Sunday, October 13, 2013

Mini Reviews: When the World Was Flat & The Coldest Girl in Coldtown

When the World Was Flat (and we were in love)Author: Ingrid Jonach
Released: September 3rd 2013
Publisher: Strange Chemistry
Hardcover, 272 pages
Buy: The Book Depository

Looking back, I wonder if I had an inkling that my life was about to go from ordinary to extraordinary.
When sixteen-year-old Lillie Hart meets the gorgeous and mysterious Tom Windsor-Smith for the first time, it’s like fireworks — for her, anyway. Tom looks as if he would be more interested in watching paint dry; as if he is bored by her and by her small Nebraskan town in general.
But as Lillie begins to break down the walls of his seemingly impenetrable exterior, she starts to suspect that he holds the answers to her reoccurring nightmares and to the impossible memories which keep bubbling to the surface of her mind — memories of the two of them, together and in love.
When she at last learns the truth about their connection, Lillie discovers that Tom has been hiding an earth-shattering secret; a secret that is bigger — and much more terrifying and beautiful — than the both of them. She also discovers that once you finally understand that the world is round, there is no way to make it flat again.

An epic and deeply original sci-fi romance, taking inspiration from Albert Einstein’s theories and the world-bending wonder of true love itself.
There are very few people who can tell me to go read a book without offering any further details and expect to be obeyed, and Ann Aguirre is definitely one of them. So when she told me to read this book because it made her feel all the feels, I didn’t hesitate for a split second – I ordered the hardcover that very same day. I knew in my heart she would never steer me wrong.

When the World Was Flat is one of those books that sneak up on you while you’re busy looking the other way. It starts with a series of tropes, a small town setting and a girl that doesn’t quite fit in. But let me tell you this: never has the new-boy-in-school trope been used better than in this book. I wish I could spend a day in Ingrid Jonach’s head, it must be a real wonderland in there.*

If I tell you that Ingrid Jonach is Australian, will that make things clearer for you? Yes, I bet it will, this is pure Aussie magic at work. Going into the details would ruin the experience, it’s best to read this without any prior knowledge about it, but suffice it to say that I fell in love with the details and unexpected developments in this book.

The science part of this story is flimsy, stretched far too thin, but I don’t think Ingrid Jonach had been trying to write a science fiction novel. It is a romance, and if you read it as such, you won’t be bothered by much of anything, especially not the theory of relativity.

I trusted a dear friend and ended up a richer person for it. You can now choose to trust me and do yourself the same favor. When the World Was Flat (and we were in love) is a book with a soul. You may end up not liking that soul, but at least you’ll know it has one. And if you decide to pick it up, please let me know whether it made you cry.

*And I will, in fact, be spending a day in her head, we all will. She’ll be at The Nocturnal Library with a guest post for Something Wicked Returns very soon.

The Coldest Girl in ColdtownAuthor: Holly Black
Released: September 3rd 2013
Publisher: Little, Brown BfYR
Hardcover, 432 pages
Source: Publisher for review
Buy: The Book Depository

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.
The Coldest Girl in Coldtown is a wholly original story of rage and revenge, of guilt and horror, and of love and loathing from bestselling and acclaimed author Holly Black.

I’m afraid my good fortune didn’t continue with Holly Black. Everything When the World Was Flat was –different, memorable and heart-wrenching – The Coldest Girl in Coldtown completely failed to be. After the huge success of The Curse Workers, I expected something spectacular from Black, or at the very least something memorable. Instead, The Coldest Girl in Coldtown is a book that tries far too hard – to be original, creepy and captivating – and simply doesn’t succeed.

The same applies to Black’s heroine Tana. This is a girl who wants to be a rebel at all costs, but only succeeds in being bland and uninteresting. I got the distinct impression that Black tried too hard to make her seem different and cool and instead ended up with an undefined, flat and slightly irritating character. Unfortunately, the same stands true of all the other characters – from the mysterious vampire boy Gabriel to Tana’s freshly bitten ex-boyfriend Aidan.

Although I would very much like to tell you differently, The Coldest Girl in Coldtown is not a book I can in good conscience recommend. I found it dull and incredibly hard to get through, and while I can’t say that there weren’t some very good moments (the opening chapter being one of them), there certainly weren’t enough of them to make this book worth your time and money.

A copy of this book was kindly provided by the publisher for review purposes. No considerations, monetary or otherwise, have influenced the opinions expressed in this review.


  1. Well, Maja, I read When the World Was Flat a while ago. I think in the summer, and I LOVED it
    Just like you did! I agree that the science fiction part was not my favorite but if you look at it from the romance angle, then it's amazing!
    I haven't heard of the second book, before. But it looks good. I am disappointed that it didn't reach your expectations
    GREAT reviews!
    Your reader,

  2. The ratings on Goodreads for When The World Was Flat aren't too convincing but if this could make me cry, I am so up for this!
    It sucks that Coldtown didn't work for you! I had such high hopes :(

    Lovely mini reviews, Maja! <33

  3. You have no idea how happy I'm for this reaction to When the World Was Flat. I enjoyed it too and yeah all the feels! Aussie people really know how to bring them.
    It's a sad thing to hear this about The Coldest Girl in Coldtown as I expected a lot from it. Still I'm curious and I'll read it.
    Welcome back Maja ;)

  4. When the World Was Flat sounds so interesting, Maja, especially just from the title. So your intentionally vague review has seriously piqued my interest! I haven't heard of this one before, but when you said it was Aussie, that sealed the deal. Somebody once said in a review that they put something down in the water over there... *eyes suspiciously* But somehow, Aussie writers are superb, without a doubt. Even though this doesn't have a lot of sci-fi (which I'm slightly disappointed about, I must admit), I want to read about this emotional romance. I will definitely be getting my hands on this one!

    However, I'm sorry the Coldest Girl in Coldtown didn't go as well. I really hate when authors try to hard, because normally what ends up happening is exactly that: everything is bland. I've heard a ton of negative reviews about that one, so I think, unfortunately, I'll be passing it up. I simply don't have the time for huge books with uninteresting characters.

    Lovely reviews, Maja! <3

  5. It's such a shame about Black's latest novel! I really expected great things after The Curse Workers being so brilliant, but I'll be skipping The Coldest Girl in Coldtown for sure. I actually haven't heard about When the World Was Flat, but I'm definitely going to check it out now. It sounds great! Wonderful reviews, Maja! :)

  6. I have never read the first book but my experience with the coldest girl in coldtown is different. I loved it. I suppose the narrator of the audiobook did an amazing job and it worked for me.

  7. Oh wow. I've never heard of When the World was Flat before, and it being written by an Aussie author is definitely a big seller for me, Maja. I wonder if the author has actually been to Nebraska or was the setting exclusively conjured in her mind?

    That's too bad about Holly Black's attempt at the vampire lore, though. Vampire books are a hit and miss for me and I have to be in the mood to read one. I'll probably take your word for it and set it aside for future reading.

    Wonderful reviews, Maja!

  8. The first things I've read about When the world was flat, were VERY negative. I also was too late for my Netgalley copy and I was actually happy, because it sounded horrible. Now I'm not sure, your review make me regret not downloading it.. The coldest girl has been getting many mixed reviews, I'm not sure what to do. Perhaps later, for now I have more than enough books. Great reviews :)!


  9. I am sad that Cold girl was not any better

  10. I'm still on the fence with Coldest Girl, I've read so many good and bad reviews, that I can't decide whether to run away from it or give it a chance and make my own opinion...

    As for When The World Was Flat, I've heard so many good things! So I guess it'll be my next pick for when I feel like reading romance!

  11. I have been so tempted to pick up When The World Was Flat and I think you totally just sold me on it!!

    I am sad you didn't love The Coldest Girl, I had high hopes for that one.

  12. I didn't know the first one but I'm curious now and the cover is intriguing. I'm sorry for the second one, I saw a lot of wonderful reviews about it but I haven't read it.

  13. The World Was Flat is on my wishlist already, you bumped it up. The Coldest has reviews all over the place and I am just skipping it..LOL

  14. Sorry The Coldest Girl in Coldtown didn' t work for you, Maja. I'm actually having the opposite problem. I loved that and I'm listening to White Cat which has just been "okay" IMO. I'm like 60% in and I hope it gets better.

    I'll have to check out When the World Was Flat after your glowing review. You know I love a good romance! :)

  15. When the World was Flat was on my radar, I've been wanting to read it. Love those Aussie authors! It's too bad about The Coldest Girl in Cold Town because I have it and was looking forward to reading it. I guess my expectations won't be quite so high now.

  16. Sad to hear about The Coldest Girl in Coldtown but you aren't the first person to say that. I have it and I will give it a try - ya never know.

    I saw Ann talking about When the World Was Flat but it seemed to "tropey" (not a word but it is now lol) Never second guess the all powerful and knowledgeable Ann!! I'll make sure I read it!

  17. I loved The Curse Workers trilogy but have heard that The Coldest Girl in Coldtown isn't so great which is why I haven't bothered to read it.

    I haven't heard of When the World Was Flat but it sounds very well written. I still haven't been disappointed by an Aussie author so I'll be adding this to my wishlist for sure. Thanks for the recommendation, Maja!

  18. Personally, I thought Coldest Girl was entertaining and fun, tho there were definitely things about this book that annoyed me. For example, the vampire guy seemed like a total rip-off Anne Rice's Lestat. And I am a huge fan of Rice's Vampire Chronicles, so that kind of.. well, rubbed me the wrong way, I guess. At first I though: oh, how cool, there's a character here that seems complex and conflicted and reminds of me Lessie, but now that I think about it, it just lacks originality.

    The first book sounds completely amazing, tho. I'm going to go ahead and order it now! ^^ Thanks for the heads up!

  19. Its fantastic that you liked your author friend's recommendation. I like the sound of a book that may cause tears, definitely shows the book's impact. Sorry, Black's book disappointed you. I love her Ironside books, and its sad her characters and story in this book is boring and unreal. Terrific reviews!

  20. "But let me tell you this: never has the new-boy-in-school trope been used better than in this book." Ok you already had me with Ann Aguirre recommending it and the magic word, Australian, but this sentence has me so curious I'm moving it up to the nightstand pile. Sounds like a very good story, and you've never steered me wrong before. Thanks for introducing me to this one! Sorry about Coldtown, it's definitely not for everyone. Lovely minis!

  21. This is the first I've heard of When the World was Flat. That summary is intriguing but the end, referencing the sci-fi bit? Seemed out of left field but I trust your judgment as well and will have to keep my eye out for this one. :)
    I also had extremely high hopes for this one since I too loved her Curse Workers series. I actually DNF'd it not too far into it because Tana was one of the most poorly written characters I'd read in a long time. Super disappointed with this one too.
    Bonnie @ For the Love of Words

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