The Coldest Girl in Coldtown – Holly Black

The Coldest Girl in Coldtown – Holly BlackTitle: The Coldest Girl in Coldtown by Holly Black
Publishing Info: September 3, 2013 by Source: Audiobook borrowed from library
Genres: Paranormal, Urban Fantasy, Vampires, Young Adult
Find it on the web: Buy from Amazon // GoodreadsDate Completed: April 22, 2013
Related Posts: White Cat (Curse Workers #1), Red Glove (Curse Workers #2), Black Heart (Curse Workers #3)

    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.


I felt like I had heard quite a few good things about THE COLDEST GIRL IN COLDTOWN before I started so I had high hopes going in but of course, I was still hesitant about “another vampire book”. I hadn’t read a vampire book since Vampire Academy and Bloodlines and those series were ones that I really enjoyed for its ability to sort of stray from the “vampire stereotypes”. I think after a supersaturation of the genre, it was only natural to be hesitant, but I still went into the book with high hopes.

I thought the book started out with a bang. Sort of “bad girl”, Tana wakes up at a party to find that everyone else who was there is dead. Mutilated, drained, and ravaged by a roving pack of vampires and somehow she’s the only one left alive. If I was unsure what was about to come, the very first chapter of the book surely set it up for me. Holly Black is not afraid to let the gore fly and honestly… It was kind of awesome. I still cringe at gory descriptions but I also liked that she didn’t shy away from keeping it real. I feel like that was a big purpose of the book — for Tana (and others) to know that being a vampire isn’t always glamorous like they portray it to be on the internet and TV — and so I really appreciated how it served a real purpose in the book as well.

I really enjoyed the relationships in this book. Tana has complicated relationships with quite a few people and it only gets worse after the night of the “incident”. Because of the events of that night, she ends up deciding to travel to the nearest Coldtown — a city or section of a city that has been zoned off for vampires or people who have been infected and not yet turned. She ends up reconnecting with an ex-boyfriend who is now infected, a mysterious vampire who seems oddly helpful, and a couple of kids who are heading to the Coldtown because they have been dreaming of being turned into a vampire. Then she still has her sister and her dad back home to think about and still try to protect, even if she’s not sure she’ll ever make it back to them. I loved how each relationship was just so unique and Tana really had a different connection with each person. Even the people she meets inside of the Coldtown were fascinating and I loved the connections she made with them as well.

While the characters were great and felt very vivid, I just couldn’t get into the plot as much as I had hoped. I liked the history of how the vampire sort of “outbreak” started and even how it had affected Tana and her family before the night of the “incident”, but the plot as the story progresses just didn’t reel me in. I was anxious to see what the Coldtown would be like, but it all felt very much like an amalgam of all of the vampire books I’ve read to date and for me, it just didn’t feel like it was anything new. I actually listened to the acknowledgements once the audiobook was over and I almost feel bad for saying that because it sounded like Holly Black had always wanted to write a vampire novel and it was something that shaped her as a reader and a writer so I’m sure producing this book was an amazing life-long goal of hers. I guess for me personally, I’m finding my way out of the vampire trend and was hoping this book would say, “Don’t worry about trends! If the book is good, it can still knock you off your feet regardless!” but unfortunately, I just didn’t find it here.

THE COLDEST GIRL IN COLDTOWN was still a good read and I did enjoy it, but it didn’t hold the “amazing” factor that I was hoping for. There was a bit of a lull in the middle for me after the fast and exciting beginning and the ending was good and action-packed, but still felt like the other vampire books I’ve read before. If that’s what you’re looking for, I definitely think you’ll find it here, but if you’re feeling tired of the vampire trend, you may notice that a lot as well.


“The View from Goodreads” is a new featured section in my reviews that I decided to incorporate! I tend to update my Goodreads status a LOT when I read — reactions, feelings, notes — so I thought it would be fun to share the sort of “reading process”! All status updates are spoiler-free (no specific plot points will be revealed) but will contain reactions to certain pages and/or characters!

Screen Shot 2014-05-04 at 8.41.52 AM


The audiobook was really enjoyable! Christine Lakin narrated it and I just really liked her tone of voice and her delivery. I thought she was perfect to voice Tana and she had kind of… almost a husky quality to her voice which was great for a darker book. I get easily annoyed with female narrators who sound all breathy and delicate so I really enjoyed her voice for this book! The entire production was pretty great too. I’ve only listened to a couple audiobooks that have actual music interspersed into the narration for a sort of movie feel and THE COLDEST GIRL IN COLDTOWN had some suspenseful and creepy music to play out some of the more scary moments! I actually didn’t feel like it was always perfectly placed, but I appreciated it when it popped up!


Tana // Character Obsessions: Coldtown, infection, Pearl.
Tana was a great character for me. She was that kind of mix between bad girl, badass, and big sister. I really liked her personality and she just felt really realistic to me. It made me wonder what I would do in her shoes (I think she handled it better).
Gavriel // Character Obsessions: Secret plans, helping Tana.
I liked Gavriel’s mystery but I do wish we had gotten to learn more about him earlier on to make a better connection. I think he’s the one character I have reservations about because I just wanted to know more about him and why he was so important earlier in the book. Not to give away any secrets but just to establish that deeper relationship with Tana.


Kept Me Hooked On: Vampires? I’m not sure if I’m over the vampire trend but I did still enjoy it in this book. I did admit that it felt a bit tired and yet, it reminded me of all of the vampire books I had read previously and gave me that hint of nostalgia. Kind of a mix of negative and positive points there.
Left Me Wanting More: Romance. I really wanted a bit more romance in this book. That’s not to say I wanted it to take over and be a melodramatic Edward/Bella romance, but I didn’t quite feel like Tana and Gavriel had a strong connection until all of a sudden it was THERE towards the end. I just really wanted to see it developed and established a little bit more gradually.

Addiction Rating
Try it

Several of my Goodreads friends LOVED it. If you’re in the mood for vampires, it’s definitely worth the read! I enjoyed it but my hesitance was just that — vampires and a trend that may be on the way out. Up to you to try it and satisfy that craving if that’s what you’re looking for!!


(Click the cover to see my review!)

      Frostbite      City of Bones

Hi, I'm Brittany!
Hi, I'm Brittany!

I'm an avid reader, candle-maker, and audiobook lover! Here you'll find book reviews, fun blog posts, and my other loves of photography & craft beer!

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10 thoughts on “The Coldest Girl in Coldtown – Holly Black

  1. Nicole @ The Quiet Concert

    I liked the premise, but I think this one suffered from some cliche vampire moments. But I still thought it was a solid read, it just didn’t amaze me either. The beginning and end were definitely stronger than the middle.

  2. Kay

    I know a lot of people that loved this book as well, but I was more like you. I thought it was a good enjoyable read but it wasn’t a must read for me. I too loved the beginning…way to grab the readers attention with that bloody scene!

  3. Rebecca @ The Library Canary

    Sorry you didn’t love this one! I on the other hand did love it. It felt unique to me and I was absolutely in love with the characters, especially Gavriel. LOVED him! I guess I’m really not over the whole vampire thing yet… Lol

  4. Reviews from a Bookworm

    I got bought this for Christmas but I still haven’t got to it, I am a little nervous though. It seems like the story slows down a lot near the halfway mark and that’s something that would really get to me. I’ve seen other reviews that have commented on that, so I am a little scared to start this one as I think it might be really disappointing for me. I am actually stopping by as someone linked you up to me Blogger Love post 🙂

  5. Candice @ The Grown-Up YA

    I couldn’t finish this one. I had read the short story Holly Black wrote (same title) and enjoyed it, so I was excited about a full book. And yeah, it started off pretty strong and I was really into it. But then somewhere along the way I just lost interest and never picked it back up. I’d still like to give it another go, but nothing’s really motivating me to do so. Hmph.

  6. Amanda @ Book Badger

    I’ve just finished Blacks Curse Workers series and absolutely adore her writing and how she manages to make you relate so well to the main character, so all of her books are on my list to try soon, so very very soon and you’ve put this one high on my list. I read Dinner With a Vampire and it didn’t float, and I own Twilight, but haven’t read it as of yet, along with having read City of Bones/Ashes/Glass and liking Simon the vampires there too, so maybe this is a good choice for me? I hope so. You’re review was fantastic and I like your View from Goodreads section, it’s fantastic! 😀

  7. Jennifer Austin

    Having read this book I agree with most of your points. Maybe it wasn’t AMAZING, but I wasn’t expecting amazing. Just good, and different. In my opinion it was different and that sole me. Actually, I wouldn’t have picked this up if it hadn’t been written by Holly Black. Vampires stopped interesting me a long time ago. I think my favorite part of the book was the obsession many showed with these televised vampires and discovering the reality was far different. I love it when real life is fictionalized and truth is created through fantasy. I also enjoyed how dark and gritty this book was, at least for me. I don’t read a lot of dark fiction or anything with a lot of gore. It usually turns me off, but this kept me around until the last page, and I hope there’s more to come. Although if there isn’t, the ending was satisfying enough to leave me happy. I always like it when an author implies that this is not the end, just the beginning of another story, even if they never write another one.

  8. Michelle (Pink Polka Dot Book Blog)

    I was really happy to see the whole vampire trend die down a little! It was getting on my nerves there for a while. I was never a big vampire book fan, but some of the ones that have come out lately seem to be trying to be more creative with it anyhow. That stinks that this one didn’t completely do it for you. I really liked the cover of it… but after reading your review, it sounds like something that really wouldn’t be for me. Great review 🙂

  9. Sara B.

    I’ve been wanting to read The Coldest Girl in Coldtown for so long! I must do this soon! Your review definitely made me think about moving it on up in my TBR!


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