The Coldest Girl in Coldtown - Holly Black
I wish I would have started reading Holly Black's books with something other than The Coldest Girl in Coldtown. I have read some of her short stories before, and I've heard only great things about her, but this book just really didn't do it for me.

Trigger warnings:
ablest language
ableism
unhealthy relationships
abuse
lots of gore, as you can expect

I came into this book with the promise that it “wasn't like other vampire books.” And as neat as the concept of coldtowns are (quarantined towns for vampires to live in), this book really didn't offer anything new to the vampire genre. There are ancient vampires feuding, speaking in formal, stiff language (because vampires who adapt technology and put live-feed cameras all over their houses surely can't adapt to language changes over the years), and a vampire who falls in love with a main girl–even creating a sort of love triangle. Even if it really didn't go anywhere.

The writing, though, is fantastic. Holly Black can really write some beautiful prose. It kind of borders on purple prose, but it's beautiful nonetheless. The only problem with this is that it does need to take you somewhere. The plot seems to wander rather than drive towards something. Characters drifted around this coldtown, and things happened, but they didn't seem to happen for a singular goal or anything focused like that.

I feel like this kind of book could have maybe stuck with just Tana's PoV, instead of venturing into other's: Gavriel's, Pearl's, etc. . . . especially because these didn't happen at times where it would make an impact. Flashbacks didn't occur on a need-to-know basis, and they felt more like filler than anything else. Maybe the alternate point of views/flashbacks are supposed to help distract from how aimless the plot seems to be, but they just seem to distract altogether.

This book also lacked in character development. Characters ended the same way they began (altogether unlikable). I'm not sure how I was even supposed to feel about the character Aiden, who is introduced as a rather abusive ex-boyfriend (who is also a very harmful and stereotypical representation of an unfaithful bisexual). Was there supposed to be a love triangle? The relationship between Tana and Aiden was left stagnating, and I'm not even sure why he was in the book in the first place.

There are other characters like Aiden, such as Valentina and Jameson, who add diversity to the cast (a trans girl and a Latino boy) but who also don't have any real character and don't offer anything to the book other than being convenient plot devices for the main character to use when she needs them. It all left me with a very tinny taste in my mouth, as if I were being robbed of something.

Maybe I am just completely done with vampire books, but this wasn't for me.