Let me first start out by saying that I know there’s a certain stigma against vampire novels ever since the Twilight hype blew up in around 2009. I know, trust me, even though back then, I was one of those Twilight lovers (and still kind of am, to a certain extent). I hadn’t picked up a vampire book since. However, a few months ago I was in Books-A-Million, and The Coldest Girl in Coldtown by Holly Black was on sale for $3.97. The cover was intriguing, it had decent reviews on Goodreads, and the description seemed interesting enough that I wanted to read it. So I bought it, not really having many expectations, but willing to give it a chance even though vampire novels aren’t really my go-to when reading for fun.
Now, after staying up to 3 a.m. to finish reading this novel, I’m so glad that I purchased it that day. It was the most incredible vampire novel that I’ve ever read to date.
When I first started the book, I noticed some vampire similarities, such as newborn vampires are incredibly thirsty—so much so that they can’t control it, and they usually end up attacking someone from the bloodthirstiness and the smell of blood coursing through a human’s veins. Also, being a vampire was seen as sort of glamorous to outsiders, and even to some vampires themselves. However, that was about as far as the similarities ran.
Here’s a summary. In the world of this novel, vampires are well-known in their existence. Some fear them, some love them. No matter your feelings about them, though, they exist heavily, and most of them exist in places across the world called Coldtowns. However, some run rampant and cause massive destructions in normal towns.
Many people in this universe are infected, meaning they are bitten by a vampire. When they’re infected, they can either feed on a human’s blood and be fully turned into a vampire, or they can sweat out the infection for eighty eight days and live their lives as normal humans. However, most people don’t sweat out the infection. The bloodthirstiness overcomes them and they go mad with thirst. Once a person goes Cold (gets infected), they barely ever return to a normal human.
Tana wakes up after a night of hard partying with her fellow classmates. However, when she wakes up, she notices that everyone at the party is dead (who have been sucked dry by vampires) with the exception of her ex-boyfriend Aidan, who has been infected and is tied up on a bed. Next to him, tied up in chains, is a vampire named Gavriel, who Tana fears but weirdly trusts, despite his status as a “monster” (he didn’t kill all of her classmates). Gavriel implies that the Thorn of Istra and his group is after him, and Tana wanting to save her ex-boyfriend from becoming a vampire, helps both of them escape. They then begin their adventure to the largest and most popular Coldtown in the U.S.
However, once in Coldtown, Tana discovers that Gavriel isn’t running from the Thorn of Istra—he is the Thorn of Istra, and he’s one of the most dangerous, cold-blooded vampires ever known. Though Tana fears him, she has this draw to him that she knows she should resist, but can’t. And yes, Aidan tries to fight the infection, but ends up being turned into a vampire.
While in Coldtown, Tana ends up getting infected by a girl named Midnight, who she, Aidan, and Gavriel brought to Coldtown. Tana ends up getting thrown into the world of dangerous vampires, including Lucien Moreau, Gabriel’s maker, and Gavriel himself.
I won’t explain the summary any further, because there are twists and turns and game changers that make this novel surprising at every chapter.
I love how this novel was so much more than a typical, YA romance. Yes, there was a romance between Tana and Gavriel, but it was very light and not overdone. It was there, and it was just enough to make you want more. It was incredibly sweet and captivating and made me wish Tana would just turn into a vampire just to be with him.
However, what really made me like the book was Tana. She was a strong, independent, do it yourself female protagonist that is very rare in YA books (and basically all other books) today. She fought and killed and stood up for what she believed in, even though she was trusting (a bit too much) and got roped into situations she knew was wrong. I liked her. She was different than females in other books, and I liked how she was a hard charger. She wasn’t typical. She believed in herself, and she was enjoyable to read about.
Obviously, it goes without saying that I loved Gavriel and the plot twist that involved him (though I won’t say what it is). He was charming and lovable and sarcastic and old-fashioned and I just adored him. The only fault I have with him is that I wish he would’ve been in the novel more than what he was. He was my fvorite character, no doubt. He had these amazing one liners that kept me smiling and laughing whenever he was present, and he was perfect for Tana and for the vampires and just everything. New book boyfriend, Gavriel is.
The setting. The setting was horrifying and grotesque and stomach churning, and I oddly enjoyed that. It was nice to read a vampire novel where things weren’t happily ever after. It described the horrors of vampire life and how being a vampire wasn’t glamorous, after all. It included death and gore and lots and lots of blood. The vampire life and Coldtown wasn’t simple or pleasant, but that made the novel more intriguing and compelling, I think.
At the beginning of every chapter, there was a famous quote about death, and those were some of my favorite parts. It was incredible to see how each quote related to the chapter and the story as a whole. It was such an interesting aspect of the story, and it’s amazing to see how Holly Black thought to include that in her novel. It was a quirky detail that added to the awesome qualities of this story.
Holly Black is a master of descriptions and turning a phrase. She’s an incredible writer, and The Coldest Girl in Coldtown was one of the best YA Paranormal/Fantasy books I’ve read in a long time. Sold 4.5 out of 5 stars. I’d recommend this book to anyone looking for a vampire book that is nothing like Twilight. It’ll make you love vampire novels once and for all.
Thank you, Holly Black, for an amazing novel, and for liking my tweet on Twitter. You are a star at your craft, and you inspire me to write novels of my own.