Black, Holly: The Coldest Girl in Coldtown.
The Coldest Girl in Coldtown
Indigo, 2013, pp419, 8.99 [pounds sterling]
978 1 78062 129 6
Holly Black's take on a vampire story presents a world where vampirism is caught and spread like an infectious disease and where vampires and infected, or 'cold', humans are forced to live in walled cities called Coldtowns. In the Coldtowns quarantined vampires and humans co-exist in a sordid, decadent and bloodthirsty world where the 24-hour TV feeds, watched voraciously by the uninfected population, particularly the young, create an atmosphere of self-obsession as predators and prey circle each other endlessly.
Tana is the 'coldest girl' of the title and in a very gripping opening she awakes after an all-night party to find her fellow party-goers gruesomely slain by vampires, all except her ex-boyfriend, Aidan, who has been infected. She succeeds in rescuing him and Gavriel, a mysterious vampire who is being hunted by the killers. Following a bizarre road-trip the nearest Coldtown the group begin what passes for life in the walled city where intrigue, cruelty and death rule.
This is a dark, long and complex addition to the YA vampire novel genre and it continues the trend of inventing ever more complicated rules for vampirism and its spread and control. There are back stories for the vampire characters and for Tana herself, bitten by her own mother as a child. All the themes of adolescent self-obsession, self-destruction and sexual longing are there in a knowing mix of traditional vampire gore and modern celebrity culture. This is a novel for those older teenagers who still love these dark, dystopian fantasy tales and do not feel that the genre is overloaded.