Tuesday, November 26, 2013

DNF Review: The Coldest Girl In Coldtown by Holly Black

The Coldest Girl in Coldtown
Goodreads Summary:  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.
The Coldest Girl in Coldtown is a wholly original story of rage and revenge, of guilt and horror, and of love and loathing from bestselling and acclaimed author Holly Black.
Goodreads / Amazon

Genre: Young adult, paranormal
Pages: 419
Publisher: Little Brown
Source: Bought e-book
Stopped at: Page 192

First Line: "Tana woke lying in a bathtub."

Favorite Quote: I don't really have one, honestly.


There are pretty much no words right now to describe the depth of my disappointment. From the first moment I read the summary of this book, I was excited for it. Although I have been getting a little tired of vampire stuff lately, I heard really good things about it as time went by. I'd also heard that Holly Black was a really good writer, and unfortunately I hadn't gotten around to reading any of her novels yet. And even though I was unable to finish this, I will admit that the writing is actually good. Her descriptions and just the way it flows is very nice, and it's for this reason alone that I'll probably try something else by her at some point (that and the fact that I own a copy of Tithe). Of course, had the writing been bad, I probably would have given up on this somewhere around page 100, rather than sticking it out for the extra 92. Please keep in mind that I didn't even complete half the book, so I'm only reviewing the portion I read.

The biggest issue I had with this was the pacing. The beginning chapter is really interesting; Tana has gone to a party and when she wakes up in the morning, everyone is dead as a result of a vampire attack. However, it was all downhill from there. After Tana escapes the house and decides to head to Coldtown with her companions because she may or may not be infected, boring after boring moment somehow finds its way into the book. The whole time the three of them were traveling together, I pretty much had to force myself to go back to the book. So much information is there that's not necessary at all; it could have easily been a fraction of the length it was. There's one part in particular where Tana stops at some gas station or something to get food and clothes. I - as the reader - was treated to a long description of exactly what kind of food was bought, and how Tana went about putting clothes on in the bathroom. Normally, this isn't something that would bother me that much, but like I said, the pointless descriptions seem to drag on. And on.

Despite the incredibly slow plot, I was determined to keep going because I had such high hopes for this story. However, adding to the fact that nothing interesting was happening was my dislike of pretty much all the characters. Tana somehow manages to be a detached, emotionless narrator while at the same time igniting endless amounts of fury within me. Usually if there's a protagonist that stirs no feeling in me whatsoever, I don't really care when they do something stupid. While this is true to an extent with The Coldest Girl In Coldtown, Tana's amazingly stupid actions left me with my mouth agape. It's awe-inspiring that this girl is alive, people. Personally, if I woke up in a house full of dead people, I would run out screaming as fast as physically possible while it was still daylight and the vampires couldn't come out. Tana is the opposite of me. She instead wonders the house until she stumbles upon her tied up ex-boyfriend and a chained up vamp she doesn't know. I could possibly see her freeing the boyfriend even if he was infected (which he clearly was) maybe because of lingering feelings or whatever. I would have accepted that. But she frees the vampire, too. It's not like he could have been one of the murderers or anything. Riiiight...

Luckily for Tana, Gavriel does not immediately slaughter both of them after having been released. Honestly, he was probably the most interesting dude in this book. His character is slightly typical, but I actually enjoyed reading the chapters that focused on his past. I probably would have continued on with this book just for him had I liked anyone else even a little bit. I hated Aiden on sight, especially after Tana explains how their "relationship" ended. I'm not really sure how the author intended for me to feel about him, but yeah. And those other two kids, Midnight and Winter, were not much better. Their obsession with dying and posting on the internet about their adventures was sickening, and I wished they would both fall off a very high cliff. Their personalities were the exact opposite of anyone I would like in real life, and any scene with either of them in it was an immediate put-off.

But back to my original point about Tana's dumbness. Once she gets into Coldtown with her "friends" she kisses Gavriel goodbye (even though she knows he borders on being completely nuts), which was stupid on its own. But then, knowing that he is hungry, she actually bites her own tongue to get it to bleed while they kiss. And this is after she decides that she wants to leave Coldtown with her marker if she can beat the infection, after her decision that she doesn't want to be turned into a vampire. Tana blatantly goes against her own choice by doing this, baits death - and possible turning if it wasn't happening already - eagerly. Gavriel easily could have killed her at that moment but once again by sheer dumb luck Tana is somehow left alive. She then goes to find shelter with some sketchy people in a bad neighborhood. At this point, I was tempted to bang my head against the wall or try to find some magical way into the book so I could strangle her. She eats her new hosts' food and stumbles away, realizing afterwards that she has been drugged. Well, gee Tana, who would have guessed that the creepy people in Coldtown where capable of such a bad thing? Ugh.

The Coldtowns by themselves are kind of cool, and part of what drew me to this book in the first place. The vampires are nothing new; they're actually a pretty basic version. They die in sunlight or with stakes, they drink blood and they're stronger and faster than humans. I don't think I would have minded that, though. The vamps in The Immortal Rules are very similar, but thing that makes them different is that I actually care about those characters. I really wish I could have loved this because the idea behind it was intriguing, but sadly there was no possible way I could have finished it.

1.5 stars

Books in this series:

Other Opinions: 

Strange Horizons
Cicely Loves Books
Books With Bite

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