Saturday, May 16, 2015

Jane and Sunny On: The Coldest Girl in Coldtown by Holly Black

This is a blog series where my sister and I discuss a book. We purposely choose books that are a bit older, that people have already read, so we can discuss them a bit more in depth and get your opinions in the comments. I like to think of it as a little book club between the two of us and all of you guys. That being said, this discussion is spoiler free. Today we're discussing The Coldest Girl in Coldtown by Holly Black.

Initial thoughts:
Jane: I gave it 4/5 on Goodreads. I liked the take on vampires and the world.
Sunny: Ditto. It seemed really fresh and I could lose myself in the world.
Jane: I also really liked Tana and Gavriel’s relationship
S: Ooo! Yes! I definitely felt the chemistry there.

Reading Experiences:
S: We both listened to it on audio book
J: Well, I read about ten pages in the physical book.
S: Did you have a preference?
J: I started listening to it on audio, so it was a little hard to read it because I was so used the narrator and the different voices.
S: The audio book was pretty good, except for the weird background music.
J: Oh yeah, like the spooky music at the end of the parts? Or the random dance music?
S: Yeah. Did you think it really enhanced the story?
J: I found the spooky music annoying, but the dance music in the party scenes was okay.
S: A few times the spooky music faded in really slowly and scared me. I remember ripping out my headphones at one part, when I was listening to it at home alone, because I thought it was in the house.
J: *Laughs*
S: It was scary.
J: It was corny!
S: Hm. MOVING ON! So as a newbie audiobook listener, was this a good introduction to it?
J: Yes, the narrator was good and it was a lot easier to follow than I thought it would be.
S: I succeeded in bringing you into the land of audio books!
J: *Nods*

A whole new world...of audio books.

The Vampires:
S: So did we like Black’s portrayal of vampires?
J: I liked that they weren't Twilight vampires.
S: Always a plus.
J: And that they were considered dangerous and monsters.
S: I agree. I’m not really into supernatural stuff, but I liked the way these vampires were written. Scary, but not too scary. Kind of creepy, but classy, but with an edge to them.
J: I didn't feel like I was reading another teen vampire novel.
S: Exactly; they felt fresh. Kudos to Holly Black for that.

The Setting:
S: Let’s talk about setting. Personally, it really stood out to me.
J: Yeah. It was kind of post-apocalyptic, in the way that the vampire disease swept the population. But at the same time there weren't buildings in ruins.
S: That was actually really interesting to me. The story felt current. The technology and way of life felt like it was set in a typical 2015 North American world.
J: It was more of an alternate universe or reality.
S: Yeah, I liked that. It was different from the normal post-apocalypse stuff where they’re a hundred years in the future. But it still had that feeling of a brave new world.
J: I also really liked the resort thing they stopped at before going to Coldtown.
S: The truck stop?! I wouldn't say it’s a resort.
J: Whatever. I liked the touristy feel of it and how people were making money off the whole thing. I felt like that could actually happen.
S: Definitely some social commentary there. I just liked how grimy it all felt. The scene where she takes the shower is….*shivers* gross.

S: Holly Black did a really good job of immersing the reader in the somewhat terrifying world.
J: Which to clarify, is a good thing.
S: Definitely. 

The Characters:
S: Now for the good stuff: the characters. Who was your favourite?
J: I really liked Gavriel
S: Of course you did.
J: *Laughs* I liked Tana too. She didn't annoy me like the average heroine in a teen vampire novel sometimes does.
S: I think it’s sad that our standard is “She didn't annoy me”
J: We’re terribly jaded on this topic. But what I liked about Tana was that she didn't make a lot of stupid decisions that were like “What was that?!”
S: I agree. Because there’s bad choices that characters make, and there’s choices that make you think they have peanuts for a brain.
J: Let’s move onto Tana and Gavriel! I really liked the relationship.
S: I liked it, but it was more of a guilty pleasure. Like, I didn't find it particularly well written or well crafted. I just found it entertaining.
J: But that’s a lot of Holly Black’s books. She spends more time on the actual plot and action, then in the end she ties up relationships. I think this book would have suffered if they focused more on the relationship. It might turn into the Bella-Edward “stay away, but I love you” stuff.

S: I think it worked because Gavriel’s character was strong, and so was Tana’s, on their own. So those two pieces together made an enjoyable, yet somewhat average romantic subplot.
J: I would agree with that. I would have been okay if they hadn't ended up together.
S: Or if it was left unresolved.
J: Don't go crazy there, Sunny.
S: Speaking of unresolved, can we just appreciate that this was a standalone novel.
J: YES!! Thank you Holly Black for writing a standalone teen fantasy novel.
S: They’re few and far between.

S: In conclusion, let’s discuss why we both docked it a star. I have a feeling we’re on the same page.
J: I wasn't too thrilled with Pearl’s story-line. I don’t feel like she added too much to the story.

S: She was underutilized. I kind of feel like she was only there to humanize Tana and show a softer side of her. Kind of like the Katniss volunteering for Prim trick in the Hunger Games.
J: Yeah. I would have liked it more if she played a smaller role in the book.
S: All and all her character just felt kind of pointless. I think there could have been minor alterations to create stronger reasoning for Tana to do what she does in the end. I know that’s vague, but I don’t want to spoil things. In case someone is reading this who hasn't read the book.
J: But overall, I'd say we both really enjoyed this book.
S: And I would agree! I'm curious to read more of Black's books. 

Have you read any other Holly Black books? Is this in your TBR pile? Do you appreciate standalone novels? Let me know in the comments what you thought of The Coldest Girl in Coldtown and how you feel about each of these subtopics (or create your own!). Let's discuss!

Before I sign off, I wanted to mention a few housekeeping items. First, the Bookshelf Link-Up that I'm hosting is open for another four days (until May 19), so if you're interested in participating, click here. Second, the Readership survey is still open if you'd like to give your feedback on SOI (see sidebar for link).

Reading: People You'd Trust Your Life To by Bronwen Wallace
Listening: City in Colour 
Watching: Person of Interest


  1. Sounds interesting! I was just introduced to audiobooks as well. It's a....weird....transition, but hopefully I'll get used to it!

    I'll have to do a follow up check on Goodreads for this one :)

    Ally @ The Scribbling Sprite

    1. Audio books definitely take some getting used to, but so worth it. I find that I read twice as much as I did before audio books, because I can utilize all my down time. I hope they work out for you!

  2. Hahahha there is MUSIC in the audiobook version! Hahah! I've been meaning to pick this up, I even borrowed it from the library but then didn't have time to read it. This is definitely a book that will change my view on YA vampires, because Twilight ruined that for me :P

    1. Twilight kind of ruined it for me too which is why it took me so long to read this! Black totally redeems it. You should definitely pick this one up again!


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