When I finished The Coldest Girl in Coldtown I was left with that feeling that you know books like this are few and far between. That you're afraid it's going to be ages until you find another one (though, admittedly the last one I read like this was The Dream Thieves). It's so fantastically well written and well rounded. Holly Black takes you into the world of the Coldtowns and society outside of them and does her best to show you all aspects of it. What the world has turned into with the revelation of vampires. She shows you how different kinds of people have reacted in different ways.
In some ways this book does the same sort of thing that the 5th Wave and World War Z do where it explores the way that people respond to something that completely alters society in a really long term way. It's how the respond at a base level to something personally impacts each of them.
Tana is a brilliant heroine. She's so realistic. Sarcastic but not
overly so. She's prone to hysterical giggling and slow conclusions. She
does what she needs to but never really sees what she's doing as heroic,
simply necessary. She falls and struggles back up, she's fantastic. We get to see her progress in a really natural fashion seeing as how the book only takes place over a couple of days.
Aidan acted as an excellent catalyst for the events that happened because, while he was an ass, he was still a link to all of the people that Tana lost at the party. She is too noble to let him go, no matter what he does. Not until they're both ready. But it's his actions and desires that drive Tana's own actions through much of the book. It's her reacting to him. They work so well together because I don't necessarily see Tana acting on these impulses without a tie back to her old life at stake.
Gavriel. Gavriel is wonderful. He remind me a little of Myrnin from Morganville but more seductive and a little less crazy. He tries to put himself back together and you can see it happening. You can see him rebuilding as much of his old self as he can. But such horrific things have happened to him. I loved how much he just sort of went along with things. His trip would have been faster if he has just been taken by Elisabet but he decides to go along with Tana and Aidan. He's witty and clever and a perfect match for Tana. They don't have time to put up with games and neither of them wants to play with the other. He will make sure she gets what she needs and she makes sure he stays himself. It's a really interesting balance they have.
Midnight and Winter were an interesting view of fanaticism. Particularly, Midnight. Her obsession with vampires leads her down a really rocky path. She was a really awesome example of what happens when people refuse to see what's wrong with an idea. When they romanticize it so much that they become blind.
The past that Black gives Gavriel, Lucien, and Elisabet is awesome and very reminiscent of Anne Rice. They traveled together and reeked havoc. They're all incredibly damaged and broken and twisted. I think there's something particularly fascinating about Lucien because he chooses such broken, wrathful people to turn. After he does that he toys with then and tried to break them even further.
I love the dual view of mercy in this book. That mercy can be a force just as destructive as it can be kind. that Gavriel sentenced all of these people to these horrific fates by being merciful. But at the same time,Tana's mercy is what saves Gavriel from falling into the insanity that held him for so long.
I would really love to read more about this world.I know we got the short story, already,but just more. I love the society and the new versus old world vampires. And I wouldn't say no to more Gavriel and Tana, even though I rather liked the open end of the book. It's just fascinating, much in the same way that the world she created in The Curse Workers is.
Obviously, this book get's a rating of Beyond Epic.
I am just so impressed. I mean, I never really doubted. It's Holly Black.