Black, H. (2013). Coldest Girl in Coldtown. New York: Little, Brown and Company
Coldest Girl in Coldtown follows the story of a teenage girl who lives in a vampire filled world. Vampires used to be confined and hidden, killing all their victims until one vampire goes on a rampage and turns them, releasing an uncontrollable virus into the population. Once bit by a vampire, humans become cold and thirst for blood. If they meet their cravings, the virus will mutate in their bodies, killing them, and reanimating them as a vampire. Coldtowns are established to keep the virus contained into cities. Tana’s story begins as she thinks she is infected and knows her ex-boyfriend is. With the help of a vampire, they travel to the nearest coldtown making friends along the way, but once within Coldtown, Tana must battle for her life and the life of those she loves.
This book is excellent and immersive. Holly Black’s writing is fantastic and brings new life into what is a classic story. The characters especially are well developed, though sometimes easy to predict. Going on the journey with these characters will leave readers wanting more. The concept of the Coldtowns brings a dystopian feel to this novel. The coldtowns are run down, lacking in government, and a free for all in terms of crime and parties. Nothing is nice and no one is safe. The coldtowns felt very real and easily place readers into the setting of the book.
This eagerly anticipated novel (based on Black’s short story of the same name) bears little relation to the sparkle-infused vampire tales of the last decade.
Ten years ago, a vampire “started romanticizing himself” and went on a rampage, turning people until new vampires were everywhere. As much as possible, they are contained in walled Coldtowns, along with humans who idolize them—or were trapped when the walls went up. Outside, people avoid going out after dark, watch endless feeds from Coldtown parties and idolize vampire hunters. When nihilistic Tana, whose emptiness seems to stem from events surrounding her mother’s infection with vampirism, wakes up in a blood bath to find her ex-boyfriend infected and a terrifying but gorgeous vampire chained beside him, she is determined to make things right. What follows is a journey that takes her into Coldtown and out of the grief that has plagued her for years, with plenty of sharply observed characters and situations that feel absurdly, horribly believable. There’s dry humor and even a relationship (to call it a romance would be too easy; this is something entirely more complex). Perhaps most unexpectedly, there is no happy ending, just a thread of hope in humanity.
You may be ready to put a stake in vampire lit, but read this first: It’s dark and dangerous, bloody and brilliant.
Kirkus Review (2013). [Review of Coldest Girl in Coldtown]. Kirkus Reviews. Retrieved from: https://www.kirkusreviews.com/book-reviews/holly-black/coldest-girl-coldtown/
This book is a staple in the collection as a vampire book that goes beyond what reader’s expect. It has a great dialogue on the spreading of diseases and infections and can always be used as a fun fiction supplement to a virus STEM program.