Isabel Sterling’s The Coldest Touch starts as the story of Elise Beaumont, a teen who has a secret. Whenever she touches anyone, she has a vision of how they die. Yikes! On top of that, she’s also dealing with grief and guilt. Her brother just died in a car accident and she feels like she could have prevented it.
But all of this is just the beginning. Elise has isolated herself from her friends and family so she doesn’t accidentally touch someone and see their death if she doesn’t have to. But this also means she is extremely lonely.
Luckily, she has an idea. She found a spell online that is supposed to lift the curse. But before she has a chance to perform it, a new girl arrives at school, and when she runs into Elise, nothing happens. Elise has no visions of her death! Why?? Because she’s a vampire!
Claire Montgomery is on a mission. She has been sent to train Elise to be the next Death Oracle. No pressure. Claire is doing this in hope that the Veil will help her seek revenge on the vampire that turned her.
The Coldest Touch hits you right in the feels again and again.
When Claire reveals what she is and what Elise is…well, Elise doesn’t exactly believe her. But with nowhere else to turn, what does she have to lose? So Claire starts training Elise (with the help of Elise’s friends because Elise cannot keep a secret lol).
Unfortunately, things do not go smoothly. Claire and Elise are not the only paranormal beings in town and they are about to throw a wrench in the two girls’ plan. And who these other paranormal beings are will blow your mind.
Oh, and did I mention that Claire and Elise catch feelings for each other?!?! It’s an Isabel Sterling book. There is going to be some sapphic romance! At first, Elise wants nothing to do with Claire. I mean…she is a vampire! But that slowly changes as they spend more time together and go through multiple life-and-death situations.
The characterization and twists and turns are probably my favorite part of this book. There is a reveal that happens about halfway through that shocked the hell out of me. It’s so good!
I also really appreciated Elise and Claire’s motivations. They felt very real despite this being a paranormal story. Elise just wants her old life (and her brother) back and Claire wants justice for what happened to her.
I also really appreciated how Elise’s grief is shown. How all-consuming it is. How It punches you right in the throat.
I also LOVED Claire and Wyn’s friendship. Wyn is like Claire’s supervisor (for lack of a better word), but Claire isn’t always a fan of following the rules. They are like bickering siblings and it’s delightful to read.
The romance was also sweet, but it didn’t feel as natural as I would have liked. Maybe one or two more scenes of the girls together would have done it, but as is, their connection didn’t feel as strong as I think it was meant to.
There is a scene where Claire is about to leave Elise behind without saying goodbye and I didn’t feel that gut-punch of despair I wanted.
Although, the final scene between them is the cutest moment ever and I smiled like a complete fool while reading it. So clearly, the sparks between them are there.
But other than that, The Coldest Touch is everything you could want from a paranormal YA thriller. There’s suspense, magic, darkness, friendship, romance, and ultimately, a happy ending. If paranormal f/f romances are your jam, this book may be right up your alley!
The Coldest Touch is available now.