Book Review: The Coldest Girl in Coldtown by Holly Black

The Coldest Girl in Coldtown - Holly Black

The Coldest Girl in Coldtown. You are lying if you tell me that that title doesn’t intrigue you even just a little, and you are lying even more if you say that that cover doesn’t tickle your morbid curiosity. Those two factors are what made me want to read this book so, so bad, I could literally feel my hands itching for it. It had been a long time since I’ve read a good vampire novel and I wanted this book to break that dry spell. Sadly, it didn’t.

The plot revolves around Tana, a 17 year old girl living in a world where vampires exist and are contained in a Coldtown, walled cities within cities that housed the living dead. One morning after a party, she wakes up to find her friends bluish pale and drained of blood, all of them dead except her ex-boyfriend who was infected and chained in the guestroom with a manacled and mysterious-looking vampire boy at the foot of the bed. Unable to stomach the thought of leaving them in the mercy of the vampires who killed her friends, Tana gets them out of the house and drives them into Coldtown.

If you guys have read any of my reviews before, you would know how particular I am when it comes to characterization. I want my characters well-rounded and multi-faceted because that’s one of the biggest factors that makes a great book for me. But despite the backstory and the constant insight into Tana’s thoughts in the narrative, she felt flat to me as a character and I found her personality quite boring. She was projected as the guilty daughter who was responsible for her mother’s vampirism and death, and that played a big part into wanting to save Aidan and Gavriel, but other than that, she’s really dull. Even her bouts of bravery seem to come out of nowhere, like they’re being pulled randomly out of a box.

The most outstanding character for me is Gavriel. Oh dear Lord, he’s the exact personification of my weakness. I have this personality quirk where I am helplessly attracted to damaged, unpredictable, and potentially insane people. Gavriel are those things exactly, not to mention mysteriously sexy. He has a very good backstory that supports his brand of madness, and it makes him a shade or two more vivid than the other characters in this book. I particularly enjoyed scenes involving him, and even though Tana’s impression on me was weak at best, I have to admit that she and Gavriel have that slow burning chemistry form their very first scene together. To be honest, Gavriel was the only reason I read until the end, and if he isn’t so insanely sexy, I would have dnf-ed this early on.

In terms of plot, The Coldest Girl in Coldtown could have done better. It was basically non-existent until 60% in the book, and the story was so very dragging at times. There were lots of unnecessary scenes that didn’t move the plot along at all, plus the irritating transition of flashbacks to present. It just wasn’t smoothly done and it disturbs the flow of the story. It felt like they were just inserted there without much thought on how it would affect the continuation of each chapter. Think of road blocks that you have to go around so you could drive at your regular speed. Think of road blocks that pop up several times. It gets annoying, really, and coupled with the author’s inconsistent writing style, it made my head hurt a little.

But despite being practically plotless and having bumpy transitions, I would still have to commend Black for creating a breed of vampires with a different mechanism on vampirism. The way of turning was unique and the vampiric lifestyle was interesting, although they largely stayed true to the mythical cannon. There was also that great realistic feel because of the mentions of things that we currently have and enjoy in real life, like Tumblr, for example. That fangirls are gif-ing the famous vamps is something that’s entirely plausible if we ever have the vamp problem. I could actually imagine it, and that’s just creepy. I also liked the gory details of this book, and Holly Black does those parts extremely well, plus the parts that involve ass-kicking. Those were pretty good, too.

Unfortunately, the good parts weren’t enough for me to get over the bad ones. I was hugely disappointed by this book, and maybe that’s because I was expecting too much out of it, but I also didn’t foresee how low it would fall from those expectations. Nonetheless, it was scary in its own way, and fans of horror, paranormal, and vampire novel aficionados might like it better than I did.