Book Review #34: The Coldest Girl in Coldtown by Holly Black

Wednesday, 22 April 2015
Product details:
Publisher: Indigo
Format: Paperback
Length: 419 pages
Published: 2013
Rating: ☆
Source: Purchased

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.

Ah this is a tricky book for me to try and review because as much as I don't want to admit this, I couldn't finish this book. I got to page 221 and I just had to give in, I wasn't enjoying the book, it was getting me down and putting me in a right reading slump. It would literally sit on my bedside table for days and every time I looked at it I found something else to do, just to avoid picking it back up. So why did I feel this way about it? Surely after loving Holly Black's The Darkest Part of the Forest I should have scooped this up with no problems, and everyone seems to love this novel just that little bit more. I just couldn't - there was no enjoyment in me reading it what so ever. So without further ado and without completely slating this book, what did I think of it?

Plot wise I thought this book was quite unstructured - and by this I don't necessarily mean that everything was all over the place, no what I mean is more that I saw each element of the story to branch off by itself without ever really completing it. For example; I thought the beginning of the novel was absolutely brilliant. The setup was clean (metaphorically) and structured and it really gripped me as a reader, I was extremely intrigued at the premise of waking up after a party to find all of your friends are dead, killed by vampires who plague the world. It immediately had me sitting there going 'woah, now that is an introduction!' It really resonated with me that Holly Black was kicking off with such a dramatic and memorable opening, especially as that was a feature I commented about after finishing The Darkest Part of the Forest - that the beginning could have done with a bit more of a wow factor. From then the story seemed to be progressing at a decent enough pace for me to stay focused, and when the siblings Midnight and Winter showed up I thought they added a decent element to the story and I was excited to see what was going to happen when they got to the Coldtown. That's where it started to go seriously downhill. I don't think I even managed to get 50 pages further from when they entered the Coldtown to where I put the book down. The elements became predictable and the backstories of characters I didn't care about started to take over the chapters, and it was definitely not something I was intrigued to read about. It was just a disappointment that the last half or so wasn't as good as the first, especially as it caused me to give up on this book. I even gave this book multiple chances to get back into it, but it just wasn't gripping or exciting enough for me to warrant to continue. The least I was expecting from the ending was some sort of society blending , but I guess with mad blood driven vampires you can't expect a very happy ending. Due to the fact that I never even got to the ending I resolved to looking up the rest of the plot on Wikipedia of all sites and the remaining plot from where I left off did not excite me in the slightest or give me any urge to want to continue.

In terms of characters and my attachments to them, there were non. Literally I did not care about any of the characters. Tana was enjoyable at the beginning and she was alright as a main protagonist, but I just couldn't connect to any of her decisions. All of her decision making processes seemed to be different and very unstructured in reasoning. Aiden I had no sympathy for what so ever. Tana described him as a jack-ass character and that's all I could see him as - no romantic potential what so ever. Gavriel's character was extremely flat, no depth at all besides the endless backstories that frankly I skipped quite often. I don't know what it was about him but I felt that the story could quite easily have been told if he wasn't a part of it.  I would have much preferred it if it was just a road trip to Coldtown with Tana and Aiden, with the few people they meet along the way in the search of a cure or the possibility of living harmoniously. 

So overall it is a real shame that I was disappointed by this book because I had such high hopes of it. Unfortunately this book left me in a real reading slump and it took me Eleanor & Park to try and lift me out of it. Will this book stop me from continuing with any of Holly Black's work? No. I still thoroughly enjoyed The Darkest Part of the Forest and I loved The Iron Trial co written by herself and Cassandra Clare. I guess this will just be a book that I don't ever come back to and just sits on my shelf, or it'll be one I'll try to re-read sometime in the distant future because in reality, it was a different take on the vampire genre. For what I read of it, I give The Coldest Girl in Coldtown by Holly Black a 2 out of 5 stars on my classification scale, hopefully someone else will find it more enjoyable than I did.

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