothic imagery and I loved the vampire parties, especially the chilling willingness of humans to attach tubes to themselves to allow vampires to drink their blood. I also love the way she takes vampires back to their basics and weaves in the infection elements. However there's a depressing predictability to the plot, with every twist being telegraphed in advance. I usually enjoy Black's work but this book really didn't do it for me.
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