When seventeen-year-old Tana wakes up hungover from a wild party at a remote farmhouse, surrounded by dead classmates, she thinks things can't get any worse...until she discovers a mysterious vampire named Gavriel chained up in the same room as her bitten ex-boyfriend Aiden, who is about to turn into a full-fledged bloodsucker at any moment. Acting on impulse, she saves Gavriel and Aiden from the horde of vampires responsible for the massacre, and prepares to drive them to Coldtown--the quarantine zone where vampires mingle with humans in decadent parties that last for years, all broadcast on the web for the world to see. Tana is determined to get Aiden inside before he kills somebody. And the possibly insane but incredibly beautiful Gavriel wants to enter the walls for an unknowable agenda of his own. There's only one problem: once you enter Coldtown, you can't leave. At least, not alive.
Young Adult paranormal veteran Holly Black reinvigorates the vampire mythology with this shot of delightfully atmospheric horror. Black manages to capture the terrifying essence of vampires--their non-humanity, their unending thirst for human blood--and mix it with the Anne Rice-ian fantasy of gorgeous dresses and burning candles, not to mention eternal (and doomed) love. Black's well-crafted writing brings her complex characters and settings to vivid life, making suspension of belief easy and fun, and the combination of splatter and atmosphere will satisfy even the diehard vampire fans. A definite read for adults and teens alike, although those made squeamish by blood might want to leave this one for those with stronger stomachs.