Title: The Coldest Girl in Coldtown
Author: Holly Black
Series: Standalone (for now)
Publisher: Little Brown Books
Publication Date: 9-3-13
Genre: Young Adult, Paranormal
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.
I went into this book with really high expectations, but was pretty disappointed by it in the end. Although Holly Black’s writing itself is good, and it starts off with so much potential, I was left with a feeling of aimlessness, and wished that more had been done with the unique premise behind this novel.
After hearing so many people rave about this book, I was very excited to start reading something that I was sure would become an instant favorite. But I’m sad to say that I didn’t enjoy this one nearly as much as I thought I would.
The first chapter was kick-ass. The Coldest Girl in Coldtown started off with a bang and was full of potential. The main character, Tana, wakes up at a party to discover that vampires have broken into the house during the night, and she needs to escape. I felt just like the protagonist during this chapter…full of anticipation and fear.
But, as the book continues, the story quickly descends from the climax of the first scene into slow-paced, plotless info-dumping galore. While what is happening in the story is somewhat interesting, and the idea behind the book is impressively unique, I eventually started to wonder what the whole point of it all was and why, 100 pages later, nothing really seemed to have happened.
There isn’t much character development — some of the characters are downright annoying and completely one-dimensional — and the story just kind of…ends. There isn’t much of a resolution, and you’re left wondering why the most interesting parts of the story weren’t dealt with further (i.e. Aidan’s character in general, Tana’s relationship with Gavriel, and Tana’s Coldness). Supposedly this is a standalone, but as such, ends confusingly.
Don’t get me wrong. Parts of this book were amazing…mostly Gavriel, the story behind Tana’s mother, and the opening scene. And I really enjoyed Black’s use of language — I found a lot of passages in this book that I wanted to highlight and save. But the rest of it falls short and was incredibly lackluster. I’m disappointed that this book wasn’t as good as its potential suggested.