2 stars · 2013 · paranormal · ya

The Coldest Girl in Coldtown by Holly Black

Title: The Coldest Girl in Coldtown
Author: Holly Black (website | twitter)
Pub. Date: September 3, 2013
Source: ARC
Summary: 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.

One morning, after a perfectly ordinary party, Tana wakes up surrounded by corpses. The only other survivors of this massacre are her exasperatingly endearing ex-boyfriend, infected and on the edge, and a mysterious boy burdened with a terrible secret. Shaken and determined, Tana enters a race against the clock to save the three of them the only way she knows how: by going straight to the wicked, opulent heart of Coldtown itself.
Genre: YA, Paranormal

For many bloggers – myself included – The Coldest Girl in Coldtown was one of 2013’s most anticipated releases. Seriously, read over that summary again. Sounds awesome, right? Unfortunately, this was a case where the idea was way better than its execution. I’ve come to dub this the Matthew Pearl Effect after the author Matthew Pearl whose books all sound FANTASTIC, but trick me every single time. A.E. Rought’s Broken suffers from this as well. Sadly it looks as though The Coldest Girl in Coldtown is the latest victim of the MP Effect.

Tana’s world is very similar to ours but with the addition of vampires and secured cities called Coldtowns. These Coldtowns are a prison sentence for the humans living inside – there’s no way to get out. Once you’re inside a Coldtown, you’re inside for good. With popular livefeeds and reality shows vampires have reached celebrity status and many humans are actively looking to become infected and turn Cold. The idea of living forever and attending the Eternal Ball is all too glamorous to pass up.

What started as a normal house party quickly turns into a nightmare after Tana wakes to discover a bloodbath – literally. Blood paints the walls, the floors, flies have already started making their move. After discovering her ex-boyfriend chained to a bed and a chained-up vampire on the floor, Tana makes a decision to save them both. Soon the three are making their way to the closest Coldtown and Tana slowly comes to terms with the possibility of not only being infected, but also never seeing her family again.

This review is hard for me to write and I’ve been struggling to get my thoughts down. To be honest, not a whole lot happened in this book. I usually get through a book in two days – a single sitting if it’s extremely entertaining. With Coldtown I spent a WEEK chugging away, slowly getting nowhere. How could a vampire story be so boring?

Admittedly there were some really interesting ideas presented like the turning process and the Coldtowns themselves. Everything else seemed to bog down the story with unneeded details and derails. Certain chapters felt as through they were thrown in as an afterthought – there was simply no organization or reasoning to some scenes.

One thing that struck me as odd throughout the novel were the many references to sites like Twitter, Flickr, and Youtube. While it works today, I’m worried that The Coldest Girl in Coldtown will feel terribly dated in a few years.

I had extremely high hopes not only for this book, but for Holly Black. This was my first novel of hers and I had been hearing wonderful things about her work for years. While I’m not ready to pass judgement on her just yet, I think it’ll certainly be a while before I pick up another book. As for The Coldest Girl in Coldtown, it will certainly have its readers. Unfortunately, its target audience was not me.

I received a copy of this book in exchange for my honest opinion.

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

  1. I totally agree with your review, Leah! This was pretty disappointing for me too, and it’s such a shame, as it sounded like it really could have been good. I also felt like not much happened in this book. Another blogger mentioned that this initially started off as a short story, so I wonder if that’s why? Sorry that it didn’t work for you either, but I hope your next read is more satisfying. :)

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