By Holly Black
Available now from Little, Brown BFYR (Hachette)
Read my reviews of White Cat, Red Glove, and Geektastic
"…for the contingent out there who sneer at heroes like Superman and
Wonder Woman and Captain America, those icons who still, at their core,
represent selfless sacrifice for the greater good, and who justify their
contempt by saying, oh, it’s so unrealistic, no one would ever be so noble…
grow up. Seriously. Cynicism is not maturity, do not mistake the one
for the other. If you truly cannot accept a story where someone does the
right thing because it’s the right thing to do, that says far more
about who you are than these characters." - Greg Rucka
When Tana wakes up in the bathroom after a party, her main worry is embarrassment. Then she reaches the living room and discovers that everyone else who attended the party is dead, murdered by vampires. The only other survivor is her ex-boyfriend, tied up in a bedroom with a chained vampire. It's up to Tana to save herself and the boys before the sun sets. But what to do then?
I read Jen Ryland's review while I was reading THE COLDEST GIRL IN COLDTOWN, and I think she has what makes this book so great dead on. Tana does the right thing because it's the right thing, and it sends her life into utter craziness. But in the end she's rewarded for her actions, for her determination to save as many people as possible. The world of THE COLDEST GIRL IN COLDTOWN is dark and scary, but not grim. Nobility of spirit can stand against the monster within and without.
Look, I think Tana is just great all around. She's not the most secure girl - she's done things she was uncomfortable with just to impress a boy - or the cleverest - she's more act first, plan later. But she's brave, and loyal, and composed to a fault. And even if I didn't like Tana, I'd be in love with this world. Of course vampires are celebrities, despite their pesky habit of killing humans. Of course people blog about it and become minor celebrities in turn. You cannot accuse Holly Black of being out of step with modern technology. She combines vampires and cell phones in all the best ways.
The relationships in this novel are also delicious. Tana still has feelings for her ex, that selfish, silly, sweet boy. She's drawn to Gavriel, the vampire, who is hot, more than a little crazy, but who listens to her and tries to play by her rules. Then there are the two traveling companions they come upon, who are clearly doomed, but still worthy of Tana's attempts at protection.
If you've ever enjoyed a vampire story, give THE COLDEST GIRL IN COLDTOWN a chance. Black has made the vampire hot again.