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The Coldest Girl in Coldtown - Holly Black
"If she was going to die, she might as well die sarcastic.  She'd seen a lot of old movies, and that was definitely the way to go out."
Every time I think I'm done with vampire books, my favorite authors pull me back in with their own twist on this paranormal creature.  Unlike The Immortal Rules, which I've seen this book compared to on occasion, The Coldest Girl in Coldtown occurs in a more present-day setting, not years from now when the vampire epidemic has already reduced the human population to nothing.  There are five major Coldtowns set up across the US, where vampires and those who have gone cold -- who've been infected by a vampire's bite -- are sent to spend the rest of their days in order to keep the rest of human civilization safe.  Humans must also take extra precaution after nightfall because all of the usual vampire stigmas are present in this novel: sunlight is a no-no, holy water and stakes will kill them, and, of course, they vant to suck your blooooood.

Anyway, I received a review copy from the publisher, but after enjoying the Curse Workers series on audio so much, I decided to download the audiobook for The Coldest Girl in Coldtown.  A search on Audible showed me that I've never listened to Christine Lakin narrate a novel because this is the only one listed under her name, but I would definitely give future audiobooks narrated by her a chance.  She presented Tana in such a matter-of-fact way, much the way I envisioned her:  direct and to the point.

Tana's situation is very different.  She's been bitten before and survived.  So when an attack at a sundown party -- which sounds like a terrible idea to me, when vampires are running rampant -- results in a small bite on her leg, she has faith that she can fight the infection again.  I rather love the self-deprecating character, the one who's humble and never gives up no matter how the odds are stacked against them. Much like Cassel Sharpe in the Curse Workers series taking on ruthless mobsters, Tana ends up taking on some of the most powerful vampires she could ever cross paths with.

The Coldest Girl in Coldtown is Tana's journey to the Coldtown in Springfield.  She hopes to wait out the infection there, along with her ex-boyfriend Aidan who has gone cold after the attack at the same party where Tana was infected.  Along the way, they meet a vampire and an amateur blogger/filmmaker brother and sister duo, all headed in the same direction.  It was the vampire Gavriel that captivated me the most. Give this girl a hottie with a Russian accent, especially one who seems to be channeling Dimka, and you have a fan for life.  (Not that I wasn't already a super fan of Black's other work.)

I loved the background we get on each of the characters as the story progresses, though I did wish this information would have been provided as dialogue between characters rather than flashbacks.  Whenever one of these flashbacks would occur, the transition between character perspectives was hard to decipher on the audio without some sort of heading preceding them.  Though, that's not to say that these flashbacks didn't provide valuable insight into the characters and their motivations.  I could have done without Pearl as a character on the whole, but her presence was necessary in order for that ending to play out the way it did. And so I can also see why it was necessary to include her present-day perspective at times, despite how boring it might have been.  I just didn't much care for what was going on outside of Coldtown at the time.

I was pleasantly surprised by that ending.  It wasn't perfect, but it was fitting for these particular characters.  I really hope this remains a stand-alone.  I'm left with a sense of satisfaction that I read another vampire book that might just revitalize this overdone creature and make me love vampires again.  Maybe.  For now, I like that this book showed both sides of vampires:  sexy and glamorous but also dangerous and sadistic.  In other words, fun to read about, but I hope I never truly cross paths with one.

Thanks to Little, Brown BFYR & Netgalley for providing a review copy.

This review can also be found at The Starry-Eyed Revue.