Sunday, March 30, 2014

The Coldest Girl in Coldtown Book Review

Title: The Coldest Girl in Coldtown
Author: Holly Black
Publisher: Little, Brown Books for Young Readers
Publication Date: September 3, 2013
ISBN-13: 978-0316213103

432 pp.

ARC provided by publisher

Tana wakes one morning to find that while she was passed out in the bathtub, everyone else at the party has died.

Horribly.

Well, not everyone has died. There's her ex-boyfriend, Aidan, tied to a bed. And a cute boy she doesn't recognize is chained up.

She decides to rescue them even though Aidan is clearly infected and the cute boy is clearly insane. She decides to rescue them because it gives her something to do instead of going insane herself. Because there's a pile of corpses who used to be her friends in the next room. Because there's a terror of vampires waiting for the sun to go down in the next room.

There's only one place Tana and the boys can go. That's Coldtown, a barricaded city where vampires, the infected, and the desperate go. Tana knows chances are she'll never get out. Chances are she's infected, too. But it's a chance she has to take.

But Tana doesn't know that the mystery cute boy she rescued is an ancient vampire with a vendetta. And surviving has become that much more dangerous.

The Coldest Girl in Coldtown is a fast-paced romp of terror and romance. Tana is no Bella Swan. She is terrified half the time, but she uses the adrenaline to act and she's smart enough to come up with a plan when she's not terrified. Her only weak spot is Gavriel, the mystery cute boy.

The horror is chilling and portrayed realistically. The romance is a little too instant-attraction, but the romance is secondary to Tana just trying to survive. The ending is open-ended enough that a sequel seems likely.

I recommend The Coldest Girl in Coldtown to readers who enjoyed The Diviners by Libba Bray or The Hallowed Ones by Laura Bickle.

The Coldest Girl in Coldtown Book Trailer:

Sunday, March 16, 2014

The Ocean at the End of the Lane Audiobook Review

Title: The Ocean at the End of the Lane
Author: Neil Gaiman
Narrated by: Neil Gaiman
Publisher: HarperAudio
Publication Date: June 18, 2013
ISBN-13: 978-0062263032

Listening copy via public library

I've written before about my love for Neil Gaiman (and Doctor Who) and fans will not be disappointed by Neil's latest work.

The Ocean at the End of the Lane has tropes familiar to both the author and the Doctor: a thing that is bigger in the inside, transformation of a harmless thing into a creature of terror, an offer to help that is spurned and will lead to the creature's ultimate demise.

And while it is not a groundbreaking work, it is still a delightful mix of the eerie and the everyday.

The unnamed protagonist remembers a time when he was seven years old and he meets a strange girl under strange circumstances who lives at the end of the lane. She has a pond on her farm that she calls an ocean, and the little boy almost believes her.

Together, they come across an ancient thing, a thing that the boy unwittingly unleashes into his own world, a thing that seeks to stay in this world at any cost.

Read by Neil Gaiman, the story unfolds at a leisurely pace. He is an amiable narrator, his placid tone only dropping during the moments of terror.

Highly recommended.

Bonus video: Neil Gaiman discusses audiobooks & The Ocean at the End of the Lane

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