Publisher: Little Brown
Publication Date: September 3rd 2013
Source: ALA Annual 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 is the first Holly Black book that I have read, and after the things I had heard about her books I had some high hopes for this book. I really enjoyed this book four about the first three quarters, but unfortunately the ending was not for me. The world that was built in this book is really what made this book for me, while some of the other aspects are what brought it down.
The summery of this books is a bit deceiving. Notice how the summer uses the words Monsters and Predators, just skittering around what this book is really about- Vampires. When I figured out this was a vampire book a few pages in I was immediately weary. I can understand why they wouldn't put the word vampire on the back of the book, there have been quite a few bad vampire books out there, but it still really got to me. After I got into the book a little more I started to think that this really wasn't one of the terrible vampire stories that I had been worried it would turn out to be.
Once I started to enjoy this book a little more I really got into the world that Holly Black created. The world is beautiful in a terrifying way, with vampires running around killing, contained cities filled with the creatures, and humans wanting nothing but to be turned into one of the monsters. The atmosphere that is built up in this books what I think really sets this book apart from other vampire stories.
I didn't really realize it until the end of the book, but Tana was really not the best of characters. She didn't really think through any of her actions, and that lead her to nearly throwing away her life multiple times. I didn't understand her need to save the two boys like she did at the beginning of the book, and she really just wasn't a very strong character in general. I wanted to yell at her more than once, or at least question her motives on some of the things she did. By the end of the book it kind of crashed into me and I realized some of the things that mad this book hard to read, and Tana was one of them.
I felt that the weakest part of this book starts around page 300 and then it just goes down from there. I described this part of the books as becoming awfully 'Twilight' on goodreads. That's really the only way I can think of describing it, but it wasn't to the extent that that might imply. Around that point in the book the story started to follow a typical vampire story with lots of blood-high characters, along with insta-love between Tana and a vampire. Once this started to happen I just knew that this books wasn't my thing anymore. I finished it because I had already gone far past the half-way point and I didn't want to drop it that far in. In the final few chapters there was a pretty weak fight scene, and then the main character had a sudden realization that conveniently changed the book in her favor, and then it was pretty much done.
I'm only giving this book three our of five because I honestly did enjoy the first 3 quarters of the book, and I still really did like that part of the story even after reading the ending. I know that this book just really wasn't for me and other readers will probably enjoy it much more than I did.