Author: Holly Black
Publisher: Little, Brown Books for Young Readers, 432 pages
Publication Date: September 3, 2013
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. The only problem is, 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.
This book hooked me from the very beginning. Holly Black's world of vampires is dark, twisted, and unique. I know it sounds ridiculous to say that a vampire book is realistic, but the way humans reacted to vampires rang so true. The fact that we would have reality shows about vampire hunters, the fact that people would watch live feeds from Coldtown where the vampires were seen as celebrities. I can so see that happening. And people traveling to Coldtown in the hopes of being turned. Again, I can see that happening.
Tana is an incredible character. She's strong, caring, and forced to adapt and figure out a way to survive. What she does in the beginning, saving Aidan and Gavriel, tells you about the type of person she is. And Gavriel...swoony, dangerous, on the edge of madness, he's a fantastic character. There were so many amazing secondary characters that I wish this book was part of a series so that we could get to know them better (I know I know, I complain about how no books are stand-alones and now I'm complaining that this book is not a stand-alone). But I really do want to read more about this world.
And I loved the way they struggled to understand vampirism. "There's something easy about the idea that vampirism is some kind of disease--then they can't help it that they attack us, that they commit murders and atrocities, that they can only control themselves sometimes. They're sick; it's not their fault. And there's something even easier about the idea of demonic invasion, something forcing our loved ones to do all manner of terrible things. Still not their fault, only now we can destroy them. But the third option, the possibility that there's something monstrous inside of us that can be unleashed, is the most disturbing of all. Maybe it's just us, us with raging hunger, us with a couple of accidental murders under our belt. Humanity, with the training wheels off the bike, carrying down a steep hill. Humanity, freed from the constraints of consequence and gifted with power. Humanity, grown away from all things human."
Even if you're sick of vampires, I would recommend this book. My only complaint is that it is left a bit open, and my understanding is that it is meant to be a stand-alone. I really just want to know what happens to...can't say anything more or it will spoil it. But I guess we're supposed to end up believing that, no matter what, things work out. I guess.
Posted by: Pam