Friday, September 6, 2013

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Title:  The Coldest Girl in Coldtown
Author:  Holly Black
Narrator:  Christine Lakin
Series:  n/a
Length:  12 hrs 6 mins
Publisher:  Hachette Audio
Publication Date:  September 3, 2013
Source:  purchased audio, received from publisher via Netgalley
Purchase:  Amazon | Barnes & Noble | Audible

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.

The Coldest Girl in Coldtown is a wholly original story of rage and revenge, of guilt and horror, and of love and loathing from bestselling and acclaimed author Holly Black.

"If she was going to die, she might as well die sarcastic.  She'd seen a lot of old movies, and that was definitely the way to go out."
Every time I think I'm done with vampire books, my favorite authors pull me back in with their own twist on this paranormal creature.  Unlike The Immortal Rules, which I've seen this book compared to on occasion, The Coldest Girl in Coldtown occurs in a more present-day setting, not years from now when the vampire epidemic has already reduced the human population to nothing.  There are five major Coldtowns set up across the US, where vampires and those who have gone cold -- who've been infected by a vampire's bite -- are sent to spend the rest of their days in order to keep the rest of human civilization safe.  Humans must also take extra precaution after nightfall because all of the usual vampire stigmas are present in this novel: sunlight is a no-no, holy water and stakes will kill them, and, of course, they vant to suck your blooooood.

Anyway, I received a review copy from the publisher, but after enjoying the Curse Workers series on audio so much, I decided to download the audiobook for The Coldest Girl in Coldtown.  A search on Audible showed me that I've never listened to Christine Lakin narrate a novel because this is the only one listed under her name, but I would definitely give future audiobooks narrated by her a chance.  She presented Tana in such a matter-of-fact way, much the way I envisioned her:  direct and to the point.

Tana's situation is very different.  She's been bitten before and survived.  So when an attack at a sundown party -- which sounds like a terrible idea to me, when vampires are running rampant -- results in a small bite on her leg, she has faith that she can fight the infection again.  I rather love the self-deprecating character, the one who's humble and never gives up no matter how the odds are stacked against them. Much like Cassel Sharpe in the Curse Workers series taking on ruthless mobsters, Tana ends up taking on some of the most powerful vampires she could ever cross paths with.

The Coldest Girl in Coldtown is Tana's journey to the Coldtown in Springfield.  She hopes to wait out the infection there, along with her ex-boyfriend Aidan who has gone cold after the attack at the same party where Tana was infected.  Along the way, they meet a vampire and an amateur blogger/filmmaker brother and sister duo, all headed in the same direction.  It was the vampire Gavriel that captivated me the most. Give this girl a hottie with a Russian accent, especially one who seems to be channeling Dimka, and you have a fan for life.  (Not that I wasn't already a super fan of Black's other work.)

I loved the background we get on each of the characters as the story progresses, though I did wish this information would have been provided as dialogue between characters rather than flashbacks.  Whenever one of these flashbacks would occur, the transition between character perspectives was hard to decipher on the audio without some sort of heading preceding them.  Though, that's not to say that these flashbacks didn't provide valuable insight into the characters and their motivations.  I could have done without Pearl as a character on the whole, but her presence was necessary in order for that ending to play out the way it did. And so I can also see why it was necessary to include her present-day perspective at times, despite how boring it might have been.  I just didn't much care for what was going on outside of Coldtown at the time.

I was pleasantly surprised by that ending.  It wasn't perfect, but it was fitting for these particular characters.  I really hope this remains a stand-alone.  I'm left with a sense of satisfaction that I read another vampire book that might just revitalize this overdone creature and make me love vampires again.  Maybe.  For now, I like that this book showed both sides of vampires:  sexy and glamorous but also dangerous and sadistic.  In other words, fun to read about, but I hope I never truly cross paths with one.

Rating:   photo 4-1.png

About the author:

Holly Black is a best-selling author of contemporary fantasy novels for kids, teens, and adults. She is the author of the Modern Faerie Tale series (Tithe, Valiant, and Ironside), The Spiderwick Chronicles (with Tony DiTerlizzi), and The Good Neighbors graphic novels (with Ted Naifeh), The Poison Eaters and Other Stories, a collection of short fiction, and The Curse Worker series (White Cat, Red Glove, and Black Heart). She is also the co-editor of three anthologies, Geektastic (with Cecil Castellucci), Zombies vs. Unicorns (with Justine Larbalestier), and Welcome to Bordertown (with Ellen Kushner). Her most recent works are the middle grade novel, Doll Bones, and the dark fantasy stand-alone, The Coldest Girl in Coldtown.

She lives in Massachusetts with her husband, Theo, in a house with a secret library.

Find Holly:

Website | BlogTwitter | Goodreads | Facebook | PinterestTumblr


  1. I haven't read a vampire book before, but roll my eyes every time I see a new book that hops on the bandwagon. HOWEVER, this one sounds really good! I'm happy you liked it! And that first quote you put in really sucked (HAHA didn't even mean to do that until after I typed it) me in. :)

  2. I've been trying to steer clear of vampire books also but I HAVE to read this one. The cover made me want to get my hands on it all on its own. It's gorgeous!!! Awesome review! Glad u liked it :)

    Crystal @ Crystal in Bookland

  3. Thanks for the review. I enjoy Holly's books and figured this would be good too. Thank you.

  4. I read the short story in Holly's collection of short stories(boy, that sure is redundant) several years ago. And then remember reading somewhere that she decided to do a full length book. Great review, as always!

  5. This sounds like a good book, and there are actually standalone vampires stories? Even better. I love when an audiobook narrator matches the character.

  6. Oh I am so excited for this one. I have the audio coming up. I love Holly Black. she is coming to Austin Teen Book Festival. Are you?

  7. I really enjoyed this one as well! I agree that the every other chapter of background information was interesting, but also slowed down the pacing of the entire novel. Not sure how that could have worked differently though. And I was surprised at how much I loved the end. I know this is supposed to be a standalone, and I hope it stays that way. That way we can each make our own mind up about what happens. Oh and I loved this romance. It was pretty hot, though no clothes came off ;).

  8. I'm thinking this is a must listen in October.

  9. And that is just the way I like it! Vampires are the way they should be, dangerous and deadly. I loved the story and the main character, Tana, was strong, loyal and committed to doing the right thing no matter where it got her. The ending was good but I would have liked a bit more. Perhaps a short story or sequel to let people know for sure.
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