The Coldest Girl in Coldtown by Holly Black 

I bought this because of the cover when I was on holiday last year, but forgot about it until I saw it on my shelves a couple of weeks ago.  And how brilliant is the name? It made my husband laugh, but I don’t care.

On the back cover it says Coldtowns are where humans and “monsters” are quarantined; they’re vampires. I suppose technically vampires are monsters, but it seems a bit coy, which this book definitely isn’t.  The only reason I can think of for the omission is that vampires aren’t trendy anymore. Personally I love a good vampire book.

From the blurb:


Coldtown was dangerous, Tana knew. A glamorous cage. A prison for the damned and anyone who wanted to party with them.

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. It’s an eternal party, shown on TV twenty-four hours a day – gorgeous, glamorous, deadly!

The problem is, once you pass through Coldtown’s gates, you can never leave . ..

The story begins with the main protagonist Tana coming to in a bathroom, after passing out at a party. She’s hungover, embarrassed and thinking over her actions the night before with lots of shame and regret. I’m sure we’ve all been there… Straight away this is very different from the usual YA novel.

Tana is 17, has a difficult relationship with her family and a violent past. She came to the party to save face in front of her bisexual and manipulative, but charming, ex-boyfriend Aidan, who likes to dare her to act as outrageously as possible.

Tana is considering her behaviour the night before and wondering why no one woke her up when she realises that everyone is dead.

From the state of the bodiesTana knows that her friends were all killed by vampires, and that there is a possibility that the vampires are still in the house

She goes into the next room to look for weapons, to find Aidan alive but tied to the bed, next to a Vampire restrained with iron chains. When Tana goes to free Aidan the vampire warns her not to; Aidan has been infected and tries to bite Tana. In this universe all it takes is one bite to become a Vampire.  Once bitten a person goes “cold” – they are literally cold and will become ravenous for human blood, turning on friends and loved ones. Once they have drank enough human blood the cold person will die and rise as a vampire. However if they can fight the impulses, they can fight off the infection and survive, but it takes 88 days of cold turkey.

Anyone infected or potentially infected must go to a Coldtown, a quarantined city for vampires. Once you’ve passed the gates you can never leave. These cities are monitored by cameras whose footage is broadcast to the population as entertainment . Vampirism is seen as glamorous, and seduces many people to give up their lives to move to a Coldtown, in the hope of attaining everlasting life.

Tana decides to try to save Aidan, but the vampires who attacked the party are still there and have an agenda.  Tana grabs Aidan and the vampire, Gavriel, and tries to make it to the nearest Coldtown before it’s too late to save her friend.

I thought this book would be terrible, but I was very pleasantly surprised. The heroine was strong, decisive and loyal to her friends. She wasn’t squeamish about hurtung people to protect her loved ones.The plot twisted a few times, which kept me on my toes. The secondary characters were well written. I loved the world Black built, and the idea of vampirism as an infection that could be fought. The way the public reacted to vampires in this novel was really realistic.

This felt like a gothic novel, even though it was set in modern times. Each chapter started with a quote about death from a famous philosopher, poet, or novelist.  The whole thing was really not what I expected and I highly recommend it.

I’m really hoping for a sequel.

Let me know your thoughts in the comments below.

Cheerio!

Stephanie Xxx

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

  1. This book sounds so interesting! Though I wonder why they didn’t just call the monsters vampires in the first place if they were going to do it in the book, haha. I’m not a huge fan of vampires, but the premise of this is unique enough that I’d read it. I’m glad to hear that you ended up enjoying it – I think I’d enjoy the gothic feel too; not all books get that right. 🙂

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    1. It’s honestly so good, and really gripping. I love that the protagonist is the some shy little innocent girl, and that she doesn’t hesitate to do what she has to to save her loved ones. The author has said that she is planning to do a sequel at some point. So yay.

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