Long time, no blog! I’ve been taking a break from book blogging this winter as it was my last, true winter break as a student! I was truly thankful to have some time to spend on family and leisurely pursuits. And now, I think it is time for me to return to the blogosphere. First up, I will write about Holly Black’s amazing The Coldest Girl in Coldtown, which I read all the way back in November.
I was particularly excited to read this book after hearing Holly Black speak at Austin Teen Book Festival, and read some of her vampire-related juvenalia in front of us! And when I was finally able to read it, it didn’t disappoint (I have yet to read anything by Holly Black that does).
The Coldest Girl in Coldtown is not your typical teenage, vampire romance. It is so much more. Tana is a teenage girl with a somewhat monstrous past who tries to live a normal life, but wakes up to a nightmare. Tana’s world is the same as our own, only vampirism isn’t a myth, but a very real, infectious disease. Quarantined cities called “Coldtowns” exist where vampires, and those newly infected, must live. And just like our world, humans are obsessed with vampires. From Coldtowns come live feeds (pun intended), reality TV shows, internet GIFs of specific vampires. Now Tana, who has been bitten, must flee to one of the Coldtowns with unlikely traveling companions Gavriel (a half-mad, half-brilliant, enigmatic vampire), her ex-boyfriend who is infected and thirsting for blood, and two runaway teens obsessed with vampirism.
There are two things I instantly loved about The Coldest Girl in Coldtown:
1. It has the rich, dark world of vampirism and Holly Black’s writing is so suited for this subject that I’m surprised she hasn’t published more vampire novels in the past.
2. It had vampires. It had teens. But folks, this was no Twilight Saga.
Gavriel might be tortured and smexy (perhaps even more tortured than smexy), but he is no sparkly Edward Cullen. His mind has been bent and broken by pain and he is now hell bent on revenge. Tana is no Bella either. She has one purpose in mind: the survive and outlive the infection inside her bloodstream, to not become Cold like her mother. Tana and Gavriel’s story of survival amidst a chilling, violent atmosphere was immensely compelling to read. Another aspect I like about this novel is that although there is a thread of romance, this is not at all a traditional vampire romance novel. It is about the impact of social media, of violent imagery, that inundates our everyday lives. Monstrous, horrid things happen within the Coldtowns, and yet those on the outside who are watching can’t seem to get enough. The myth of vampirism has always held an intense, morbid fascination with the world and I love that Holly Black wrote a novel that asks–and if it were real, would our world really be different at all?
As a side note, I found this Huffington Post interview with Holly Black to be very interesting, and think you would too (especially if you’ve read the book).