Holly Black takes readers to Coldtown, where Vampires rule, human are there for their blood but hoping to make the eternal turn:
It was supposed to be just another summer party, that was until a window was left open by mistake. Tana awakes in the bathtub, and thinks it must have been some party. As she leaves the bathroom, things do not make much sense, where is everyone? When she enters the living room, she sees the horrors that unfolded in the night. All her friends are drained of blood, there is chaos everywhere. As Tana struggles to come to terms with what has happened she hears cries for help from the bedroom. Her ex-boyfriend is there tied to the bed, bitten and the soon to be snack for the vampire chained in there. Tana has a decision to make, does she flee and try to find help but risk Adian dying or help those in the room. Tana chooses to stay and help which changes her life is forever.
This was a good read, what would have made this an exceptional read is not having the main female character fall for the crazy vampire (and I mean legit crazy, was tortured to be crazy and now has very few sane moments). I get that this romantic connection or fascination that Tana feels towards Gabriel fuels many of the decisions that Tana makes and even to some extent Gabriel too but urggghhh I just don't get it. I get that Black was trying to un-pretty the vampire genre a bit when this book was written, but she still had this dysfunctional relationship in here book but all the vampires are still beautiful. While the setting of a Coldtown is nothing fancy sound more like a slum at points, the Vampires themselves are still beautiful. Other than that I really enjoyed this book.
In this world when you are bitten by a Vampire you have 87 days to not drink human blood. If you make it that long you don't turn you go back to human (I believe, not sure if you are forever changed but the hunger will have passed). The catch is the longer you stay "cold" the more you thirst for blood and basically become crazy with the need of it, so I'm guess not a lot make it that far. Hence the need for the creation of Coldtowns. A place where people can go after they are bitten so that they do not harm anyone else. Problem is once you enter a Coldtown it's almost impossible to get out, for a human.
Black’s concepts of coldtowns was interesting with the perceived safety and regulations they present to the human populations. The have created a reserve type system but with way more regulations and lacking of some modern conveniences and foods. It was also interesting that some of the towns were just created while the human population was still living there so you have people that will never be able to escape. Black also did a great job at highlighting the use of social media and how this affects not only how people think but act as well, and the misrepresentation that is often presented in this medium, not everything is rainbows and gum drops which many of our characters quickly learn. Additionally, some of the vampires have used social media in order to not only promote themselves, but entice humans to come join them in Coldtowns where they do need a constant supply of blood. I think that this quite smart of them, using social media to create a fascination with them and to keep the blood supply up, even though the older Vampires did not see it this way.
Tana is a character you can really feel for and get behind (you know minus the whole falling for the crazy vampire thing, but she is a teenager, so I guess that is excepted). She is loyal, take charge, brave and will do what is best for others before herself. She is always on the lookout for her younger sister and wants to make sure that she is protected and she makes quite a few of her decisions, especially in the beginning of the book, with this in mind.
I'm not sure if this book will pan out to be a series or not but I think there are some elements here that could be further explored and I would pick up the book if there was a second. That said the book did come to a conclusion and overall I did enjoy the book especially Black's writing style.
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