by Holly Black
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. (Description from Goodreads.com)
This one's been sitting on my shelves for more than a year and a half now...and I'd been stoked to read it when I got it at BEA! I love Holly Black's writing and I knew if I was going to read any more vampire fiction (I've been sort of anti-vampire in the last couple of years...) that she would be the author to trust for quality and a twist on the traditional genre.
In fact, I started this book by listening to the audio and from the moment that Tana woke up in a bathtub at a Daylight Party gone wrong, I was hooked. The characters are fascinating. Each one either trying to hide or embrace the darkest parts of themselves and still not really knowing exactly how dark life (or in this case, the afterlife) can get. Black manages to keep readers on the edge of their seat, constantly drawing Tana to a place that could mean safety, only to pull the rug out from under her again and again.
I was awed at how strong a character she was...often I wonder how I would react in the scenes I read. I know that if the events that occurred in Tana's life were to happen to me, I would have instantly been vampire food, but she manages through wit and grim determination to triumph again and again. She truly is the "Coldest Girl in Coldtown." I would LOVE to read a follow up to this book to see exactly where the next part of her adventure takes her... to see how she manages to defy what seems to be the only options before her, time and again.
Is there a book two? Does anyone know?
Full disclosure: Book from my Personal Library (ARC received at BEA 2013)/Audiobook borrowed from the Library