Saturday, 2 November 2013
Review: The Coldest Girl in Coldtown by Holly Black
Publication Date: September 3rd, 2013
Publisher: Little Brown
Source: Purchased/library audio book
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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 was actually looking forward to this one. I'm relatively new to the Holly Black universe, having only read one other book by her before. And this one promised a creepy vampire book. Plus it's a stand alone. So I was intrigued. And here is the point where you start to lower your expectations. Unfortunately the only thing Coldest Girl did a good job of was putting me to sleep.
I did buy this book, but after getting about 130 pages in I just couldn't continue. I wanted to in the hopes that it would get better, but there are too many other books sitting on my shelves that I would have rather been reading. Than I saw my library had the audio book available, so I went that route. Good news is I listened to the whole recording. Bad news is that was probably not the smartest idea. My ADD definitely kicked in a lot while listening. I missed huge chunks dialogue. I would suddenly go "Oh shit. Right that's still going." Having missed a page or two and than be like "What's going now?" "Whatever. I don't care."
So from what I did hear, this pretty much modern day world is teeming with vampires. Every country deals with their vampire population differently. In America, there's these Coldtowns set up where the vamps live or are sent if caught. Black does do a good job of painting the more shifty side of vampires. These are definitely no tame, ridiculous Twilight vamps. They like their blood, they like their glamorous, partying lifestyles and they know how to get what they want. Black also doesn't hold back on the gory side. There were some gruesome scenes. Which is what I want from a vamp book. They're dead, blood sucking creatures.
What I also found unique is that Black included all different types of relationships from gay to transgender. You sure don't get a lot of that in YA literature. So I applaud her from not shying away from those somewhat more taboo topics.
I did not like any of the characters. Tana especially was super awful. She just did stupid thing after stupid thing. And any time something went her way, it wasn't because she is some strong heroine, it was because of luck and smarter people around her that come to save her ass in the nick of time. I can't think of anything redeeming to say about her. Soooo....
Then we have Gavriel (who I constantly wanted to call Gabriel) an older vampire who was left chained up at the party. Tana helps him escape, so she can take him to the Coldtown and get a bounty for him. Anyhow, Gavriel was somewhat readable. He's obviously got a lot of shit going on, considering he just broke out from being locked up in some cell in Paris for the last ten years. And he wasn't totally as awful as most of the vamps you come across in the book. He has quite a bit of his humanity remaining. He also takes a liking to Tana for some unknown reason I can't fathom. So there's this kind of romance there, but it's not really played up till more at the ending of the book. Which was stupid (that seems to be my word for this book; stupid). By that point I was just like really, we just have to throw in this relationship. Why couldn't you be an atypical YA book that doesn't end in a romance. It was so unnecessary! Guh!
There's a lot of backstory as well. Some on Tana, but a lot more on Gavriel and Lucien (Gavriel's frenemy, who is the main badass of Coldtown). This is where my main zoning out problems caught up to me. I actually did enjoy some of the backstory I caught on Gavriel. But I missed a lot of it. So when they were talking about this Spider character (who I induced is one of the original vamps and everyone is scared of? I could be very wrong) and were setting up plans to betray it (I don't even know if it was a him or her) I had no idea why or what or how or whatever. Because even as lost as I was I just didn't care to go and find out what I was missing. Sadness, I know.
And that ending. Besides the unnecessary romance. It was so ridiculously stupid (my favourite word again!). Needless to say I didn't like it. I don't want to spoil it, but WTF?!
I did think about reading this book again sometime in the future. Maybe if I actually pick up more of the backstory I'd like it more. But probably not. I'm just pretty disappointed. I'll definitely still be picking up more Holly Black titles (I do own White Cat). Just this one obviously didn't work for me.