Tuesday, March 25, 2014
The Coldest Girl in Coldtown by Holly Black
What made this book stand apart from other vampire books, aside from the obviously better writing and the well-rounded characters, was that The Coldest Girl in Coldtown shows vampires to be vicious and blood thirsty. They are, essentially, monsters, with no love or feelings for humans. Humans are there to be used as vampires wish.
The Coldtowns are well wired, and the lives of the vampires are the most popular reality TV to the outside world. Of course, you have people who dream of becoming vampires. Who think vampires are beautiful and sexy. Who think vampires are misunderstood. These people deliberately go to Coldtowns and try to get a vampire to turn them.
Once inside the Coldtown, Tana is able to see that it's not beautiful and sexy close up. It's dirty and falling apart and sickly. Becoming a vampire is a horrible thing, which she witnesses firsthand as Aidan slowly, painfully changes. Tana is haunted by the memories of her mother when she became infected, and trying to fight off the infection. If you can go without ingesting human blood while the infection runs its course, you can be cured. But it's no easy thing. You have to be locked in a secure location, and within days people are screaming for blood.
Tana wants so much to NOT be infected, but is afraid she might be, and she's surrounded by people who want nothing more than to be infected and to become vampires. I really liked how the book looked at the way vampires were portrayed to the outside world versus what they really were. It's good commentary on reality TV in general, and also on all the other books where "monsters" are made into romantic figures.
And look, let's be honest. We have another case of a male vampire, who's never been able to love before, but then SHE shows up, and she's just so special and different from everyone else in all the time he's been alive he just can't help falling in love with her.
Which is, of course, Twilight. Except that The Coldest Girl in Coldtown has much more of a plot than just the romance bit. Also, Tana is the one that does most of the saving. She saves Aidan. She saves herself. She saves friends she makes in the Coldtown. She saves Gavriel. She needs some people herself too, but Tana is one determined girl. And she is determined to one day get home back to her little sister.
It was graphic and bloody at times. While in the Coldtown, I don't even remember how many times Tana ended up drenched in blood. She could not keep a new set of clothes clean.
If your vampire readers are ready for something a bit more gritty, give them this.