The Coldest Girl in Coldtown - Holly Black image
1.5 stars
Please note that I didn't manage to read the last thirty pages (approx) because, in short, I just couldn't do it. I feel really sad about [b:The Coldest Girl in Coldtown|12813630|The Coldest Girl in Coldtown|Holly Black||17962903] as it was easily in my top five most anticipated books of 2013. Since the end of Black's Curse Worker series, I've been desperate to get my hands on anything and everything she writes and I confess to still loving a good vampire novel when it's being told by a capable author. And I gave this book every chance to turn it around. I really did. Because I wanted so badly to love it. I turned every page expecting the wow factor to be just around the corner... and it never was.

Some people have pointed out the similarities between [b:The Immortal Rules|10215349|The Immortal Rules (Blood of Eden, #1)|Julie Kagawa||15114912] and the goodreads description for [b:The Coldest Girl in Coldtown|12813630|The Coldest Girl in Coldtown|Holly Black||17962903], so I'd just like to clear that up: the books have nothing in common beyond the vampires. This book feels set in a world more like our own, in a future where vampirism has spiralled out of control and become an epidemic. Coldtowns have been set up to house these creatures of the night and humans are forced to exercise caution after night falls... or risk becoming infected or dead themselves. The protagonist is Tana, a teenage girl who carries the guilt of being responsible for her mother becoming a vampire. Sound okay? Yeah, I thought so too.

To give credit where it's due, the first chapter is excellent. It opens with Tana waking up in a bathtub after a night of heavy drinking and partying. Head banging, she stumbles across the house to discover the horrific fate that has befallen her friends and quickly realises that she could very well be next. The story after that moves at a snail's pace; in fact, one might argue that it is non-existent for the majority of the book. I really do hate a plotless novel. A huge percentage of the book is made up of world-building info-dumps and flashbacks to Tana's childhood and the time when her mother became a vampire. Even when I was 75% through the book, I felt like the story had gone nowhere.

The most exciting aspect of the novel - and something that might save it for some readers - is Gavriel. Why hello there dark and sexy vamp! Even I perked up for a page during that hot makeout session (what can I say? I'm something of a fangbanger) and, despite what seems to be a typical bad boy vamp cliche, Black does offer several chapters of background story on Gavriel so he becomes more fleshed out than other similar love interests. But I think the constant halting of the non-existent present day story was mostly what ruined it for me. As well as being annoyingly plotless, it didn't flow. They were all meandering about, pretending to be doing interesting things, when suddenly it was like CUT... and in comes the info-dump about Coldtowns and how they came about and CUT... here comes the story of either Tana or Gavriel's past.

Very little happened in the present of the story beyond Tana and Gavriel going at it like horny little bunnies (I exaggerate, that might have been a better book). In fact, what is the story here? I read somewhere that the ending is really good, so is that when Black gives us the goods and lets us know where she's going with this? Perhaps. But the thing is, I'm really not sorry that I missed it. I did not care where the characters were headed in this book and I do not care what happens in the sequel. Sad times.