Ok, I kinda hate to admit this, but I was really late to the Holly Black fan train. (Is fan train a thing? If not, I'm going to make it one. That and fetch... but I digress). Years ago I read some of The Spiderwick Chronicles, but didn't pursue reading more of her books till I recently came across The Cruel Prince* (which I loved!), and was immediately enthralled with her world-building, characters and writing style. And after I finished The Cruel Prince, I needed more! The next book in that series, The Wicked King, doesn't come out till next year, but fortunately for me, there is an impressive catalog of Holly Black books to enjoy. So I decided to sink my teeth into her vampire story (sorry, couldn't help it).
In The Coldest Girl In Coldtown, vampires are real, and have been relegated to isolated cities known as Coldtowns, where vampires, willing humans and infected humans (humans bit by vampires but not yet changed) are allowed in but not out in order to keep the rest of the world 'safe.' This story centers around a young girl, Tana, just as she's waking up from a party. That's the last bit of normalcy in her life, as she discovers everyone else at the party has been killed by vampires. What follows is her traveling to a Coldtown with her infected ex-boyfriend Aiden and a mysterious vampire named Gavriel.
What I really liked about this story was the characters more than anything. This is not to say that the story wasn't full of excitement and plot twists that kept me wondering what would happen next right until the end. But it was the characters, especially Tana and Gavriel, that lingered with me long after I finished the book. Tana has a drive within her that is sometimes lacking in vampire novels. There is romance, but Tana's goals are not simply to fall in love with a vampire and live forever. Actually, she doesn't want to become a vampire, and refuses to abandon friends and family for a romantic interest. And while Gavriel is a sexy/bad boy vampire - his backstory is thoroughly fleshed out and he has his own agenda that slowly becomes apparent as the story unfolds.
Finishing this novel, I felt quite satisfied with the ending but also a lingering sadness that the story was over, as I didn't want to leave this world and these characters. That, to me, is a great way to finish a book. I give it two fangs up.
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