When Tana wakes up in a bathtub, she’s more concerned about what embarrassing things she did at the party last night. What she finds downstairs is only the start of her problems. She’s not unfamiliar with the horror of going cold. Her mother was bit when she was only a little girl; the craving for blood became too much and now Tana blames herself for her death. Because vampires are in town and being bitten is not as glamorous as it seems in the movies…

Holly Black’s vision of a world with vampires in the public eye is full of interesting elements. The spread of vampirism was a mistake and it’s treated as a disease with quarantines in special Coldtowns. Going cold is treated in a way similar to junkies and withdrawals; it’s not in any way glamorised, despite the TV shows broadcast from the Coldtowns which draw in groupies whose lives will be forever changed. Those going cold are almost zombie like.

Each chapter has a wonderful quote on the subject of death. I thought they were well chosen and added something to the book. In places, the video blogging culture reminded me a little of Mira Grant’s Feed. I always appreciate modern life creeping into fantasy books in this way. Of course people would be blogging about vampires if they existed and chasing them across the country in the quest for content.

I did feel too much time was spent on Aidan and Tana’s relationship at the start. He seemed like a vehicle to get her to a Coldtown rather than an integral character and I would have preferred more time given over to the rest of the back story; the culture around the vampires, how they came to be public and Gavriel’s past were all fascinating. I loved Gavriel; there’s something appealing about a deranged vamp when so many are depicted as sophisticated or charming. Although I suppose you can be deranged and sophisticated!

So it’s a bit slow to start but the second half had me gripped right up to the end. Tana’s choices are brave and the ending was perfect for me. It’s not often I think that (and I don’t know if this is a standalone or a series). I would like to read more but I am satisfied where it ended up.

The Coldest Girl in Coldtown is published by Indigo, the young adult imprint of Orion, and is available now in paperback and ebook editions. Thanks go to the publisher for providing a copy for review.

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Disclosure: I received a copy of this book free of charge for review purposes only. Receipt of a book does not guarantee a review or endorsement. My reviews are my honest opinion and are not biased for the purpose of personal gain.