Posted by Venus on Tuesday, January 7, 2014
Labels: Young Adult Review
Tana lives in a world where vampires no longer hold themselves to secrecy. They live in front of cameras, endless beckoning parties inside Coldtowns, walled off cities where the turned and turning are forced to live. One morning, after a perfectly normal teenage sundown party, Tana wakes in the bathtub to discover that all her friends have been murdered. The only survivor is her just bitten ex-boyfriend Aiden and a strange vampire boy. As the vampire infection takes hold of Aiden, Tana and her newly freed friends make their way to the nearest Coldtown.
The mechanics of the vampirism in this book were fascinating and original. Vampires have a certain kind of venom, one that can only be passed on through a bite. Once bitten, if not drained and killed, an infection sets in that instead of creating a fever causes the body to go cold as if it is dying. If a person manages to not drink any human blood for 88 days, the infection will leave their system and they will remain human. But that is a big if, because the thirst for blood becomes such an overwhelming desire that people will do anything for it. Tana knows this too well, for she bears the physical scars from when her mother went cold. When her mother died.
That alone made the story interesting, but what made it better was the return to the monster angle of vampirism. I am a big fan of Anne Rice's Interview With the Vampire series. One of my favorite quotes from the book is when someone calls Lestat a monster and he quickly replies, "Yes, but I am a beautiful monster." That is how a vampire should be. Strange and terrible beauty. The vampires of Holly Black's novel are all that and more. They are complicated and petty. They raise ethical conundrums. Is it good to want to live forever? Do they still retain some of their humanity? Can you be both cunning and mad? And what would you do to remain human?
More than anything, I was really rooting for Tana's humanity throughout this entire story. Even if she turned into a vampire, I wanted her to remain human, to still be herself. She is strong and quick-thinking and her drive to survive was enough for me to keep reading.
There is of course a romance with an ancient and slightly insane vampire named Gavriel, which I found a little trite and the entire seductive drinking each others blood thing was just gross and really really not romantic, but I guess you can't have teen books without some kind of romance, so I will just pretend it didn't happen.
It appears that this may be another unmarked series, which is okay by me because I like this world and these characters that Holly Black has created.