Review: The Coldest Girl In Coldtown by Holly Black


3 out of 5 stars | Goodreads

I received a copy of this book for free from the pubisher, in exchange for an honest review.

Opening with one of the most horrific beginnings I can remember in Young Adult fiction, The Coldest Girl In Coldtown starts with a young girl named Tana waking up after a party. After extricating herself from the bathtub in which she slept, she emerges into the living room to find the usual remains of a alcohol-fueled house party – empty bottles, bowls of half-eaten nibbles, clothes strewn around the room – along with the corpses of her friends and classmates. The only other person left alive happens to be her ex-boyfriend Aidan, whom she finds tied to a bed, and in the company of a vampire.

I have read in a couple of reviews that some people were put off by Tana’s ‘party girl image’. I don’t really understand this criticism: if I stopped reading a book because a character had an interest or trait that was unfamiliar to me then I’d never finish a book. Needless to say, I wouldn’t get very far in fantasy or science fiction. However, I did not really like Tana very much – for one, she was incredibly fickle. I was mostly confused about what she actually wanted: she couldn’t seem to decide whether she wanted to remain human or become a vampire, at times she was both strongly against and for the idea. Her relationship with Aidan was also pretty twisted and she allowed herself to be used as well as using him, which was sad. She’s obviously quite a troubled soul. Unlike Midnight and Winter, who were pretty much the ultimate ‘typical’ angsty Goth teens, and who probably have a perfectly normal home life that they’re unhappy with for reasons unknown. They just annoyed me more than anything.

I can’t really explain why, but this book just did not live up to the hype for me. In a world that’s over-saturated with vampire books and films, this didn’t feel like anything particularly original. I did like the idea of Coldtowns and mixing the archaic view of vampires with the new by introducing a reality TV show, but it just wasn’t enough. I felt the book really dragging in some spots; I don’t know if it was because I had about a week where I didn’t have time to read so the story sort of got broken into two.

Overall, not particularly my cup of tea. A good read for paranormal and vampire fans, but there was nothing of note for me here.


14 thoughts on “Review: The Coldest Girl In Coldtown by Holly Black”

  1. I’m like you here. There was somthing abou the book that didn’t click with me. I liked the vampire (Gavriel?) just fine, though.

  2. Oh, I hadn’t even realised this was to do with vampires. Good to know. Somehow I imagined something different from the title and cover blurb.

  3. I wanted to read this, but I’ve been so burned out on the paranormal YA category lately. Maybe I’ll still check this out, but after a little break.

  4. Oh too bad this was disappointing! I’ve heard good things about it from other bloggers, but for some reason I was never all that excited to pick it up – I don’t know why. I probably will though since I do like vampire stories, but I will make sure I keep expectations low! I feel like I will not like Tana as much either from your description of her!

    1. Me too – maybe that’s why I was especially disappointed? I’ve not read anything else by Holly Black, but I remember my sister used to love The Spiderwick Chronicles.

  5. I remember Holly Black when she wrote The Spiderwick Chronicles, but that seems very different from this book. I’m not exactly a fan of vampire books (with Kagawa’s Blood of Eden) as an example. This book is something I want to read, but one that I’ll probably approach with trepidation.

    I probably won’t have many problems with Tana’s party girl image, because I’ve had that kind of life. On the weekends. Back in college. Nowadays, my friends and I are more of the “stay in at home with a good movie and some alcohol” kind of party people. Which is clearly, next to a “good book and some alcohol” party, the BEST kind. But her other attitude problems may get on my nerves, and her relationship with her boyfriend.

    1. Oh yes, very different I think. Those were sort of middle grade, weren’t they? This is much more aimed towards older teens. I guess the problem with vampire books is that they’re kind of everywhere, because of Twilight, and we’re a bit skeptical of them, because of Twilight. 😛

      I’ve never been a party person, but if a character is, then it’s not a problem. It was the fact that she just couldn’t seem to make her mind up that really bugged me. One minute she was all “vampires are so evil and I hate them and I will never become one” and then it was “well… it might be fun, why not?”. And especially because of something that’s revealed not too far into the book, and with the opening, you’d think she wouldn’t want to go near a vampire.

  6. We had VERY similar experiences with reading this one it would seem. I agree with you that that opening scene was quite memorable but beyond that this didn’t live up to the hype for me either. Like you my problem wasn’t Tana’s partying lifestyle, I simply did not connect with her on any level. The romance was very ‘meh’ for me as well. Oh and I could NOT stand Midnight and Winter! I’m glad I’m not the only one who didn’t love this as much as I was expecting but I am sorry you didn’t enjoy it more nonetheless. It was my first Holly Black book too so I was pretty bummed out. Great review though ^^ I enjoyed reading your thoughts on it!

    1. Ooh, I’m glad, because I read SO MANY positive reviews that I honestly just don’t understand. She was a frustrating character who seemed to have no idea what she wanted.

      Thanks for commenting, Micheline 😀

      1. If you want another look at “The Coldest Girl In Coldtown”,Ms Black already had a different story (short story) same name ,same world,different characters in an anthology “Vampires, the Recent Undead” edited by Paula Guran, I think. Surprisingly this was not mentioned anywhere on the copywrite page, so I have to read it to see what the deal is,or it will drive me nuts wondering if she brought the characters from the short story along for the ride or what is going on since it feels like a series now to me.

      2. Thanks for sharing, although unfortunately I don’t think I quite enjoyed the story enough to read much further! Bit sick of vampires 😦

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