Review: The Coldest Girl in Coldtown by Holly Black

The Coldest Girl in Coldtown / Holly Black

How many vampire fiction books does one need?  Not enough apparently.  The YA community is experiencing an influx of dystopian stories but vampires and other creatures of the night still haunt the shelves.  This one has a whole town of them.

I stumbled upon this book while perusing “year end” book lists.  I’ve seen this multiple times in “best YA of 2013” and “notable YA books of 2013”.  Once again, I’m trying to warm up to the young adult genre so I went out and got this book.  All the blurbs and mini reviews sang its praises and it did look promising.

Sadly, it didn’t live up to the hype.  At least, to me.  The idea is original… when you are bit by a vampire, you become “infected”.  For you to turn into a vampire, you have to drink human blood after you’re infected.  If you do not want to become a vampire, you go and isolate yourself, preferably in one of these “Coldtown” communities where the infected, the normal people, and vampire co-exist.  Wait ~88 days for the infection to leave your body and then you’ll be normal again.  Eh, it’s a little complicated but I’ll take it, whatever.

We are introduced to Tana, your typical rebellious teen with all the dark clothes and body art.  She wakes up from either a high or being flatout drunk from a party the night before finding that all her “friends” are dead.  Except for her ex-boyfriend, Aidan, and this mysterious guy named Gavriel.  Both of them are tied up.  And oh yeah, Aidan is infected and Gavriel is a vampire.  The most practical thing to do is run away, right?  Well, Tana rescues them and takes them to Coldtown, sort of getting infected in the process.  On their way to Coldtown, they pick up the twins, Midnight and Winter, who actually want to become vampires.  At this point, I thought to myself, “What am I getting myself into?”

But I soldiered on and eventually got to the Coldtown parts.  The journey to Coldtown draaaaged.  I had a cold (hah, lol) when I read this so at first, I attributed the boredom to being sick.  But even when I got better, it still was so wordy and slightly boring.  I lost my interest faster than it hooked me.  By the time I decided to give up, I had less than 20% of reading left.  Towards the end, I was skimming the page because my eyes were glazing over.

The writing was choppy and slow.  The first part dragged so much while the second part was all over the place.  I did not like it at all and it was one of the reasons why I just didn’t want to continue.  But I wanted to know about Gavriel and all those other vampires so I continued.  Humans and Cold people be damned.  Tana was so bland.  She wasn’t terrible but there wasn’t enough in her character that pulled me in and made me sorry for her.  I did like Gavriel and his scenes were the only ones that saved this book for me.

I’m no stranger to vampire fiction, both from the YA and adult contemporary genre.  I’ve read some good ones (Pretty When She Dies by Rhiannon Frater, anyone?) and just stupidly popular ones (there was a time when I loved the Sookie Stackhouse series). How did this land on so many “best” lists?  No offense, the book wasn’t horrible by any means but it wasn’t the best either.  Not by a long shot.  If this was “the best” YA vampire fiction of 2013, well then…

Rating: 2/5.  I’ve read better.

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3 thoughts on “Review: The Coldest Girl in Coldtown by Holly Black

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