This review is spoiler-free!
The Coldest Touch by Isabel Sterling
Genres: Young Adult, Paranormal
Release Date: December 7th 2021 by Hodder & Stoughton
Format: Paperback, 384 pages
Find it here: Goodreads
I really wanted to like this one. It had so much potential. Alas, I really didn’t find it all that interesting, even though a lot of the elements were there for it to be directly up my alley. Right off the bat, one of the bigger problems is that it’s marketed as a lesbian Twilight, which is very much is not. Like, not even really close. I could kind of see where they were going with it, but at the end of it, it really wasn’t in the ways I had hoped it would be. I would LOVE a lesbian and/or LGBTQ Twilight, and nothing so far has really given us that. (At least, that I know of. Please direct me elsewhere if you know where to go for that.)
Honestly, though, I think the biggest problem with it is that it wasn’t really long enough for the premise it was trying to give. A lot of the plot and plot twists were easily figured out long before they came to light within the story itself. The subplots, even, were easily figured out and predicted, and the lack of story to go along with them made them feel really clunky to the narrative. The pacing was just also just bad.
Claire’s whole backstory, for example. It could have made for a really nice subplot to the overarching story of Elise’s whole thing, which was the main plot, but it felt more like word padding than anything because I didn’t care enough about Claire by the time we were given her story to care much at all about what she was telling me. If it had happened farther down the line, I probably would have cared more.
(Maybe. Not actually sure about that one, if I’m honest. I actually think I cared more about her at the start than I did later on, which is not how it’s supposed to work.)
Also, Claire’s hunger. Did it have to be mentioned as many times as it did? I swear if Claire’s chapters was up, her hunger was mentioned, and it was often used as an excuse in conjunction with her age. Her age I understood, her hunger I also understood, but they really didn’t need to be used as constant excuses.
Now, Elise and her whole thing. Also interesting at the start, but the constant upheaval of other things happening made me way less interested as time went on. Not to mention her apparent care for all of the side characters, which seemed more like aspects to push the main plot along than anything actually meaningful to it. (If that makes sense. Example: there was something about one of them that was super important to her, but the person in question seemed very secondary to another person, who seemed like they were supposed to be the lesser focus despite having more on-page time than the “important” person. Maybe that was me, I don’t know. Definitely seemed off.)
So, yeah. Not what I had hoped it would be. However, I absolutely want to give Sterling’s other series a go, because I’ve had that on my library list since it came out and have just never had the chance to get to it. (This one I only got to because I got a physical copy in a book box, which helped push me to read it sooner.) I have faith still that I’ll enjoy it!
Thanks for reading!