Friday, October 18, 2013

Book Talk: THE COLDEST GIRL IN COLDTOWN by Holly Black

My book talks are coming at you from a librarian, not a reviewer. You won't find me talking about style or craft, why I think this could've been better or what worked or didn't work. I only do book talks on books I liked and want other people to know about. So if it's here I probably think it won't injure your brain if you read it.

The world is as you would expect it, high schools, coffee shops, cars and cellphones. But there's also Coldtowns, places walled off from the rest of society where full-blown vampires, and those who have gone cold - become infected with the vampirism virus but have yet to taste human blood and so have not turned - are sent to live in order to protect the living.

Tana and her friends know the risks of opening a window after dark, but a house packed with hot bodies during a weekend party overcomes caution, and Tana wakes in a locked bathroom to find that all of her friends have been slaughtered overnight. The only survivor is her obnoxious almost-ex boyfriend Aiden, who has been tied to a bed to serve as a snack later. In the same room is Gavriel, a vampire, inexplicably also chained up and asking to be released before he is slaughtered by the others.

Tana frees them both only to discover that Aiden has gone cold, and an old wound of her own was opened when she helped the boys escape. The trio heads for the nearest Coldtown, a place Aiden will be safe - even if he is lost to the rest of the world forever. Once you enter Coldtown, you don't leave.

On their way they run into a brother and sister pair of bloggers who are voluntarily entering Coldtown, hoping to be turned themselves and to blog about the experience. Tana's wound is bothering her, Aiden's urges are getting harder to control, as are the feelings Tana has for Gavriel. The group arrives at Coldtown to find a decadent lifestyle, with costumed vampires and humans walking around with shunts at parties, hoping to feed vampires and maybe earn the goodwill to be turned into one themselves.

Gavriel's history is catching up with them in the form of a powerful vampire who wants him dead for deeds committed thousands of years ago. Tana's past - the story of her old wound - comes to the surface while they wander the streets of Coldtown, a place where the dead mingle with the living and everything is broadcast on a live stream to the rest of the world.

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