Life should not be a journey to the grave with the intention of arriving safely in an attractive and well preserved body, but rather to skid in sideways, chocolate in one hand, martini in the other, totally worn out and screaming,
"WOO HOO, what a ride!"

Sunday, November 7, 2010

Review: White Cat by Holly Black

Marks forget than whenever
something's too good to be true,
that's because it's a con.

Cassel comes
from a family of curse workers -- people who have the power to change your emotions, your memories, your luck, by the slightest touch of their hands. And since curse work is illegal, they're all mobsters, or con artists. Except for Cassel. He hasn't got the magic touch, so he's an outsider, the straight kid in a crooked family. You just have to ignore one small detail -- he killed his best friend, Lila, three years ago.

Ever since, Cassel has carefully built up a façade of normalcy, blending into the crowd. But his façade starts crumbling when he starts sleepwalking, propelled into the night by terrifying dreams about a white cat that wants to tell him something. He's noticing other disturbing things, too, including the strange behavior of his two brothers. They are keeping secrets from him, caught up in a mysterious plot. As Cassel begins to suspect he's part of a huge con game, he also wonders what really happened to Lila. Could she still be alive? To find that out, Cassel will have to out-con the conmen.

Holly Black has created a gripping tale of mobsters and dark magic where a single touch can bring love -- or death -- and your dreams might be more real than your memories.

After reading this author's middle grade series The Spiderwick Chronicles I was curious to see what this book would be about. She came up with another unique and interesting twist on a different reality. There are current cultural and pop references that let you know this is set in the present day but there's a magical, fairy tale twist. Wearing gloves is the norm to protect you from the dangerous touch of oily con men. They are classic bad guys, bullies who take advantage of the weak. Cassel is a teenage boy living a lonely, nonmagical life among a family of these bullies. His older brothers have many secrets and he suspects they've involved him and taken his memories.

The brothers and mobsters and characters you love to hate and I do admit that I didn't like them at all. Their behavior is selfish and dangerous and Cassel has been forced to do their bidding. Much of his past is a blur and we learn pieces of it as he does. He lives with enormous guilt from the murder and an overwhelming sense that there is much more to the story. His unusual roommate and crazy grandfather seem to be the only people he can turn to and they provide some entertaining moments.

The story is an interesting crime drama as well as a mystery. It felt slow as the beginning but the suspense increases and wraps up in a satisfying ending although the story is left open for more to be told. Cassel has only begun to learn about his past and the family's secrets. Book 2: Red Glove is due next spring and will carry on this dark tale. I will be looking for the next installment in the series.

Thank you to Simon & Schuster for an ARC to review.

Red Glove (Book 2 of The Curse Workers series)

Coming 4/5/2011


Author -

Publisher: Simon & Schuster
Release date: 5/4/10
Price/format: $17.99/hardcover
Pages: 310
Type: teen fiction


  1. I thought this book was more supernatural than it sounds. I just might like this one.

  2. This one ALWAYS looked interesting to me, although I hate the cover. Now that you're recommending it, I hope I'll get to read it soon! :)


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