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.
This is the first of Holly Black’s books that I’ve read. I’ve known of her for a long time, I have a copy of The Spiderwick Chronicles on my shelf but keep saving it for “the right time”, whenever that may be. I loved the sound of The Coldest Girl in Coldtown and the early reviews were great, so my anticipation levels were high when I got stuck in to reading it.
This book is not for the faint hearted. It’s harsh and tough, the world created for the book is ours but with stark, challenging tweaks that make for a brilliantly disturbing read. The opening to the book is really strong, you realise straight away that this book is dark and fully fanged. For me this was a case of instant love, the book grabbed my attention and refused to let go.
The book’s world is built so smoothly, there’s no obvious exposition – so much of it is conveyed subtly which for me made it feel all the more effective. I particularly liked reading about the organisational structures now at work in the world, and about how society had reacted to this new vampiric threat. I’m always fascinated by politics and society in other world structures and this book really does not disappoint on this front.
The characters are written with the same deft hand, every one is so real with no obvious good or bad characters. Instead, there is a continuum on which every character can be placed and every effort is made to understand why characters are the way they are.
It’s a tense read, with some twists and turns that left me gasping. I have a pretty high tolerance for gore so must mention that there were a couple of moments where even I was a little taken aback – I do like it when this happens as it’s an infrequent occurrence.
This is one of those books that makes me want to simply tell everyone to just get and read it. It’s definitely one of those books that needs to unfold at its own pace for the reader, to be too descriptive in this review would be very unfair to anyone wanting to read the book.
I absolutely loved this book and am already looking forward to revisiting it at some point. It’s original and thought provoking, a thoroughly worthwhile read.
The Coldest Girl is published by Indigo Books in paperback and eBook. Whilst my copy was provided by the publisher all opinions expressed are my own.