I do not think that there can ever be enough books about anything and I say that knowing that some of them are going to be about Pilates.The more knowledge the better seems like a solid rule of thumb, even though I have watched enough science fiction films to accept that humanity’s unchecked pursuit of learning will end with robots taking over the world.-Sarah Vowell

Friday, May 13, 2016

The Coldest Girl In Coldtown by Holly Black


Even if you have sworn to never read another vampire novel, you should read this one.  Unlike the others where the vampires are sexy with tortured souls who only need to be loved, this one puts the tale in the stark reality of what vampires really are: amoral, bored immortals for whom humans are either a snack or a toy, and surviving means treading a fine line.  If you become bitten by a vampire, you become Cold.  You will know if you are Cold within forty-eight hours and then, if you do not drink blood for eighty-eighty days, you will remain human.  If you do not, you will become a vampire.  Another way to become a vampire is to drink from a very old vampire more than once. 

Once you are Cold, if you're family have not locked you up in the basement for the duration, hoping for your survival, or if you become a vampire, you must go to a Coldtown.  The TV and live video feeds of the most famous Coldtown, in Springfield, Massachusetts, is run by an old vampire named Lucien, where he makes the life of Coldtown appear alluring to those on the outside.  But once you enter Coldtown, infected or not, you need a token to get tested to get out.  You can have others on the outside raise money to provide you with one, or you can get one for turning in a vampire.

At the beginning of this book, Tana wakes up in the bathtub of a farmhouse of a friend, where she had been at a party the night before, only to discover that everyone is dead, except her now ex-boyfriend, who is tied to a bed with a vampire tied in special chains against a wall.  The vampire tries to tell her that Aiden has been bitten and to be careful, but she ignores him and removes the duct tape from his mouth and almost gets bitten.  So when the vampire warns her that there are other vampires in the building still and that she must get out, she takes both of them, Aiden and Gavriel.  She puts the vampire in the trunk to both protect him from the sun and them from him.  On her way  out the window getting them out, a vampire's teeth scratch her leg and she realizes she might be infected.

Tana's mother was infected when she was ten and after hearing her beg for help for thirty-four days, she steals her father's keys to the basement and goes down, only to have her mother begin to gnaw at her arm.  Luckily her dad is there to swing a shovel and decapitate her mother.  You cannot get infected by someone infected, only through a vampire.  This left her and her young sister Pearl without either parent, as her father sunk into a deep depression over the ordeal. 

To save her family and her future plans she has with her remaining friend, she heads to Coldtown.  At the last stop gas station, they meet Midnight and Winter, a girl and boy twins who have been waiting for years to go to Coldtown to become vampires.  Midnight keeps a blog with a video feed.  She is not even scared when Aiden loses it for a moment and takes a chunk out of her throat.  Tana plans on turning Gavriel in, who wants to go there, so she can get a token to get out, when she is clear of the infection. 

But Coldtown is not what it seems.  Its a dog-eat-dog world.  Gavriel gives Tana some money and a very valuable garnet necklace.  She uses the money to buy supplies after escaping the room Midnight and her friends have placed her and Aiden in, hoping that he will feed off her and become a vampire and turn them.  The only reason she goes back is that Aiden has her token.  When she does come back, all hell has broken loose.

With the help of Jameson, a young man who helps others in need, and Valentin, a girl who works in a pawn shop and loves Jameson.  Tana is forced to go to the Grand Ball in Lucien's compound in order to find Aiden and get her token back.  What she sees is horrible acts of violence and depravity of the worst kind.  Somewhere is Gavriel, who turns out to be the Thorn of Istra, a vampire who worked for the master vampire, Spider to rid the world of "accidents" such as those who get infected and must be put down before the world can discover their existence.  This ends when a vampire named Carlos, goes around the United States infecting people left and right, who they in turn infected others, leading to Coldtowns and the discovery of vampires.  Gavriel was put in a prison and tortured beyond anything you can imagine and becomes insane, though he does have his lucid moments.  Gavriel was turned by Lucien and he is seeking payback. 

Tana comes to care for Gavriel and he for her, but both know it's a set up for failure.  By the time you get to the end of this book, and yes it does have an ending of sorts, you will be demanding a sequel.  This book was published in 2013 and I can only hope that Black has just finished a sequel and will be publishing it soon.  You become so attached to these characters and invested in the story that you do not want it to end.  If she does not write a sequel soon, she will be hearing from me, and I hope you as well, because this book demands one.

Link to Amazon: http://www.amazon.com/Coldest-Girl-Coldtown-Holly-Black/dp/0316213098?ie=UTF8&keywords=the%20coldest%20girl%20in%20coldtown&qid=1463143450&ref_=sr_1_1&s=books&sr=1-1

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