Fran & Amber Recommend:
When both Amber and international bestselling author Yasmine Galenorn tell me I have to read a book, I take them seriously.
Holly Black's The Coldest Girl in
Coldtown, while being marketed as a YA novel, is certainly complex
enough for all readers of urban fantasy. The premise is that vampirism,
once hidden, has through an unhappy accident spread throughout the
world. Humans don't go out at night, and anyone who's infected is
legally required to go to a Coldtown, a prison-city where vampires,
vampire wanna-be's, and people who are Cold -- bitten by a vampire but
not yet turned -- must go.
If you're Cold, it is possible to shake
it off and be human again. You just have to go 88 days without drinking
human blood. There's a very, very slight chance of being able to do it,
but it is possible. It is illegal to do this on your own, however. You
have to go to a Coldtown, and very rarely are people allowed to leave.
Tana is 17, and has gone to a popular
themed teenage party, a Sundowner party, where teens lock themselves in
from dusk to dawn with garlic and holy water at the windows, and party.
However, this time, when Tana wakes up, everyone is dead. Everyone, that
is, except her jerk of an ex-boyfriend, Aidan, and a vampire. In a
twist, both are chained up, Aidan is infected with the Cold, and the
vampire is unable to reach him. It takes no time for Tana to realize
that both Aidan and the vampire are being set up by someone, and she
resolves to save both.
That decision will change Tana forever.
Caught in a series of increasingly bad options, she does what she can to
save as many people as she can, including Gavriel, the vampire.
Amber called The Coldest Girl in Coldtown
"noir-ish" and she's right. This is not a sparkling, easy read. Bad,
bad things happen and they're sometimes difficult. Holly Black deftly
shows us that it's easy to see only the glamour of the vampire, but the
truth is that they're a completely different species and they're not
pretty or romantic; that's their illusion, but not their truth.
I really liked Black's heroine, Tana. She
knows she's caught in a series of bad decisions, she does what she can
to make things right, and she never gives up, either on herself or
others. She may very well be one of the best female protagonists to come
along in a while, and I've got to say that if you like urban fantasy
and strong female leads, this is an amazing and hard-hitting book. I
wouldn't recommend it for anyone under 15, because some of the
situations are really fairly disturbing, but after that caveat, I
strongly recommend The Coldest Girl in Coldtown to everyone who likes a
solid story with multi-layered people dealing with horrible situations
the best way they know how.
Thank you, Amber and Yasmine! You're absolutely right!