Friday, January 10, 2014

Book Discussion: The Coldest Girl in Coldtown by Holly Black

Second book discussion and first of the new year! We're really excited to share our thoughts on this book. It had been one we both wanted to read for a while and both ended up loving. Anyway, lets get down to it.

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.
The Coldest Girl in Coldtown is a wholly original story of rage and revenge, of guilt and horror, and of love and loathing from bestselling and acclaimed author Holly Black

WARNING! SPOILERS AHEAD! If you haven't read the book yet, be careful of what you read from this point on. Few spoilers throughout. But if you've read the book, then join us!

1. How did you experience the book? Were you engaged immediately, or did it take you a while to "get into it"? How did you feel reading it?

Nikki: It took me a little while to get into the book but that is mostly because I had just finished reading something totally different from it. I would read some, put it down for a while and then come back to it. But I found myself coming back to it and really captured by all of the action.

Keira: I was engaged from page one. Whether it was the writing style or previous built up excitement, I'm not sure, but I really got into this and loved every drop.

2. Describe the main characters—personality traits, motivations, inner qualities.

Nikki: Oh Tana and Gavriel. *Swoons* I really don’t know where to start with the characters. There were so many things I loved and hated about all of them. Tana was my favorite because she wasn’t a weakling.  Okay, everyone around her just got massacred. Pretty scary stuff but she rolled with each punch that came her way. There was a quote I really liked that explained her character perfectly for me. “Sometimes it seemed as though all her life was already used up in that dark basement, as if her mother’s mouth on Tana’s arm was the last thing in her life before this that had felt real. Everything else was just prologue and epilogue.”  I think that spoke a lot about the motives she had throughout the book. Because of that one instance when she let her mother out of the basement when she went cold and then getting bit by her, shaped her whole existence. I’ve talked so much about Tana I’ll let Keira talk about Gavriel.

Keira: Nikki hit the nail on the head. Tana's character went through something traumatic, not once, not twice, but many times over and she didn't whine, she didn't linger, she moved past, and to for me, that's something I wish more YA heroines would do. I could talk more about her, but I'll go ahead and get into Gavriel. He is what I want in my YA vampires. He isn't weak. He isn't fighting his true nature. He owns who he is. He's bloody and dark and crazy; a true monster. As the book progresses you realize just how beastly he is, but that doesn't take away from his character because beneath all of that he's still the person he was before he was infected and that person was good. Jaded, but good.

3. Do the main characters change by the end of the book?

Nikki: I think there wasn’t really a vast change. I think the characters really became what they were destined to be and ended up where they needed to be. Tana needed to go cold I think. And Adian definitely needed to be vampire. I also think that Tana’s moment of saving Gavriel changed him in a way that made him see that not everyone is black and white in the world. There is still good amongst the madness.

Keira: I don't think they really changed, but you get to see who they really are. There are layers to these characters. No one dimension here. Gavriel probably experienced the most change since his situation with Tana was unlike none he ever experienced.

4. Is the plot engaging—does the story interest you? Is this a plot-driven book: a fast-paced page-turner? Or does the story unfold slowly with a focus on character development? Were you surprised by the plot's complications? Or did you find it predictable, even formulaic?

Nikki: It was fast from page one. Opening with a mass murder is one way to grab the attention of readers. It really worked for me because I sometimes can get bored with slow build ups. The things about Coldest was that you really didn’t know how it was all going to end until the end. Small things happened, like her going cold but you didn’t know if it was fully going to happen for a long time but then bam, something happens right away. I felt the balance between character development and action was great. Also going back and forth between the other side characters outside of Coldtown and the flashbacks helped get a grasp on the whole world of the story.

Keira: Until the very end I didn't think there was a real plot. Finding out Gavriel was the spider was... jaw dropping. It was thrilling. I'm pretty sure at some point I actually squealed. Nothing about the book bored me, and I really hope there is more, but it does take a while to figure out the plot and what's really going on. Like Nikki said, very fast paced.

5. How important is the setting & time period to the story? How would it have played out differently in a different setting? What about a different time period?

Keira: Seeing as it was modern day, I thought the time period was extremely important. There isn’t a thing I would have changed. It felt like I connected with this story and could see myself in the midst of the vampire epidemic. It was perfect for the story.

Nikki: Epidemic, good word. That is exactly what it was. Lately there is all this talk about zombie apocalypse but seeing a vampire one  was a different change. Also what I think helped was that it wasn’t in the middle of no where really. It was in a real state. Another thing I liked about the time was the back and forth between past and present. I think it helped give a glimpse of what brought all the characters to where they were in the present.

6. What do you think will happen next to the main characters?

Keira: Unfortunately, I think Tana will remain human. I really wanted her to go through with the change, but with Gavriel there and his ultimate promise, I don’t see that happening, not anytime soon anyway.

Nikki: Part of me thinks she will neither become vampire or fully human. It would be cool to see her in that constant state of flux. Kinda like a Blade thing, where she is neither. I also think Aidan will become some pervy vampire king.

7. Were there any particular quotes that stood out to you? Why?
Keira: "She knew she shouldn't feel that way about a monster, but right then, she wanted nothing more than a monster of her very own." At some point in time I think we've all felt this way, in a sense. Isn't there that one boy you knew you *shouldn't* love, you *shouldn't* want, but did? That's why I loved this quote so much.

Nikki: There is so much to choose from and I marked down some of my favorites but one that is just so swoon worthy was from Gavriel. “Tana. In all my long life, though there were many times I prayed for it, no one has ever saved me. no one but you.” I mean GAH! How can you not swoon over the old vamp boy who says you saved his life. I also think that the theme of savior was repeated a lot in this.

8. If you could smack any of the characters upside the head, who would it be and why?  

Keira: Midnight. She was so frustrating, so self centered. I’m not sure that there’s ever been a character I disliked more. She didn’t care who she hurt to get what she wanted. She was so obsessed with the idea of becoming infected that she lost sight of humanity long before she actually became a vampire. Horrible person. H-O-R-R-I-B-L-E!

Nikki: HATED MIDNIGHT! So much! The moment she came up I knew I was going to dislike her. I would smack her with a two-by-four if I could. The fact that she killed HER OWN BROTHER, was enough to warrant some smackage. Also I would smack Aidan a few times too. He didn’t bother me as much as Midnight but he was stupid in his own right, even before he turned cold. 

First we were all...

 Then we were all...

Now we're all... waiting for news of maybe a sequel

So what were your thoughts, reactions, feels? Share in the comments below!

Until next time!

1 comment:

  1. This discussion was spot on! It was all the things I felt and thought when I read this book (it was a long time ago by the way) :P Anyways, looking forward to more of your book discussions! :)