So this was my first experience with reading Holly Black and I had heard a lot of great things about her. Unfortunately it took me a long time to get into this book and I’m not really sure why, I think it might of had to do with how the chapters are laid out. There would be a chapter for Tana in the present, then a flashback for Tana or one of the other characters and then back to the present with Tana. I don’t know, I guess it felt like I would just get into the mindset and reading about Tana and then all of a sudden I’m back in the past, even though something had just happened that I wanted to read more of. I had to read through this flashback to get on with the story and it would possibly even be for a different character. It just took awhile to get used to the changing constantly, which is weird for me because I have no trouble reading books with changing points of view normally (ex. A Song of fire and Ice).
As for the story content itself, it was a very interesting take on vampires. It’s an original concept that Holly Black came up with compared to other vampire novels and I did really enjoy learning more about it. It took about 150 pages for me to get hooked and keep reading and stop putting the book down. Once I was hooked though I had to finish it. In this book, if you get bit by a vampire you become infected. You crave blood and become colder and colder until you cave and bite/drink blood. Then you die and come back as a vampire. But, if you really don’t want to be a vampire, as long as you don’t cave and brink human blood, you can fight off the infection. It takes 88 days, but if you can get through that you are fine. Also, being bit by someone infected cannot pass on the infection, it has to be a vampire bite.
Now one of the things I liked about Tana, the protagonist is that she doesn’t want to be a vampire, but she gets a tiny scratch by a tooth and isn’t sure if she’s going to go cold or not. So she goes to Coldtown, a quarantined area where the vampires, infected, and vampire wannabees live. She goes because her mom was bit and infected and her father locked her up in the basement and the screams were horrible, so Tana doesn’t want to put her father and sister through that again if she is infected. Besides, that didn’t go so well. So off Tana goes with her infected ex boyfriend and a vampire (a slightly insane vampire) she rescues from other vampires to Coldtown to have themselves locked in. And nobody really ever leaves Coldtown once they are there.
Overall it was a great story, but the alternating chapters bothered me. There were also quotes at the beginning of each chapter, if you’re someone who reads them, I generally don’t. I did read a few and they were interesting but I would rather read them before or after I’ve read the book because I find it takes away the illusion by reading something else. I liked the writing and story, but because it took me so long to get into, combined with the alternating chapters, I’ve given it a bit of a lower rating than I normally would have. Still a good and unique vampire novel if that’s what you’re looking for, you should check it out. Also, bonus points for a standalone