PUBLISHER/PRODUCER: Little, Brown Books for Young Readers/Hachette Book Group
LENGTH: 432 pages/12 hours, 6 minutes
SUMMARY: 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.
BRIDGE: I would love to teach this book as part of an elective, contemporary lit course. I would, in fact, love to teach it in conjunction with some of the other contemporary vampire novels that are out there right now along with some of the more “classic” vampire novels. Vampire mythology has been around for a long time and the liberties and twists authors are taking with the vampires’ world is intriguing. Holly Black’s foray into the vampire world is visceral and unapologetic. It is so different from the more romantic depictions of vampires that have flooded the YA world in recent years. Coldtown’s vampires are the blood-thirsty creatures of lore and while Black has put her own twist on the transformation process, the violent, predatory nature of vampires in this novel is not merely a matter of self-control.
I would group this novel with Brewer’s Vladmir Tod, Meyer’s Twilight, Mead’s Vampire Academy, Shan’s Cirque du Freak, and the Casts’ House of Night books. It would be so interesting to see students’ reactions to each of the vampiric worlds these authors have created and the varied treatments of vampire mythology. Then, after we had taken a broad look at the YA vampire world, I would want to move them to more classic vampiric titles: Stoker’s Dracula, Kostova’s The Historian, King’s Salem‘s Lot, Rice’s Vampire Chronicles, and Matheson’s I Am Legend. One could help students draw a Timeline of the Vampire and see how the legend has evolved and come back to its origins full circle over its literary history.
Ah, to dream.