Book Review: The Coldest Girl in Coldtown

Posted August 13, 2015 by Pixie in book review, Lyn, Pixie / 8 Comments

Book Review: The Coldest Girl in ColdtownThe Coldest Girl in Coldtown by Holly Black
Published by Hachette, Little Brown on September 3rd 2013
Genres: dystopia, Dystopian, fantasy, horror, paranormal, post apocalyptic, romance, romantic suspense, young adult
Pages: 432
Format: Paperback
Source: Purchased

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.

Last week, Lyn and I read The Coldest Girl in Coldtown… well, it was a re-read for me, and I happily pushed Lyn to read it finally. 😛

Pixie: I’ll kick this off since it’s a re-read for me!

This wasn’t your first Holly Black book, so you can at least say that now. Did you have a better experience with this one, Lyn?

Lyn: I have such an odd relationship with Holly Black. I love her concepts and her world building. Her urban paranormal and fantasy books are always just a work of art. Her imagination is just out of this world. However, I cannot ever STAND her characters. The “devil may care party for the sake of something to do” attitude quickly wears down my tolerance pretty quickly.

Pixie: Ah I gotcha! I can say this: re-reading has helped in some ways. I caught things about characters I feel like I may have missed the first time, especially since I read through the text much slower this time around, too. But I still loved the context of the story and the details just as much as the first round!

Lyn: I really wish the book had been more about the vampires than Tana. I just…never really cared for her. I loved Gavriel and Lucien, but the humans annoyed me to no end. Has the story changed for you at all? Did you find some things better/worse?

Pixie: I found Tana annoying this time. Like… she made some pretty stupid decisions at times. Okay, I get she was just a kid at the very beginning with her mom and that was kind of a logical thing a kid might do… but with the party scene?? Why worry about her boots? Just get the hell out if you know you need to. What an idiotic thing. LOL. I don’t know how I really missed that before. I see why the humans annoyed you. :p

Lyn: I could have excused her actions, because she was suffering from PTSD. I felt that she had a reason. But after a while….she just seemed less and less intelligent. Like her IQ was at 50 or something. She was blandly stupid. I never saw the wit or the sarcasm in her. I just saw someone who stumbled through life. Letting her boyfriend treat her like that and thinking it was a game? Not questioning free housing in the middle of hell on Earth? Not picking up on the vibes of some highly selfish people?? There was too much. She wasn’t even interesting. She was honestly a main character vessel – she hardly could carry the story.

Pixie: I liked her at times and could see her potential, mostly when she showed her care toward Aiden (her ex), despite her anger. She knew what her mother had went through and tried to get him to fight it. I thought that showed some character. Too bad he was not great in the character department- but also yay for no love triangle or anything along those lines. I do think the book would’ve worked much better from Gavriel’s POV… but then it would’ve been called Coldest Guy.

Lyn: I felt NOTHING for Aiden. I didn’t give two damns about him. That didn’t help the situation at all in the book. Maybe it would have been different if I had cared, but messing up a girl’s head just for the sake of it? Psychopath. Undiagnosed mental issues.

I really think that is my biggest problem when it comes to Black’s characters. They’re way too broken and hurt and mean and special. They range in the manic zone. I wish she had toned down her humans a bit more. They were just as flamboyant as the vampires, so therefore, the paranormal creatures lost some of their sparkle (please excuse the pun). And I would have totally been okay with Coldest Guy in Coldtown. Maybe the story could have been about Elizabet?

Pixie: I completely agree. There are times when it’s hard to tell the humans between the vampires because of the personalities (haha *sparkle*) and no real stand-out of the character. I as the reader should be able to tell which one is human and which is vampire, besides a general description.

What did you think of the vampire mythos in this story? Did you think it was a bit too predictable/overused? Or something different?

Lyn: I LOVED it! I really love it when humans have to live side-by-side with some infection or dangerous people. The Coldtown idea was brilliant. I LOVED the book when they got behind the fence. I wanted more vampires, and more examples of people living in constant fear of these creatures. That part was great. That was also my appeal with The Darkest Part of the Forest. I love paranormal and normal people having to live side by side. That is always a weak spot of mine.

Pixie: ME TOO. That is my favorite part of the book also! 🙂 I thought the virus/infection thing wasn’t entirely uncommon, but Black did a tremendous job in detailing her world and the world-building. I just really wanted MORE also.

Lyn: Living in a world where you have to warn kids about vampires? Government involvement? Vampire “camps” to place these people out of harm’s way, instead of just outright killing them? This is such a rich world, and it seemed to me that one story was not enough to hold it.

Pixie: Exactly. I really hope she plans a sequel one day. And if she does, I’ll be the first one to grab that up!

Lyn: Did your rating change?

Pixie: I think I bumped it down from a 5 to a 4, only because of Tana/Aiden issues mostly. Not by much. I still love this book very much though personally. 😀

Lyn: It was a 3 for me. Some of the main characters were bland, but the world building was just wonderful. It was, if nothing else, fun as hell in my head.

Pixie: I’m still glad you enjoyed it and that we read it together! 🙂

Lyn: Hooray for readalongs!


8 responses to “Book Review: The Coldest Girl in Coldtown

  1. This is a great review. I read this earlier this year and loved it. I may have to reread it a bit more. I agree that the world building was AMAZING, but the characters just irked me. The main character drove me crazy with her stupidity. Maybe I loved it so much because of the vampires? I think Gavriel and Lucien were my favorites. Maybe the book would have worked better if it had been written from their POV. That would have been cool to see.
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    • I really would have preferred it from the POV of the vampires. They were beyond fascinating, but the human characters kept stumbling into the storyline and taking it off the track. I kept thinking “GET BACK TO LUCIEN AND GAVRIEL! TO HELL WITH TANA AND ADIAN.”
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