Coldtown was dangerous, Tana knew. A glamorous cage, a prison for the damned and anyone who wanted to party with them.
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. And 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.
Just when I begin to wonder if it’s possible to like every single book an author writes, Holly Black strikes again and seems to prove the theory in her case.
This time we are a far cry from the world of faeires that she’s so intricately built and in one novel gives us a new timeline sans faeries and all about…vampires.
The best part is the progression of vampirism, to have some sort of not necessarily evolution but trajectory of the world and vampires, and their place, within it.
Vampires lived hidden in the shadows, having a delicate ecosystem of their own with certain rules. There were those who were older and led, and those who were ‘lucky’ enough to be turned by them.
But something’s happened in the passing years, along the lines the rules were broken. Someone began to feed and turn more and more people into vampires, and doing it in such a sloppy process that it gave birth to a slightly weaker version of the species. But weakness doesn’t matter when they outnumber and outrank humans, and the solution becomes a grim one.
Coldtowns are made from cities, places to quarantine these new multitudes of vampires.
They say there’s a cure if you can go 80 days without feeding off a human, you’ll go cold, but you won’t change and if you can hold off, you may be human yet again.
The quarantine towns seem a bit apt given the situation that is 2020 and so that was eerily mirrored to our current reality.
Tana knows all about the horrors of watching someone you love going cold, but, life is hard for many now and after living through one tragedy, she wakes up to another.
What was supposed to be just a fun part is the site of a massacre. Everyone is dead, everyone aside from Tana’s exasperating and charming ex, and a mysterious vampire that seems to be in need of rescuing as much as Tana and her ex.
What ensues after this escape from the massacre is a pretty great roadtrip to a pretty grim place, a Coldtown. Tana’s ex is going cold, the vampire wants to go to the Coldtown for his own reasons, and Tana worries she might be going cold too but can’t tell. Only problem is that if she goes into Coldtown unless she has a bounty to cash in, she’ll be stuck there permanently, whether she’s cold or not.
They meet a plethora of characters on the way into/inside Coldtown and they’re as alive as the rest of the characters that Holly Black has created amongst her novels.
I loved Tana’s strength, she’s tempted by what she sees, by the coldness she thinks may be creeping in her veins. Her kindness both damns her and saves her in equal measures and her journey through Coldtown proves her inner-strength is enough to overcome almost anything and that her kindness is part of that strength at the end of the day.
This was a modern day spooky treat, Tana was the perfect MC and the darkness of this story was glorious.
It’s a bit gothic Anne Rice meets a dystopia where the disease is something so many seem to want to sign-up for. A rather believable dystopia in that sense.
The pacing was a bit at odds at the beginning but it really takes off once Tana is in the Coldtown, and others may not enjoy the road-trip to get there, but I did.
4/5 massive cups of coffee, so glad I could cross this off my tbr finally, and absolutely no regrets other than I wish I hadn’t waited so long!