Tuesday, June 24, 2014

Jennavier Recommends: The Coldest Girl in Coldtown by Holly Black

http://www.blackholly.com/thecoldestgirlincoldtown.htmlHolly Black isn't your average teen/tween writer. She does gritty and creepy in a way that is awesome instead of exhausting. Her characters are deep and their problems are real. I was introduced to her through her Curse Workers series but you probably know her as one of the writing duo behind The Spiderwick Chronicles. I have to say that when I came to Coldest Girl in Coldtown it was with a bad case of book burnout. Reading one this good made me glad I’m still reading.

Black writes a lot of short stories. I discovered the original Coldest Girl on a long day snuggled in a B&N couch and hated leaving the world behind. Sadly the book, while sharing the title and a world, doesn’t share main characters. Madeline’s story was over by the end of the short so it’s up to Tana to reveal hers.

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.

Tana is a fascinating character. The game she’s playing is rigged against her and she still manages to win. She fights so hard to hold onto her humanity in a world that feels like it’s losing it’s own. The love that she feels for the people that matter to her, even the ones who’ve hurt her, is strong enough to overcome her challenges.

So what’s the reason I’m so surprised that this book worked for me? Admit it, you were waiting for it. This time it’s monsters. Me+vampires= nausea. I really, really don’t like vampires. Including them is a great way to dampen my interest. That being said I learned to be more tolerant of them in the recent craze. At this point YA vampires resemble household cats more then they do the tragic monsters of my teenage years, much less the creeptastic beings from before Ann Rice. Holly Black pulls off the creepy factor while asking fascinating questions about what it means to be human.

Warnings: First off, the ending is a little up in the air. I liked it that way and felt if fit the story better. If it’s something you can’t stand no matter what you might want to steer clear. Second, this is a dark book so there’s everything that entails.

This isn’t a perfect book. It’s an original, exhilarating, and thought provoking book. I hope if you read it you get the same joy out of it that I did.
P.S. Don't want to take my word for it? Here's another review that talks about how awesome the book is.

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