4.5 Stars. I’d seen some glowing reviews of this book on Cannonball Read, so when it popped up on my library list as available, I immediately downloaded it. I went in not knowing much about the book, but was pleasantly surprised to be reading a great addition to the great canon of vampire literature. This is the first truly modern vampire book I’ve ever read. True Blood and The Vampire Diaries got halfway there, but The Coldest Girl in Coldtown takes it to the next level with vampire reality shows and people getting famous on social media by either being or posting about vampires.
In the morning after a party, Tana wakes up to find herself surrounded by the dead bodies of her friends and classmates. The world she lives in is one where vampires are out of the closet and mostly confined to quarantined cities called Coldtowns where no one can leave, but there are still occasional attacks out in the real world. Once bitten (if they’re not killed by the vampire), a person becomes sick with an unquenchable thirst for human blood. At that point they can either drink blood and become a vampire or suffer through the sickness for 88 days, hoping to become human again. After waking up to a massacre, Tana finds her ex-boyfriend infected along with a vampire chained to a wall. She stages a rescue and then decides to head to the closest Coldtown with the two of them.
This is the kind of young adult fiction that adults can get just as much enjoyment as teenagers from. Tana is an exceptionally well-drawn character. She’s a normal teenager, but Black makes sure to give her strengths and weaknesses that become more and more apparent as the story progresses. It’s very believable and she seemed more realistic than many characters in YA or adult fiction.
Holly Black also excels at world building. If there were an actual vampire epidemic today, I could definitely see it turning out just like in this book. You can tell that Black put a lot of thought and care into developing Tana’s world. She’s a sharp writer and I’ll definitely be seeking out more of her work in the future.