The Coldest Girl in Coldtown

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The Coldest Girl in Coldtown was written by Holly Black and first published in 2013. It is a dark fantasy story, set in a world where a vampire plague has swept America. The novel is loosely based around one of Black’s short stories, and the original can be found in the collection The Poison Eaters and Other Stories. However, this story is intended to stand alone and so you don’t have to have read any of her other work to fully appreciate it.

The world changed rapidly after the existence of vampires was revealed. While they had previously kept to themselves, a rogue vampire went out of his way to spread their sickness across the globe. Bitten humans quickly became Cold, rapidly gaining an uncontrollable desire for human flesh. If they managed to consume this, they then transformed into a true vampire. In a bid to contain the infection, the American government created the Coldtowns – quarantined areas where both vampires and Colds could live without fear of being hunted.

Tana is in trouble. She woke up after a party to find that all her friends were dead. While trying to find a way to escape without waking the vampires who feasted on them, she came across a strange scene. Her Cold ex-boyfriend, Aidan, and a strange vampire both chained in one of the bedrooms. Unable to leave them to the mercy of the killers, she tries to rescue both. However, during this escape, she is grazed by a vampire’s fangs. Realising that she may now be infected, Tana drives towards the nearest Coldtown. She knows that she has no choice if she wants to keep her family safe.

Tana just wants to find a place to sweat off her infection, but Coldtown is not as safe or glamorous as the internet feeds make it appear. Most of the population are humans who have thrown away their freedom for a chance at immortality. If these people realise that Tana and Aidan are Cold, they would do anything to force them to complete their transformations. Added is the complication that Gavriel – the vampire she saved – has a history with the most popular superstar of Coldtown. If Tana wishes to survive, she may need to become a monster…

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The Spiderwick Chronicles

The Spiderwick Chronicles

Bonus review time. Yaaay! As I’m currently in the process of moving house, please enjoy this review of The Spiderwick Chronicles by Tony DiTerlizzi and Holly Black.

The Spiderwick Chronicles are a series of five fantasy stories, aimed at middle grade readers: The Field Guide (2003), The Seeing Stone (2003), Lucinda’s Secret (2003), The Ironwood Tree (2004) and The Wrath of Mulgarath (2004). The series focuses on three children as they discover a mysterious book about faeries in their Great Aunt’s home. Following the critical acclaim of this series, a sequel titled Beyond the Spiderwick Chronicles was published between 2007 and 2009 and ran for three further novels.

Following their parent’s divorce, Jared, Simon and Mallory Grace are forced to move away from the city to live in a dilapidated country mansion, previously owned by their Great Aunt Lucinda. The house is filthy, rotting and filled with strange noises and the children want nothing more than to leave, however things start to change when Jared uncovers a secret room.

The room turns out to be the library of their Great Great Uncle Arthur and inside one of the books they find a riddle. On solving this puzzle, Jared finds himself in possession of his Great Great Uncle’s most treasured possession – a book titled Arthur Spiderwick’s Field Guide to the Fantastical World Around You. The book contains notes and drawings of the many different faeries that live in and around the house and using the book Jared manages to identify that most of the house’s problems are caused by a brownie by the name of Thimbletack.

Thimbletack warns the Grace siblings that the journal is dangerous. The faeries are worried about the secrets that the book contains and will do anything to ensure that it does not fall into human hands. Some of the beings wish to get hold of the book in order to destroy it, while others would use it to further their own evil ends. The children must make a decision about what to do with the journal, and quickly, before they meet a horrible fate at the hands of the faeries…

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