Review: The Coldest Girl in Coldtown by Holly Black


Publisher: Little, Brown & Company
Release date: September 3, 2013
Format: Hardcover
ISBN: 0316213101
Pages: 419
Goodreads || Book Depository

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.


4 stars

This standalone paranormal fantasy novel was a really enjoyable read. It’s set in our modern world but in an alternate setting where there was an outbreak of vampirism a decade ago. In this world, vampires are feared but also romanticised at the same time, which created a very interesting world and setting. This book was atmospheric from the very first chapter. It was dark and a little bit creepy but very entertaining. It wasn’t a very fast-paced book or a page-turner for me, so it did take me a couple of sittings to finish it. It also explored some deeper questions about humanity, which I really liked.

This book was so well-developed for a standalone. It’s written with alternating chapters of present and past. In the present chapters, we follow Tana from the aftermath of the massacre all the way into the Coldtown. The past chapters were really interesting. Because the book is written from third person perspective, there were snippets of not only Tana’s past but also the past of some of the other key characters. These chapters did a really great job of building the world, as well as setting up the plot of the story.

I thought the plot was really great. It was kind of what I wanted from the book after reading the description. There wasn’t a lot of romance in the book but I was very satisfied with what we did get and the amount of romance there was. If it was any heavier on the romance, I don’t think I would have enjoyed it as much. The resolution to the plot was perhaps a little bit anticlimactic but I didn’t mind it at all. In fact, I really liked how everything unfolded because I don’t think I could have taken anything more intense. For me, the ending to the book was perfect and I wouldn’t change anything because I was thoroughly satisfied.

The aspect of the book that I didn’t enjoy very much were the characters. For the first half of the book, I didn’t like any of the characters that were introduced, except Tana and Gavriel, the main characters. I thought all of the characters were really manipulative and selfish, and I just did not like them at all. However, my dislike of the characters didn’t change my opinion of the plot or the story, because Holly Black kind of intended for them to be that way. Plus there are definitely more likeable characters that are introduced in the second half of the book, and you grow to like them as you progress through the book. What I really appreciated was the inclusion of diverse characters. We have a bisexual character and a transgender character, which I thought was really nice to read about.

The Coldest Girl in Coldtown is probably one of the best vampire books I’ve read. There were some cliched aspects but a lot of it was very unique, and I liked that it was a standalone novel. Also, the cover (art and texture) is perfect. I’m definitely going to get this copy signed at the Holly Black & Cassandra Clare event in mid-August!


12 thoughts on “Review: The Coldest Girl in Coldtown by Holly Black

  1. aentee @ read at midnight says:

    I enjoyed this read as well. Especially the juxtaposition between the modern technology and reality tv aspect with the vampires. I had similar issues with the characters but also liked it overall!

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Lydia Tewkesbury says:

    I love the title. I think I might give this one a read. It sounds odd but I actually really enjoy unlikeable characters. I think it’s really great writing to make someone at total asshole but still charismatic enough that you’re willing to read about them anyway/


  3. Summer @ Xingsings says:

    That’s too bad about the characters, but I’m really looking forward to it anyway. I mean you mentioned it being one of the best vampire books you’ve read. Plus, I love reading about vampire books (it may not seem like it because of all these contemporaries I’ve been reviewing), like a lot, haha. But I really love Holly Black from what I’ve read by her so far (The Modern Faerie Tales trilogy). And I really love that this is a standalone as well. It’s great to get addicted to a ya paranormal fantasy series but it’s refreshing for a story to be over in one book, too. So was this one of your signed copies after you met them? (Still extremely jealous over that fact, by the way, but happy you got to go!) 😀

    Liked by 1 person

    • Jenna @ Reading with Jenna says:

      Yes! I got this one signed when I met her. This hardcover is actually so beautiful… I do not regret splurging on this on Book Depository at all! That Holly and Cassie event was AMAZING! I RSVPed early enough that I managed to get a seat in the VIP seated area and our section got our books signed first. The other fans just had to stand around, which tbh isn’t any different from being a customer who’s passing by.

      I think the great thing about this book is that I loved the two main characters. So I guess it’s okay even if the side characters are all super frustrating and dislikable. I kind of had the opposite thing happen in The Darkest Part of the Forest (which you noticed). I loved most of the characters in that book but the protagonist really got on my nerves. I think you’ll enjoy Coldtown if you like vampire books! It has a really interesting world and premise.

      Liked by 1 person

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