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.
I’d seen plenty of people on twitter raving about this book, and how great it was. So I was excited, hopeful, and bought it pretty quickly.
Unfortunately for me, this didn’t live up to its hype.
The main character, Tana, is a likeable enough girl. She wakes up in a bathroom in a farmhouse, having drunk the night away at a party that held lots of raving teenagers. Until she finds everyone dead.
The beginning of the book was easy enough to get into and I found the opening creepy, hope that the rest would live up to the great start. Sadly, Tana’s behaviour was a bit too…calm. I know, she was freaking out, but the actions afterward were a little too weird, and if I’d been her I’d have legged it half way to China Town.
She saves her ex-boyfriend and a vampire. What normal person would do this? Tana, apparently.
I really thought the pacing was too spread out, and I found myself waiting for something to happen. Little bits caught my attention, and the book was set out over about 4 days? But nothing really grabbed me until the last quarter and that disappointed me.
On the other hand, I loved Gavriel. He was a very old but very young looking vampire, and had that bad boy image. And his connection to Tana was sweet, even if he was crazy half the time. Actually, he reminded me a lot of Myrnin from the Morganville Vampire series (by Rachel Caine, You should check it out.) Anyway, he had that edge. He’d start rambling off Shakespeare one moment, and in the next would talk absolute sense. And Tana is drawn to him. The romance was slow. Too slow in my opinion, but since I guess it wasn’t the whole point of the story, I’ll let that go.
Don’t get me wrong, there were small sections that I really enjoyed. Valentina and Jameson were two of my fave characters, but Midnight and Winter irritated me to no end. But most of the characters didn’t really hold much interest to me and they might as well not have been there. Tana’s will to stay by Aidan even though he lost control was brave of her but he got on my nerves when he started keeping a certain thing from her. The vampires were gruesome and scary in parts, and the author didn’t shy from detail. The usual attributes for them were used, and the twist of them being on a TV show was interesting.
The one thing that I noticed, and what others have said in reviews, is that just as something good was happening, the scene would liven up and then… the next chapter would be a flashback. And I thought a lot of the flashbacks were not needed. I don’t need to know about a person’s past if they’re not going to be in it much or it’s going to be relevant. The look into Tana’s sister, Pearl, and what was going on at home was nice to see, but little bits just took me out of the story. As for the writing in general, there was absolutely nothing to fault. Easily read, although some of the modern culture references like social sites, etc, were maybe not needed, but otherwise it wasn’t a heavy read.
For me, the best part was at the last few chapters when everything heated up, and that’s what made me give this 3 stars. I was really looking forward to this book and I have enjoyed Holly’s other works, so I thought this would be something great. Unfortunately nothing truly hooked me and I finished it feeling deflated. I wasn’t sure if this was a stand alone, and I’d hoped if it wasn’t, then that was the reason for lack of action, but apparently it is, which made me wary.
If you enjoyed Curse Workers, you might well enjoy this. I know there have been mixed feelings from other people, so like with most books, it will or won’t hit the right spots.