The Coldest Girl in Coldtown by Holly Black

Tana lives in a world where walled cities called Coldtowns exist. In them, quarantined monsters and humans mingle in a decadently bloody mix of predator and prey. The only problem is, once you pass through Coldtown’s gates, you can never leave. Goodreads

coldtown

It’s not often that I read books about vampires anymore. These days, they’re either highly romanticized or bloody thirsty demons – its not often you get to see the in between. We either get Nosferatu or Edward Cullen

disgust

The natural Cullen reaction

After attending a sundown party, Tana wakes to find everyone dead apart from her bitten ex-boyfriend Adrien and a chained up vampire named Gavriel in the corner of a bedroom. Knowing that Adrien will go Cold (a state between human and vampire) and will possibly infect others, Tana decides to get him and the vampire to the nearest Coldtown.

The book cover was what drew me in. It’s simple and compelling. I needed it. I didn’t even read the synopsis past the word ‘quarantined’ and had downloaded it within a minute of coming across Black’s Goodreads profile.

It took me a while to get through this book, mostly because I didn’t have that much spare time that week and also because well, I wasn’t bothered about reading it. I enjoyed it when I did, but nothing drew me back to pick it up. The writing style was fine, but moderately simplistic. I liked Holly Black’s plot structure but it verged on predictable. I’m one of those people who can tell you exactly what’s going to happen from the beginning of a book/episode/film and I will be right 99% of the time, so saying it’s predictable probably isn’t very fair of me. I’m rarely surprised by anything.

After reading the book, I’m not sure that the title fits well enough with the storyline. Tana isn’t a cold person. She isn’t cruel, she isn’t distant. She just is. She takes risks only a warm hearted person would take. More like The Most Pretend Emotionally Distanced Girl in Coldtown. I think Black definitely should have put more thought into the character’s actions to make them comply with the way she wants them to be.

I think the big problem was I didn’t care about the characters. Tana was boring, for lack of a better word. She had no defining personality traits, no depth. All she wanted was to not be a vampire, which isn’t enough incentive for her actions throughout the novel. Adrien was nothing more than the mediocre frat-boy type character. Creepy twins Midnight and Winter, were creepy twins. Gavriel reminded me of a cross between Lestat and the film version of Louis from Interview With the Vampire. They were simply not interesting.

The background characters were the ones I wanted to know more about, forgive me but I don’t remember any names. I’m writing this review two months after I removed the book from my Kindle library. But they are definitely the ones to watch. Plus, there’s a trans character who isn’t demonised. After the devastatingly disappointing A reveal on PLL this season, teen culture definitely needs a trans character who’s not a villain.

Overall, it’s a good book if you don’t take it for anything more than it is. It’s the sort of book I would read on a long haul flight, but nothing something I would get emotionally invested in. TCGIC is a solid 3 1/2 out of 5, if I had to scale it. Not great, but not bad.

 

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