Friday, November 22, 2013

The Coldest Girl in Coldtown by Holly Black

Little, Brown and Co, 2013

Tana woke up after a night of partying in the bathtub.  Little did she know the tub is what saved her....

Sundown parties are popular now these days.  The danger and the thrill is what keeps teens up all night partying until dawn.  It could be considered a trend, now that Cold Towns have sprung up throughout the nation and world.  There are pre-requisites to a successful party: garlic, rosewater or holy water; stakes and crosses (although these really don't have an effect at all).  But at the party Tana went to, somehow the vampires made their way in, killing and gorging on everyone, creating a massacre.

There are vampires and then there are those well-known ones that go down in history.  The first vampire to begin infecting people was Caspar Morales.  His harmless forays into the human world to feed but not kill started the contagion and the quarantined cities, Cold Towns, the infected and the turned were placed in.  There were other vampires with reputations as well, including the Thorn of Istra, a much sought-after vampire that was supposedly caged for hundreds of years and went mad...thus becoming very very dangerous...

What happens when a person gets bitten?  Contrary to popular belief, they don't turn into vampires; instead, they go cold.  Dead but a limbo state between humanity and a soulless eternity.  It takes 40 days of complete isolation, away from any temptation to drink the blood of a human to shake off the cold.  Only a few make it...most succumb to the temptation and become new vampires, the most unstable kind because their thirst knows no bounds.

And now, Tana is heading to the first Cold Town ever created along with both a vampire named Gavriel and the guy at the party (Aidan) that Gavriel turned cold.  She's flirting with danger and knows the only thing she can do to save Aidan and get Gavriel out of her life is to go to Cold Town and try to survive.

But once inside, who can she trust?  Going into a Cold Town is like living in a parallel universe.  People are walking around with shunts in their veins, hoping to party with the undead.  The vampires revel in the crowd along with humans knowing there is a balance of power between the living and the dead.  But someone in the crowd is out to destroy this delicate balance to create chaos and get revenge.  And Tana finds herself in the middle of it all....

I'll admit, this is the first time in a long time that I've picked up a horror/supernatural book, especially about vampires, and thoroughly enjoyed it.  Forget about the dark and sensual romance, this book has a slightly savage side, filled with deep and dark emotions that run rampant in all of the characters in the book. Black not only creates symbiotic relationships, but carries this theme into other aspects of her book, including society, the infection and struggle to overcome it, and the civilized/uncivilized worlds the characters find themselves in.  It's this power struggle that pushes the reader into the darker passages of the plot all the way through the book, hoping for a satisfying finale and gasping at the end, wanting more more MORE!  This book aligns itself more toward the adult novels of Anne Rice, so if you have readers who want more vampire and a little less romance, hand them this book. Is this a stand-alone or a series?  Hmmmm.....well done, Ms. Black!
Highly recommended for high school collections.

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