Genre Mutation in Young Adult Gothic: The Dialectics of Dystopia and Romance in Holly Black's The Coldest Girl in Coldtown

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The first few paragraphs can serve as an abstract:

Genres mutate, perhaps because they exhaust their potential or because of dramatic social change. This chapter is particularly interested in the mutation engendered by the fusion of the vampire paranormal romance genre with the apocalyptic landscapes of dystopia such as those found in Julie Kagawa's Blood of Eden series, beginning with The Immortal Rules (2012) and Holly Black's The Coldest Girl in Coldtown (2013). Paranormal romance is in turn hybrid, as is the Gothic that forms one of its components. [...]

In this chapter I argue that Black's The Coldest Girl in Coldtown uses the genre of the dystopic vampire romance to unmask the workings of a neoliberal world characterised by expansive, generalised commodification and oppressive technology, particularly that of surveillance. This world also has a strange glamour, offering the lure of a lawless alternative culture and a haven for transgressive romance. [...] The novel reconfigures the properties of paranormal romance by incorporating dystopian elements to represent the reification and distorted subjectivity of capitalism that neoliberalism aggravates. Coldtown charts the emergence of neoliberalism through a parallel narrative of vampiric refashioning. I show how Black focuses on the new technologies of surveillance that maintain her dystopia, which is deeply involved with the commodification and alienation that is ubiquitous in advanced capitalism. But commodities are themselves intertwined with desire - that key concern of romance fiction - which is why I then turn to the ambiguous nature of desire in paranormal romance. Finally, I show how desire has a utopian component, which appears in this novel as a counterforce to the omnipresent reification of neoliberal dystopia. This dialectic is enabled through the conjunction of disparate genres.