The Coldest Girl in Coldtown – Holly Black
Indigo (an Imprint of Orion Children’s)
Vampires aren’t usually my thing and I have managed to avoid all the Twilight, True Blood hybrids but I do have a soft spot for vampires with a twist, something which sets them apart from the mundane, everyday bloodsucker. Thus I enjoyed Justin Cronin’s Passage series and there’s a little spark in this latest YA novel from Holly Black which stirred my interest.
Holly Black injects vitality into her story with the concept of Coldtowns – walled cities where humans and vampires co-exist in a world which is simultaneously glamorous and grotesque. Here, vampires are lauded and treated like A-Listers with their debauchery streamed to the outside world 24/7. Tana finds herself thrust into this seedy world when she is scratched by a vampire and she decides to face a period of quarantine in Coldtown rather than endanger her friends and family. She is accompanied by her ex, Aidan, a rather unpredictable vampire, Gavriel and a couple of hangers on. The story revolves around their experiences in Coldtown.
The world-building is extremely accomplished and it is a breath of fresh air for YA vampire literature but unfortunately the emphasis on back story and information leads to a rather slow pace. There are some fabulous descriptive scenes where the author captures the true gore of the vampire society but I found the characters less engaging. Tana and Aidan seem quite one-dimensional with Gavriel provoking some interest with his mysterious background covering centuries.
I’m not sure if this is the beginning of a series or not. As a series opener it’s not a bad start but as a stand-alone it left me quite cold…