The Coldest Girl in Coldtown
By Holly Black
Expected publication September 3, 2013 by Little, Brown Books for Young Readers
Tana wakes up in a nightmare. After a perfectly normal teenage party, she awakens to a slaughter. Everyone at the party has been killed, except for her and her ex-boyfriend. But she finds him bleeding and tied to a bed, infected with a virus that will turn him Cold. So, Tana's new reality involves finding her way to Coldtown - and hoping to survive.
After devouring the Curse Workers trilogy, I'd consider myself a sort of Holly Black convert. When I heard she had a new novel coming out - and it was about vampires - I was definitely eager to give it a shot. I picked up a galley at ALA Annual in June and promptly devoured it as well.
I do mean that literally - I started reading this as soon as I got my hands on a copy and didn't read anything else until I finished it (woe to the library books I had checked out at the time). There was just something intensely compelling about this novel that made me unable to focus on anything else. I loved that Black created a whole new spin on vampires with this title (though, I should confess at this point that I never read the short story from which this book grew). I really enjoyed the worldbuilding she had going on - the notion of going Cold and having this excruciating period where you could maybe defeat the disease was incredibly fascinating to me. It also drives a huge portion of the plot - Tana's decision to go to the Coldtown even though she doesn't know if she's infected. I really liked this about her, taking responsibility and making tough decisions. It made her even more of a heroine I wanted to root for. I also loved the atmospheric descriptions of the Coldtown itself and the exploration of what those places have become in Tana's society.
I liked Tana. From the moment she wakes up in the middle of a horror movie until the last page, she is consistent and kick-butt. No part of this story is easy for her, but she perseveres and I really enjoyed that. I liked that her backstory is told in bits and pieces. I liked that even in her life before the party massacre she was not your typical girl. I loved her relationship with her ex-boyfriend and her little sister. I loved that she is smart and witty but she is also vulnerable and flawed. She is a really interesting character to follow.
Gavriel - I don't suppose I can write a review without mentioning him, right? I liked the surprise surrounding his character but I felt ambivalent about the other role he plays in the book. I'm not always the biggest fan of romance in my creepy stories and this was one that I could have done without. But, I thought Gavriel was a fun character and did enjoy reading about him.
What else? The ending - loved it. I see some other reviews mention that there will be a sequel. I'm not sure if I'm happy about that. I really liked this ending and don't think a sequel is necessary, but if there is one, I'll probably read it.
Thanks to the publisher for an advance reader's copy.