Goodreads summary, for the lazy (me): “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’m not great at gushing, but I liked The Coldest Girl in Coldtown a lot. It was suspenseful, funny, and well-paced. Black’s writing is sharp and often poetic, and her imagery was evocative. The concept was great: it paid homage to classic vampire stories while still containing unique concepts that made Black’s vision feel fresh. The idea that there are quarantined cities, or sections of cities, isn’t in itself anything new, but Black added to the concept that these aren’t necessarily desolate, abandoned places; they’re communities, some more thriving than others, that maintain equilibrium between humans and vampires, and what goes on inside isn’t some kind of government secret. The Coldtowns may be walled off, but many of them are still viable, even desirable, options for many humans, infected or not.
As a lead character, I found Tana to be a realistic depiction of how many average people in her situation might have come across. A lot of her decisions aren’t necessarily the smartest in terms of self preservation, but she is brave and loyal and it was immediately evident that she wasn’t the type just to look out for herself, but for others as well. Given that about her, her actions throughout the book make perfect sense. She is a genuinely likeable person who benefited not just from her own industriousness, but also from building relationships with others who then are happy to help her. The budding romance between her and Gavriel, the “mysterious boy” from the party, is based on his wonder and admiration for her fighting spirit and determination to help others.
I was deeply into the book from start to finish. I’m unsure if there is meant to be a sequel, but if there is, I will absolutely read it.