Okay, why haven’t I read any books by Holly Black before??? Again, my sister suggested this one (B, you’re becoming my book guru!), and said, “It’s not a typical vampire novel”. Wait…what?? THE COLDEST GIRL IN COLDTOWN is a vampire novel? Yeah, the whole pale, lifeless hand on the cover wasn’t even a little hint for me. Anyway, I must admit I was skeptical, but started it anyway, and boy, was I surprised!
Holly Black is NOT afraid of writing dark, gritty moments, and her writing is as solid as her story. I was immediately caught up in the scariness of the plot, and as a writer, listening to how she crafts her sentences with great interest.
The premise to the book is that vampires have basically taken over the world in a kind of epidemic. Most either voluntarily go to a designated Coldtown, or end up there in various ways, along with some unlucky humans. Once you enter a Coldtown, however, you can’t leave. It’s easier to keep people inside the gates, than to risk infecting more people.
Black opens the book with a girl named Tana waking up after a night of partying. She finds herself in the bathtub, and is thoroughly embarrassed that she may have been in there without realizing other people were coming in and out. Did they know she was there? Were they all laughing at her? It’s a slightly comical opening…until she leaves the bathroom and realizes everyone at the party is dead, everyone except her ex-boyfriend (who has been bitten), and a fully-turned handsome vampire who helps them leave in an especially harrowing escape from the house.
I wasn’t expecting the depth of the writing here, and yet thoroughly enjoyed the plot and character development. It’s a scary read—expect that and you’ll delight in it!
I’m definitely going to pick up more from Holly Black (Spiderwick Chronicles, anyone??). Now I know why kids love her books!
What’s up next on my scary book reading list? Seems like I’m in that kind of mood lately. *Spoiler….I hope this is rubbing off a little bit in my own new WIP, MANIAC.