Tuesday, October 14, 2014

Review | The Coldest Girl in Coldtown by Holly Black - with Audiobook Notes

The Coldest Girl in Coldtown by Holly Black
Published by Little, Brown BYR
Publish Date: September 3, 2013

Source: Book - Publisher, Audiobook - Library
Find It: Goodreads / Amazon 


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.
 (excerpt from Goodreads)


The Coldest Girl in Coldtown by Holly Black

My Thoughts: I've read this book twice, actually. The first time I read The Coldest Girl in Coldtown by Holly Black, I was working on my Big Giant Move that happened earlier this summer - I was riveted, captivated, drawn into the story - and yet I didn't have the chance to blog it or adequately review it. I enjoyed it, though, and what better time to re-read/re-listen to it for review than the fall of the year?  

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A few things about The Coldest Girl in Coldtown

1. This is not MY ordinary "vampire" story. You guys, I'm not sure that I will ever tire of vampire books - and I'm okay with that! I pretty much love all types of vampire mythology. This book feels like fresh air to me when I consider that it is not only a standalone novel but it is also a bit dark and moody and a little bit bloody times. It's like an honest-to-goodness vampire story where the creatures are a bit on the frightful side and I have to admit that I like that.  

2. The beginning of the story is a little crazy. Immediately, I feel thrust into a world that is already chaotic. Main character Tana wakes up in a bathtub after being passed out at a party BUT she finds that the party has taken a horrific turn while she was unconscious. Nearly all of her party-going friends have been killed - slaughtered and drained - except for her ex-boyfriend Aidan and a red-eyed vampire that is unknown to her. Aidan has been bitten, which places him at risk for turning "cold" - so they need to not only GET OUT OF THERE FAST but they need to get him to a Coldtown ASAP. 

3. I like the idea of the Coldtowns. My favorite vampire societies are those that openly mix humans and vampires - there always seems to be drama, dilemma, and something interesting going on. There are usually fringe humans wanting to be bitten and turned - they're so odd to me, but it works out perfectly for the vampires when they need to feed. There are also usually a few within the group that are fighting for/rising up against something. In this society, both of these occur but in ways that had me chuckling a little even though the story was a little creepy. 

4. Being bitten = becoming infected, not becoming a vampire. After the bite, comes the craving for blood. This is what we have come to expect from vampire novels! If the bitten can hold out and not give into the temptation to feed, he just may be able to fight the vampiric infection and return to normalcy. It takes 88 days to determine if the infection has been flushed out of the human body, but clinics no longer take on these patients due to an incident in the past in which a waking previously-sedated patient attacked a doctor. This is unfortunate! Sometimes the bitten victims can work through their craving for blood by taking drugs or drinking, but this does not always work. Sometimes, if you have some really great friends, they'll tie you up and help you through the hunger by not letting you feed - but this is risky. If you DO feed, you just may become COLD aka a vampire forever

4. Ah, yes, the romance. In the beginning, Tana rescues Aidan and resolves to help him NOT become a vampire. This is despite not being his girlfriend anymore and despite poor treatment from him in the past. I initially had a not-very-fantastic impression of Aidan, but I have to admit that he grew on me fairly early on and I ended up liking him quite a bit. That past romance, however, is not the love story of this book. The vampire rescued by Tana in the beginning of the story is Gavriel, and HE is the love interest in the book. It is an interesting romance, though, because it crept up on me and was very slowly-building. Gavriel is a fun and dangerous and beautiful-in-a-vampire-way character, so I liked when the romance began to build. There is never a place in the story where the romance is a super-huge deal, I think, though by the time the book is over, I found that I liked it a lot. 

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The Coldest Girl in Coldtown is really an odd story, but captivating in its own way. I have admit that the first time I read this (and listened to the audiobook at the same time), I felt like I was on hold throughout the entire book, just waiting for something to happen - like that feeling you get when you are watching a scary scene in a movie and you just KNOW something is about to happen and you're waiting, waiting, waiting. There is a feeling of urgency, hurry-up, almost-there that I felt all the way through the story. I can't say that I feel it detracted from the story because this IS an urgent story. Coupled with the urgency is the dark, atmospheric, almost gritty mood and I really think this is one heck of a vampire tale. I remember finishing this the first time and thinking that it was really cool, although I was surprised at how long it is. 

On this second read/listen, I want to make sure that it is known that THIS STORY IS EVEN BETTER THE SECOND TIME. The urgency is still there - that feeling of something-is-about-to-happen, something-is-about-to-happen - even when I know the outcome of the story! STILL, STILL, STILL I believe it made it even better because I understand more fully WHY the urgency and WHAT comes next and I want all of my friends that love audiobooks and that love to re-read to PLEASE CONSIDER trying to grab a copy of this in audiobook format for a second listen. I can't say with certainty that the book is improved with the audiobook, but I can doggone well say that it is made massively enjoyable with it. 

Audiobook Notes:  The audiobook format of The Coldest Girl in Coldtown by Holly Black is published by Hachette Audio and is 12 hours and 6 minutes, Unabridged. It is narrated by Christine Lakin who is AMAZING in the role of Tana as narrator throughout this story. She embodies that urgent feeling and that fearful, dark tone that makes this book unique and fantastic. Christine Lakin does not make the book dark or scary, but I believe that she made me understand that main character Tana FELT these emotions, so I think I felt some of these things too, which is really something special to achieve with an audiobook. I highly recommend this audiobook format for first reads and for re-reads as I have listened twice now and really enjoyed it both times. 

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The Coldest Girl in Coldtown will appeal to fans of:

YA Paranormal/Urban Fantasy
Romance: Slowly developing. No triangle. 
Standalone

The Coldest Girl in Coldtown by Holly Boack
is currently available for purchase.  

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Have you read 
The Coldest Girl in Coldtown? 

What is your favorite vampire story?


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5 comments:

  1. I DNF'd this one though I did love the narration. I just couldn't connect with the characters. That being said, I totally made my friend Wendy read it and she LURVED it. I knew she would :)

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    1. The narration matched the book really well! I liked it so much more the second time (:

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  2. I love Holly Black, so I'm hoping to love this one. I don't know that I'll ever tire of vampires either! And I think it says a lot that you liked it even more the second time around! :)

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    1. It's really an interesting and different vampire book. I haven't read Black's other books (that she wrote by herself) but I really liked this one. I'll NEVER tire of vampire books. NEVER.

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  3. The Coldest Girl in Coldtown has been on my TBR for quite some time now, but for some reason I've never picked it up... I think I definitely will now!

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