Review: The Coldest Girl in Coldtown by Holly Black

12813630The Coldest Girl in Coldtown by Holly Black

Published: September 3rd 2013 by Little, Brown Books for Young Readers
Format/Source: Paperback Advanced Reading Copy from BookExpo America
Genre: Young Adult Paranormal
Pages: 419


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.


When you’re drinking a fine wine, you want to take small sips, enjoying the layers of flavor. As tempting as it is to drink many glasses, you try not to overdo it. And yet, sometimes it happens.

I liken my experience of reading The Coldest Girl in Coldtown to drinking that fine wine. Each chapter was a delicious morsel that I was trying to savor before I picked up too much momentum and began tumbling down the stairs. Needless to say, my self-restraint failed after a certain point and I spent most of my weekend finishing the book in newborn vampire hunger.

It had been a while since I had read a vampire story. I think the last one was probably a Charlaine Harris southern vampire novel. That series is great fun but The Coldest Girl in Coldtown definitely had a different vibe to it. There’s nothing quite like a novel beginning with a 30+ teenager massacre and a girl stumbling out of being passed out in the bathtub to discover the entire party’s population dead and drained. It definitely sets the mood for the rest of the story.

There were parts of the novel that I was confused about. Questions where I was wondering if I had skipped a paragraph or something (which I have been known to do by accident). However, most of those questions are answered as the story progresses. Don’t expect everything to be immediately known and understood right away, or even completely after your first read. This is a book that I strongly believe will only grow on me more with a reread. I think I missed some of the carefully laid details that make such a detailed world. I particularly love how the vampires bloat like leeches or ticks after a feeding—it’s those details that make is so much more real and different. Very believable. I also love how it’s basically a pandemic biological disaster—the disaster preparedness part of me found that fascinating.

I do wish the ending was a bit more concrete, but I am okay with it as it is. It leaves it up to your imagination as much as I’m dying for more of this world.

It’s a young adult book, but I really think that if this had been published before that marketing label was so widely used, it would have fit just fine in the science fiction/fantasy/paranormal adult genre. There are really only two factors that make it young adult for me: the age of the protagonist and the lack of sex. Otherwise, it is entirely an adult-styled book.

I really believe that this is a book that will remain on my bookshelf and be read at least once more. I highly recommend this book—particularly to get you in the mood for Halloween!

My rating: 5/5


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