I don’t really tend to read a lot of vampire books anymore, especially when they’ve been labeled young adult. Holly Black’s The Coldest Girl in Coldtown is definitely an exception to that habit. I needed a break from flipping pages and wanted to get in a little bit of time gaming. When I saw The Coldest Girl in Coldtown available for an immediate audio book borrow from OverDrive, I decided to give it a shot. I’d heard of Holly Black, even if I hadn’t read any of her work.
Black’s novel takes vampirism and spreads it in the same manner that most post-apocalyptic novels spread the infectious diseases that create zombies. Vampires are romanticized, as they often are, especially in young adult books, and in this case, they no longer live in the shadows; rather, they have taken up residence in government organized areas known as Coldtowns. Those that have been infected with the vampire virus are also holed up within the walls of this cities, and there’s no shortage of food, because people are dying to get in.
Waking up after passing out at a party, the main character, a young woman named Tana, finds herself amidst a massacre: people she knows have been slaughtered by vampires. The only survivors are her, an ex-boyfriend, and a strange boy. Her ex is infected, and the boy is a vampire. Deciding to turn him in for a bounty, and worried that her ex will become a vampire himself, the trio travel to Coldtown. It isn’t long before Tana finds herself caught up in what could loosely be described as vampire politics. Amongst betrayal, she must persevere in order to guarantee her own survival.
The majority of the story is told from Tana’s perspective, with a few chapters written in Gavriel, the vampire’s, and another one, maybe two, from her younger sister’s, Pearl’s, point-of-view. These changes exist solely to expound on certain events that have led the characters to where they are, such as Gavriel’s past — which is, undoubtedly, one of my favorite parts of the book. Each chapter also begins with an excerpt, usually from a poem that deals with death, the undead, or vampires.
Voices make a huge impact on listening to audio books, especially for me. If I can’t stand the voice, I will not finish the book more than likely. In the case of The Coldest Girl in Coldtown, the narrator, Christine Lakin, is absolutely amazing. Her voice is pleasant to listen to, and there is a clear difference between the way each of the characters speak.
The Coldest Girl in Coldtown isn’t among my favorite reads, perhaps because I prefer more traditional approaches to vampires, but it is, undoubtedly, an fun journey. If you like your vampires a bit on the softer side of the spectrum, this one is definitely worth picking up.