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.
A very dark and violent story set in a world where vampirism has spread like a disease and Coldtown's have been set up to contain them and their human feeders. People can enter but no one leaves. Reality TV romanticises the vampires, their parties, even their victims but some still know the truth of the horror, especially Tana. Tana is left to fend for herself with her Cold ex-boyfriend and a secretive vampire who may or may not be on the run from the toughest vamp out there; they flee a party and head for the nearest Coldtown where Tana and Aidan can possibly turn into vampires safely.
I didn't always understand Tana but did really like her, she was somewhat impulsive but cared for her family who she'd left behind, and her friends in Coldtown. We saw into her past and the defining moment with her mother turning Cold and attacking her. Tana was a very interesting character, very complex as she empathised with the down-trodden and did everything she could to protect her younger sister, even from across the state. Gavriel, the mad vampire runaway, was very entertaining. Clearly mental and spoke some nonsense but clever and fascinating to read. Black did a very good job with these characters, unfortunately sometimes I couldn't quite connect with them the way I wanted to, especially Tana. The main reason was her weird relationship with Aidan, I just did not understand their game of chicken.
Seeing a Coldtown from the inside was almost surreal; it was gritty and dark and quite gross, full of gory details with vampires feeding and killing. Black also did an incredible job with the vampire hierarchy, from hyper, newly turned vamps to ancient and violent vampires who rule huge armies. And Tana was stuck in the middle, pulled in by Gavriel and his personal vendetta. Theirs was an amazing story and admittedly, I got a little lost as they took huge gambles but it was breathtaking to read and refreshing to find a new take on vampires.
Published 3rd September 2013 by Little, Brown.