I swear by Holly Black for pulling me out of a reading slumps, every time – here is my review of The Coldest Girl in Coldtown by Holly Black. As always this book review is spoiler-free! Check out other reviews at Novellique here.
The Coldest Girl in Coldtown by Holly Black
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.
The Coldest Girl in Coldtown is everything you’d want in a standalone young adult fantasy novel: it’s an interesting hook, introduces the key concept of coldtown, and is memorable.
I didn’t notice the fine details of the cover until I was writing this section of the review; the way the font of the title is blended into the scar on the arm. The blue of the background also ties in perfectly with coldtown.
The thing I’ve noticed about Holly Black novels that is interesting and I, personally, like is the female protagonists run straight into danger. They’re also usually slightly skewed in terms of their moral compass, but eventually they’ll do the right thing. I liked Tana and Gavriel particularly – the twist near the end is also surprising and while it isn’t universe-altering, it’s a nice, unexpected way to get out of a tricky situation. I liked the reinvention of the way vampires work – bringing a society with vampires in the modern age and exploring how society would adjust to cope. It’s something I admire and think makes Holly Black’s work so readable: there is no sudden discovery of
The pacing throughout was pretty even, I thought, although I think it was a little slow to start – perhaps some of the ending could have been fleshed out a little more, although this tends to be the format standalone fantasy novels follow.
I rated The Coldest Girl in Coldtown a 4.5/5 and if I’m being honest, my only major complaint is the fact it’s a standalone. The amount of world building that occurred makes me question the logic of keeping it a standalone: while I respect that some narratives should be kept to one book, I feel like the concept of Coldtown could be expanded upon – not even with Tana as the protagonist but instead a different set of characters within the same universe. I think it’s unlikely to happen, but a girl can dream!
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