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Comments for The Coldest Girl in Coldtown

The Coldest Girl in Coldtown: 11/24/14

cover art

The Coldest Girl in Coldtown by Holly Black is a standalone horror set in a world where vampires have infected a sizable chunk of the population and in the United States, walled cities have been set up as permanent quarantines. Into this mix we have Tana who wakes up after a bender of a party to find she's one of a very small number of survivors after vampires crashed the party and went on a killing spree. Fearing she's probably been infected and will turn cold (a step in the direction full-on vampirism) she sets out for the nearest coldtown, with a vampire as her bounty.

Here's where I'm torn and disappointed. The mechanism for how vampirism works was a unique twist. Rather than just being demonic possession type thing that results in an undying hunger for human blood, it's more of a virus that's gotten out of hand. Yes, the virus did originally come from vampires, but the transformation process is less instant and more painful. Also, the world building is noteworthy — entire areas being walled off with checkpoints and only the slimmest chance of escape. These are ghettos for eternity, for those who have turned, and death sentences for those who don't.

But then there's the temptation to have le sexy vampire and making him something epic, mythic, rebellious, and dangerous. Oh fuck, it's another Lestat. Why oh why did The Coldest Girl in Coldtown have to waste pages and pages and pages on le sob story of Gavriel's back story. I wasn't reading it for him. I don't care how important he is to the whole damn vampire experience; Tara should have staked him immediately so the story could get back to the interesting stuff.

Except, I should have seen it coming, because even early on before Gavriel derailed the plot, it seemed hung up on bizarre and inane details. During the drive to the coldtown, there's about a dozen references to Tara driving a black Crown Victoria. It's a detail that's screaming to be a Chekhov's gun, except that once we get to the coldtown, the car is abandoned. Potential call backs are wasted in lieu of Buffy and Angel fanfic. Barf.

Three stars

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