Monday, October 26, 2015

When The World Went Cold

Hello all, how was your weekend?  Mine was exhaustingly busy and awesome and about the norm.  I promised you all some Halloween style ramblings this week, so let us start of with The Coldest Girl in Coldtown by Holly Black.  I got this book on a total whim one day.  I was just sitting on my couch and out of the blue I decided that this was a book I need to get and read for the October season (I love ebooks sometimes, really feeds into my impulse buying/reading habit) and so I did.  Was my impulse decision good or bad?  Lets find out, as always SPOILERS AHEAD!
Tana wakes up in the bathroom after a wild highschool party completely alone and having a hard time remembering what happened.  As she makes her way through the house she realizes that every person at the party is dead, killed in a horrific manner, with all the requisite blood and gore.  The only survivor other then herself is her ex-boyfriend Aidan and a crazy (seriously deranged) vampire that goes by Gavriel.  Yep this is a vampire book...but it's's a good vampire book.  In flashbacks through out the book we learn that vampires have been around forever, but one by the name of Casper Morales bought into the whole human romanticizing of the undead (see what happens when you make your vampires glitter) and decided to go on a turning rampage.  In this world when you get bitten by a vampire you go Cold, which means you are infected, but not turned.  To turn you need to drink human blood, then you die and come back immortal, pointy toothed and thirsty.  If you don't drink human blood within about 88 days then the infection goes away and you remain human.  Cool beans, you think, if I want to stay human I'll just refrain from drinking blood.  Unfortunately it is not so easy, when you go Cold, you get progressively thirstier and thirstier until you turn into a super strong lunatic who would do anything to get blood.  So the vampire Casper goes around infecting as many people as he can sink his teeth into (previously the old vampires would carefully regulate the turning of new vampires to keep their existence a secret and also to keep the food supply plentiful) and all these new crazy insatiable vampires go around infecting more people...lather, rinse, repeat.  The governments doing what governments do, eventually get a bit of a handle on the situation and quarantine off a bunch of the cities, sending any vampires and infected to them. Back to Tana.  Hmmm if I write this all out the post is going to be 100 pages long...I'll do my best.  Tana takes both boys on a freaky road trip where they meet up with Midnight and Winter, a brother and sister duo with a death wish.  They make it to Coldtown where the infected Aiden and the mad Gavriel must live out the rest of their lives and Tana gets a marker to get out later as long as she remains human.  The twins also head in, hoping to convince on of their coveted undead to bite them...without killing them.  Gavriel leaves the group after a parting gift from Tana and the rest of the group head to a house of Midnights friends.  All kinds of absolute horrific, yet entertaining insaneness ensue with truly tragic results.  Tana gets caught up in an ancient feud between Gavriel and Lucien, the vampire who reigns over Coldtown as it's beautiful, untouchable star.  More madness and mayhem, more death and Tana gets bitten for real.  Tana's little sister Pearl comes looking for her adding even more chaos to the mess.  After approximately 2/3 of the characters die we finally end with Tana determined to defeat the infection and remain human.  Gavriel offers to stay with her, as he can easily over power her even in her infected state and in his madness her pleas mean nothing.  Tana asks why he would do this and he tells her she is the only person to ever try and save him.  We end with the two of them holed up for the fight of Tana's life.
Argh!  I hate trying to summarize books like this because it is so chock full of awesomeness and things and stuff that directly pertain to all my myriads of feelings on this book, but if I try and get it all in I'll just rewrite the book. I guess you'll just have to trust me on the stuff I didn't get in.  So I started reading this not knowing what to expect and I think that greatly added to my enjoyment of the book.  Like I said before it was a completely out of the blue, random buy and read.  Ok let's start with the good, and I will try and be coherent.  First of all, I love vampires.  They may be my favorite type of monster 'cause they are usually intelligent and can make choices.  I like the idea of immortality playing a role in their decisions and their weird mix of inclusion and aloofness in the human race. The vampires in this book made me happy because of the variety and realisticness of their attitudes.  You have your ancient and elite guys who have remained hidden for thousands of years, keeping tight control.  You have your young guns who want a change, you have your pathetic, your haughty, and your bat sh*t crazy, all with their own unique perspective.  I liked how the author had a fairly well thought out society and progression of history when it came to her vampires and their history with the rest of the world.  Next on the list surprised me.  I loved all the teenagers.  Yep, I usually am not a fan of modern YA books 'cause teenage angst drives me bananas, but in this book you could tell the author remembered what being a teen felt like without the over the topness you get in a lot of books.  The heroine Tana was tough, but not necessary kick-ass.  She had a history that would justify major drama, but she kept it to a mix of pragmaticness and an impulse control issue.  Tana was scared, confused, angry, tired, and a little bit in love...just like any human would be in her situation.  Aidan was a great character because he started out a bit twisted and messed up and getting infected and the way he acted after all seemed in-line with the character.  He is a character that a lot of writers try to include to show how "progressive" and "modern" they are, but it usually feels like a token piece.  Ms. Black however managed to make Aidan a real person, somebody who I swear I've met before, really well written.  Midnight, Winter and Pearl all show a fascination with the "stars" of Coldtown that mirrors our own societies obsession with a lifestyle they can't have, and they show us all facets of it.  A lot of bad stuff happens in this book, I mean a lot, like Game of Thrones style bad, but all of it is necessary and not only furthers the story, but adds consequences to decisions and actions. I love this because while there are some good outcomes in the book, not everything ended happily and wonderfully.  Choices were made, and sometimes it was the wrong choice and people suffered greatly for it.  There is romance in the book, and the main one is between the heroine and the vampire, but it is actually a decent romance.  Tana realizes that her attraction to Gavriel is in part an instinctive reaction to his looks and she tries to temper it.  The author also lets Gavriel be truly crazy, mad as a hatter and that adds an awesome dimension to a YA romance plot.  Really the only things that got to me were sometimes it felt like the vampires, especially Lucien and his cohorts were directly lifted from an Anne Rice novel.  I sometimes would automatically substitute the name Lestat for the various vampires. The author stated that this book was in part a tribute to the various vampire writers...but it felt a tad bit derivative at times (yay I got to use one of my big girl words).  I could probably go on for pages about the subtleties and nuances and social commentary, but I will let you go read it so you can come back here and discuss it with me. I recommend it to all my reading buddies (you know who you are), anybody who wanted Twilight to be better, or just wants a really nuanced YA book with action and awesome.  I give this book 8 out of 10 garnet necklaces and I hope they never try and turn it into a movie 'cause they will just ruin it.   Happy Reading Everybody!

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