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.
Miss Riki’s Review:
Just when I thought I was completely over vampires in young adult literature, here comes Holly Black with a totally new and exciting take on the familiar trope. This book was absolutely engaging and fresh, with vivid descriptions of setting and unforgettable characters with sizzling chemistry. The story is completely original and breathes new life into the paranormal genre.
In this novel, after an epidemic of vampirism breaks out, Florida citizens live in fear of being bitten and infected. They quarantine those humans who have been infected and the vampires who hunt them in walled off portions of the city called Coldtowns. These towns are an equal mix of feared squalor and rich opulence where humans and monsters mingle together in a deadly dance. When Tana wakes up to find herself in a terrifying situation, surrounded by her brutally murdered friends, she makes the unusual choice to save the life of not only her infected ex-boyfriend, but the vampire boy chained up beside him. Together, they make a visit to Coldtown where Tana faces off with the most dangerous vampires to ever live in a terrifying and bloody encounter.
Holly Black is a master at characterization and world building and manages to elicit sympathy and care for even the most dangerous and deadly of creatures. Somehow, despite his tendency to maim any human in his path, the love interest Gavriel is swoon-worthy and desirable. He’s dark and deadly in every way, yet Tana sees the good in him and manages to draw out humanity where it had long gone dormant. The romance is by all means not the central storyline in this book, which was refreshing. There’s a nice undercurrent of romance throughout, but the story is really about Tana and the survival of her friends and family.
Black doesn’t shy away from the vivid and often bloody descriptions of violence in the book. Oh, the blood! It’s really everywhere, and rightfully so. This is a vampire novel, after all! I was thoroughly freaked out and on the edge of my seat for good portions of the action and the book left me with that delicious creeped out feeling.
With intriguing plot twists and gorgeous description, Holly Black has brought back the vampire novel in a unique and exciting way. It’s exciting and gory and will have you turning pages long into the night.