The Coldest Girl in Coldtown

ColdestGirlCover By Holly Black; Published 2013.

I don’t know why this book sounded interesting to me- it’s essentially a young adult paranormal romance novel. But I did read it and I’m glad I did because it was much better than I was expecting.

Here’s the official description:

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.
I’ll be the first to tell you that I hate paranormal romances and I hate them even more in the guise of young adult novels. But here, it works. Holly Black has taken the idea of Twilight and somehow made an intelligent, interesting story.
Here’s what I mean: I imagine everyone knows the story of Twilight by Stephanie Meyer. The human Bella is in love with the vampire Edward, deathless and flawless in every way imaginable. Women everywhere fell madly in love with the book and an intense fan base formed around the stories and the movies. So imagine that was real. Not just that vampires existed, but that thousands of people adored them and wished to be one of them. That is the world that Black has created in this book.
So while I have serious issues with yet another book directed at young women where a romance is one of the major plot lines, I love that Black shows vampires honestly. Yes, they are beautiful and seductive, and yes, it would be nice to be beautiful and powerful and adored. But Black never shys away from showing their monstrous-ness. They murder countless people, their blood lust is uncontrollable, and the longer they are vampires, the less human they become.
And I like Tana too. I can’t say that we would be friends, but she’d be a great companion in a tight spot.

8 thoughts on “The Coldest Girl in Coldtown

  1. When I read the title I remembered the short story it was based on. I think I read it in one of the “Year’s Best Fantasy and Horror” collections by Terri Windling and Ellen Datlow. In the short story I recall the horror was that she had to be worse than the vampires to get what she wanted i.e. the Coldest Girl in Coldtown. I think that short story was written before Twilight. I never made a connection between the two.


    • Mary says:

      Ah, thanks for that bit of history! I knew that the title sounded familiar when I picked it up but I thought that was just from reviews or something. I must have seen or read the original short story at some point.

      I don’t mean to make a dismissive connection between Twilight and this book; I just found it interesting that The Coldest Girl in Coldtown seemed to describe exactly what society would be like if vampires were real, as evidenced by the intense fan frenzy from “Twihards”.


  2. jubilare says:

    Hmm, interesting.


  3. Rob says:

    How much longer do you think this whole vampire/horror motif will continue? Haven’t they wrung the last bit of life out of it yet? (Sorry.)

    You want vampires? Read Anne Rice.


    • Mary says:

      Ha! I hope it won’t last too much longer. But then there’s always the worry of what will replace it? We seem to be at the tail end of the dystopian novels so who knows what fad will catch on next.

      You know, I’ve never actually read Anne Rice. Vampires have always terrified me and seeing some of the movies based on her books when I was probably too young to be watching them scarred me for life I think. I do love the original Dracula by Bram Stoker though! Still one of the scariest novels I’ve ever read.


      • Rob says:

        Forget the movies from her books. Read “Interview With The Vampire” and the other Lestat novels. Rice’s vampires are evil, no doubt, but also incredibly tragic, complex, and deep. Plus Rice is a marvelous writer!


      • Mary says:

        Well, alright! You’ve given me good book suggestions before so I’ll try them!


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